At Howick Golf Club you really take your life into your own hands. ¬†Not one hole passed without screams of ‚??Fore!‚?Ě jump-starting the pacemaker. ¬†It‚??s good old Kiwi up and back stuff, only a few mammoth pines protecting the unsuspecting visitor against errant blows from the neighbouring alley. ¬†Certainly keeps one on one‚??s toes. ¬†Not for the faint hearted or the deaf though. ¬†The views? ¬†More than worth the risk ‚?? just the sort of soul tonic I‚??d been looking forward to in recent weeks. ¬†A thrill seeking clifftop wander if ever there was one. ¬†
Our yet to be named Jucy Rental Campa pulled through the gates 10 minutes late; we got lost (again), and no one we approached seemed to have the foggiest where Howick GC was. ¬†Margaret in the pro shop was terribly good about it all though, and welcomed us like prodigal sons. ¬†Lovely lady. ¬†Even Goldy‚??s lack of golfing attire (left at home in the melee to get to TVNZ at dawn) didn‚??t seem to put her out ‚?? apparently the club takes a relaxed stance on such frivolities anyway. ¬†For the first time this year (probably ever) y‚??er man played in jeans and a t-shirt. ¬†Which provided constant amusement for me every time I looked around and spotted him looking suitably uncomfortable and sweaty. ¬†See below.
The club arranged for Nick ‚?? Captain of the Pennants Team (runners up in this year‚??s 2nd Division) ‚?? to make up a four / lead us safely through the warzone. ¬†He‚??s a young fulla that‚??s grown up in the area and played his golf at Howick for a decade. ¬†Used to walk down, now he drives (typical Gen-Y...). ¬†Very decent young man and as you might have guessed, a sharp shooter. ¬†En route to the 9th tee (our 1st) a good few of the locals struck up a yarn or three; a very friendly bunch. ¬†One gentleman asked if we remembered playing at Mahia early in 2010. ¬†‚??Do we remember? ¬†You‚??ve got to be kidding me! ¬†One of the fondest memories of our trip...and without doubt there or thereabouts at the top of the Hidden Gem list. ¬†Can‚??t wait to get back...‚?Ě ¬†As it happens y‚??er man was also uncle to the Mahia Club President, Peter, whom we played with back on Day 15. ¬†Small world.
Many trees came between my golf ball and the hole. ¬†By the time we made the turn the word Titleist had nearly faded entirely from the cover. ¬†What only a couple of hours prior was a new-ish ball was now an experienced range ball. ¬†Not one of the radiata was decent enough to deflect it in a favourable direction either. ¬†Welcome back to NZ...
Thankfully Nick‚??s good company and the views across the harbour were enough to distract me from the incessant thuds of urethane on wood and 26 howls of ‚??Fore!‚?Ě. ¬†Margaret came out to meet us after the 18th too, with sandwiches and Powerades courtesy of the club. ¬†‚??Our shout.‚?Ě ¬†Certainly brightened up my day after just missing a(nother) 6 footer for birdie (i.e. $80 that would have gone to The First Tee but for my ineptitude). ¬†The club‚??s hospitality couldn‚??t have been any better.
In the bar afterwards we met some friendly locals and put the world to rest for an hour or two. ¬†Nick did a whip ‚??round too for the raffle (prize: a dozen balls), the proceeds of which went to The First Tee. ¬†Hell if I was a member I‚??d be taking every opportunity I could to get some new balls ‚?? they‚??ll sure need ‚??em...
The Long And The Short: lovely to be back around Kiwi folk at a friendly suburban club with views to die for. ¬†A relaxed affair and the sort of hospitality that I‚??ll miss next year! ¬†Thanks Margaret and the members of Howick for your warm welcome ‚?? look forward to coming back (next time with a helmet!).
Posting comments has been disabled.