Lookout in lockdown

The 8th hole at Healesville Golf Course. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

From the RACV Healesville’s 8th tee block, it’s all downhill into a valley that shelters our destination today. To the left, a cart path separates bush land from fairway. On the right the 7th fairway escarpment completes the amphitheater effect around the green.

Back at the 100 metre post the cart path crosses an intermittent watercourse (burn) that makes its way westward creating two avenues to the flag.

Either way, you will at best; have laid up here for a birdie opportunity or have played a long shot in hoping for an eagle.

All this may seem simple enough, but consideration needs to be given to the short grass and most importantly the location of the cup. The contest would be enough to have Jordan Spieth scratching his head. For it’s a battle of the break; whether across a ridge or up and down the saddle… it will test the very best.

For golfers or even those who aspire to be one; our course not only tests, but inspires us to play this wonderful game; out in the fresh air with nature. This is Healesville after all and it’s been attracting visitors to the region since the late 19th century.

Today however we are locked down and without any golf being played we will be playing this hole, “The Lookout”, with a mystery player.

The writer was in the playing group when he last played here and on that day; he had wiped the hole before leaving the tee. He was playing a residual; and to gasps of astonishment from his playing group, his second exited the course well over the Ryans Road curve.

Calling this player a golfer, wouldn’t be fair to those with credentials, so let’s just say he’s aspiring.

If you know the course at all, you should have guessed by now that our want-to-be golfer is a left hander. He also believes the game is not worth playing unless you accept its dare and of course that means it’s consequences.

There is a story going around that our aspirant was on this very green putting for eagle only to leave with a seven. An observer that day said, “he shoved his putter into his bag, pressed the wrong button for his remote control, sending his buggy into the sand trap.”

On another occasion, again in a bunker attempting to play to the pin, his third hit the shoulder and rolled back into the sand, as did his fourth and fifth. Reluctantly he accepted his medicine, but not before he’d picked up his Titliest Pro V1, tossed it in the air and smacked it into bush land.

So here is our hopeful again, pushing his tee into the Lookout tee block before walking behind his ball to wait for the group in front to move on. For those standing about him, they know he’s accepted the challenge and that’s to smack that little white ball as far down the fairway as he possibly can and if straight, that will be a bonus.

The Pro V1 is sent into the wild blue yonder, high over the valley where it disappears somewhere beyond the fairway sand trap. So far so good, he discovers his ball beside the 150 marker sitting high in the second cut.

Looking to the pin where it had been placed in the centre of the nearest flat closest to the burn. His second a six iron, sends the Pro V1 across the burn to the right side of the amphitheater where it kicks left like a Nathan Lyon offie, to roll onto the high side of the putting surface to be overlooking the cup.

An amazing eagle chance now beckons, but he’s been in this position before.

On the green he studies the line to the cup but is struggling with his decision; If he goes the direct route there’s every chance his ball might gain pace and roll off the green into the hazard.

He changes tactic and looks across the slope of the ridge thinking he’ll be able to slow the putt and use the slope to trickle it to the cup.

A better golfer would certainly have gotten it closer, but as our striving golfer made his way up the hill to next week’s Par 4, 9th “The Hut”, 4 for 4 was the reward ensuring our aspirational golfer will be back after lockdown.