After knocking it around at Forest Creek we headed north to Durham North Carolina to stay with Patti and John Inman.¬† These guys are really good friends with Phil and Mel Tataurangi and had extended us an invitation to the ‚??Inman Inn‚?Ě on route to our game of golf the next morning at the TPC Wakefield Plantation course in Raleigh.
John Inman is a well known chap amongst the North Carolina golfing fraternity because of his career on the tour and now thru his role as Head Coach of the golf team at University of North Carolina.¬† In fact he was out recruiting today and will continue to do so tomorrow. By recruiting, he (along with coaches from all the other universities) is following every move of certain high school golfers at the summer golf tournaments and trying to convince them that UNC is the best place for them to further their golf and academic careers. ¬†Scholarships are offered up and tours of the campus are given.¬† It all sounds like competitive stuff and a far cry from the entirely non-existent college sport scene back in New Zealand.¬† John has a pretty good product to sell as from all accounts as UNC has produced a number of fine tour professionals (like John himself and Davis Love who were on the College team together).¬†¬†
We sat around enjoying an amazing home cooked meal (which crucially included plenty of vegetables) hearing about the world of the Inman‚??s here in Durham, North Carolina.¬† We also saw where the vegetables were grown ‚?? an impressive vegetable garden had been cultivated in the back garden, complete with a tin sheep from New Zealand. You see, the Inman‚??s are a rare breed of Americans from these parts who have actually managed to make it down to New Zealand ‚?? and no fewer than 6 times normally corresponding with the NZ Open.
Patti also was kind enough to decorate Dodgy, with a Tar Heels Golf Academy magnet ‚?? this is the golf academy that they are running over the next few weeks (think summer camp for golf).
The next morning we made it to the TPC course and were the second group away on the first.¬† I was really stiff and bunted my first few shots around to be happy with bogey golf.¬† Our brains were not fully switched on to golf, and on the fourth hole, a 480 yard brute of a par four, we hit off before checking the course guide. Thus we didn‚??t factor in the stream running across the fairway and made a couple more bogeys: Jamie courtesy of a drop, and myself a hack out of the bank.¬†This¬†evil hole is pictured below - still gives me nightmares. Oh and I forgot to mention the 80 yard long green which JP managed to two putt his way from the front egdge to a back pin - well played son.
All TPC courses are generally stretched out to some exorbitant length to extend the pro‚??s when tournaments are played.¬† Indeed, Wakefield Plantation hosted a nationwide event within the last few weeks.¬† We heard that the scoring was VERY low during that week at around 20 under for three rounds. Amazing really considering this course plays about 7300 yards and is really tight in parts. It goes to show that simply stretching a golf course out will not result in Pebble Beach like scoring.¬† When you do stretch the course out it really exposes the gulf between low-ish amateurs like Jamie and I and the tour player. If you can‚??t bomb it consistently 300 yards I think this course is tough.¬†¬†¬†¬†
I particularly enjoyed the last couple of holes on the front nine which were both strong par fours. The 8th plays downhill so the 480 yard measurement is not as ghastly as it sounds. Although if you don‚??t get a drive away there is a gully short of the green which you can‚??t roll the ball up.¬† The 9th curves to the left and has a bunker smack bang in the middle of the fairway. If you take it left of the bunker the lake comes into play ‚?? as I found out. But had I not hit such a strong draw I would have been sitting pretty 120 yards from the pin. Shake it off.. First Tee styles..
The back nine tightens up a fair bit off the tee and you really need to be hitting it both long and straight to make some pars (let alone birdies).¬† The 18th (pictured below courtesy of our sweet camera which was on top form today)¬†is one of those stadium finishes that makes your mouth water. A downhill par five crossing a stream before the green is nestled under the clubhouse. A beautiful finish.
After the round we spent some time with Michael Thomas who works in the marketing team here at the TPC Wakefield Plantation. Michael was a Top Notch host and we were able to relax and enjoy a nice lunch before our drive north to Richmond. We also met the general manager, Kirk, and shared our crazy story with him. Both these guys were as enthusiastic as they come ‚?? something that really gives me motivation as the days in this golfing marathon tick by.¬† Crucially, we were also treated to a new pair of shorts to add to our golfing uniform. Both of us have been low on shorts of late so it is key to add a second pair of shorts to the rotation (my lack of shorts is courtesy of the poor tailoring of Industrie clothing inc ‚?? don‚??t buy such shorts if you want them to last more than 12 rounds). ¬†Photo‚??s with dodgy and business cards swapped and off we went ‚?? in the newly branded ‚??tar heel golf academy Dodgy‚?Ě.¬†
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