On arrival into my favourite mountain hideaway Wanaka, we did our usual routine: ‚??Right, where are we going to crash boys?‚?Ě ¬†That was too big a question for us to answer at that particular moment in time though, after 9 hours of driving. ¬†So we pondered Life for a while over a pint of Guinness at The Lonestar. ¬†A Swedish barmaid caught our attention for a while. ¬†But then, remembering our mate Timmy Mathews works there, we asked the staff if The Big Man was on duty. ¬†As fate would have it he wasn‚??t ‚?? but in exemplary corporate foot soldier fashion y‚??er man was upstairs doing stock orders for wine. ¬†His ugly mug appeared 15 minutes later. ¬†
Within 5 minutes of his arrival all the cards fell into place. ¬†A feast of Lonestar calories appeared; and Tim offered up a couple of sofas at his place down the road. ¬†Result. ¬†Wouldn‚??t you agree that Most successful plans start with a Guinness? ¬†Arthur would. ¬†And so would I. ¬†Feeling suitably relaxed then, we meandered back to Timmy‚??s plush pad and Put The World To Rest. ¬†Another coincidence struck. ¬†Snoop Hollyer had organised for one of his mates from the Otago Team to join us in the morning for golf. ¬†That mate ‚?? Mitch ‚?? happened to live with Tim. ¬†So when we introduced ourselves to a gentleman lying on the sofa he replied ‚??I think I‚??m playing golf with you boys tomorrow...‚?Ě ¬†And he was.
Timmy and I both fall into the Need To Get Fit Again camp, so we set off on a trot first thing. ¬†It‚??s hard to describe how soothing it is to wake up in Wanaka to beaming sunshine and hardly a sound wave to trouble your ear drums. ¬†I suppose the coiner of ‚??bliss‚?Ě might‚??ve spent a bit of time down here. ¬†Pounding the paths of Lake Wanaka you feel like you‚??re in the world‚??s most magnificent theatre ‚?? the mountains around you rising up like the galleries of The Albert Hall. ¬†It‚??s spectacular, and makes one second guess one‚??s default preference for City living. ¬†Scores of leathery skinned locals were out running, cycling and engaging in any physical activity that‚??ll get them outside. ¬†A healthy place.
Addicted once more to the drug of Alpine Air, I forced Tim to double our planned run. ¬†For over an hour we trudged by the lake, through forests and back eventually to the township. ¬†The only fitting way to conclude the festivities was to have a dip in the lake. ¬†Which is about 16 degrees. ¬†If 70 minutes of cardio doesn‚??t wake you up, 2 seconds in Lake Wanaka will. ¬†I‚??d been craving that ‚??swim‚?Ě (read: paddle) for months, only to discover that a vital part of my anatomy had vanished as a result.
Inevitably there was some golf to be played. ¬†There always is. ¬†Snoop‚??s instructions were to meet him at Wanaka Golf Club circa 11.30 for a pie. ¬†Not just any pie either folks: the club‚??s pies are World Famous In Nu Zillin, and for good reason I‚??m pleased to report. ¬†Grant the GM / Superintendent kindly shouted us one before he ducked off to do some work ‚?? I opted for Beef, Beer and Bacon (the finer things in life). ¬†Now I‚??m no food critic so I won‚??t wax lyrical about the characteristics of this WunderPie. ¬†Instead I‚??ll just implore you to visit Wanaka and have one if you do Nothing else. ¬†Quite seriously.
Goodness gracious the course was looking a million dollars. ¬†On past visits here across the years gone by the fairways had been brown and the greens, shall we say, full of character. ¬†Grant must run a tight ship though, because what lay out in front of us was something out of the American school of golf course preparation. ¬†Immaculate. ¬†Against the sandy browns of the hills and the brilliant blue of the skies above, those emerald fairways and greens looked like The Promised Land. ¬†Unfortunately I spent most of my time in the rough so couldn‚??t appreciate them fully.
The front nine is the more spectacular of the two, making the most of the Billion Dollar Views across Lake Wanaka. ¬†It‚??s almost enough to distract one from the task at hand. ¬†A local chap came out to walk a hole or two with us, and explained the thinking behind one or two improvements they were making to the course. ¬†All sounded very sensible to me. ¬†
Snoop as always was in fine form. ¬†When Goldy or Mitch launched one he‚??d be moved to dig deep, in search of his effort ball. ¬†(The man‚??s not an inch taller than most hobbits). ¬†I took great pleasure in watching Snoop launching himself into the ball, knowing full well that kind of inertia isn‚??t becoming of a fine Fairways And Greens golfer such as Himself. ¬†Classic. ¬†To be fair, the man‚??s a good sport too. ¬†When on the short par 3 6th hole Mike took a gigantic divot out of the tee block with his sand wedge, Snoop agreed to lie down to see whether said divot was longer than him. ¬†Results below.
On the 10th tee we met a Swedish gentleman, Andreas, who has an interesting story to tell. ¬†He‚??s been travelling with us for the past few days, which you‚??ll hear all about in due course. ¬†Ditto with a couple of youngsters from Christchurch (Kieran pictured below) who took it upon themselves to head out on a South Island golfing tour, tents in hand golf sticks in the other.
Thanks to Grant, Snoop, Timmy and Mitch for a Hum Dinger of a Wanaka Experience. ¬†Love the place; hard to leave; but the show must go on. ¬†Hurry back? ¬†Absolutely. ¬†Especially if there‚??s one of those pies cooking...
JP¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†
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