It was only a matter of time. It had to happen. Playing this much golf, there are inevitably good rounds and bad rounds. And there would inevitably be a really bad round, at some stage. Like...a...102...
I AM NOW A CENTURION, for the first time in probably a dozen years. There, I said it. To play off a single figure handicap and shoot over a century is, well, bad. Very bad. Sure, the circumstances dictated that scoring was never going to be low - but 102? (Since I achieved this feat Mike has scribbled that ghastly number everywhere he can - on cereal boxes, eftpos receipts, newspapers, etc - at least my misfortune has brought pleasure to someone).
Gulf Harbour is a difficult course at the best of times - particularly off the back tees, when the wind is blowing. But not that difficult. It has some of the more beautiful views we have encountered to date, over the Whangaparoa Harbour. Quite spectacular, really - particularly the (merciless) back 9, on which we started. For those that haven't played it, on a couple of holes you launch across the ocean, onto a fairway perched atop a cliff some 150 metres away. In theory. I went the more aggressive route on the famous 16th, which - as it turned out, after I did my maths - would have required a 320 metre blow (all of which is carry). Youthful enthusiasm, ay? Try stupidity.
That was just one of several lost balls. The others were down a couple, too - "the others" being Mike and his folks, who had flown up for the weekend from Christchurch. It's just as well Jeff and Anne have a sense of humour, because when you play golf like we did, all you can do is laugh. It's a testament to their good company that I played my worst round in living memory and still enjoyed the day. The same goes for Gulf Harbour.
Both Anne and Jeff shot over 100, and Mike played beautifully for his 93. Vintage golf. When reflecting in the clubhouse on what had just happened, I couldn't quite make sense of it. The morning felt almost like an out-of-body experience; an occasion I had witnessed that had happened to someone else. Golf's like that. It messes with your perceptions, and can move you to call almost anything into question. At least that's what I find. But at the end of a day - and this is something I try to remember, particularly when I played badly - it's just a game.
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