By Ian Callen
The Friday before last seems a long time ago now.
If you remember, we enjoyed a magnificent day of sunshine, before the age old shepherds warning alerted us to what might be in store for our RACV Saturday morning golfers.
And sure enough the rain began to fall just beyond midnight and it continued all through the night.
For those who were on the tee early morning; conditions were miserable and without a breath of wind, it wasn’t about to clear too soon.
This left only a determined few on course willing to combat the elements and the course.
When I arrived at the club, play had been under way for a little over three hours by my reckoning and if I was right, my arrival would have me at the 15th Tee Block, just in time to catch Peter Monk and Chris Handasyde teeing off.
Even better, I caught them executing the par 4, 14th “The Turtle” just as they were giving the customary salute to neighbours having achieved regulation; before climbing to the elevated Par 5, 15th Tee Block.
This is a where golfers turn to face the southbound fairway that signifies the “homeward run” and usually it’s such a splendid scenic view.
On this day however, our two golfers stood dripping wet trying to decide which fairway they should play and the reason for this is a natural water course; a Burn, that snakes a path up the fairway dividing it in two. And for Peter and Chris, two good shots up the fairways might normally see them on the green avoiding the sidewinding hazard that skirts the 15th green to slither off past the 16th.
Watching them surveying this scene, I wondered, if they might toss a coin, heads for the left fairway, tails for the right, but care needs to be taken here for the last thing they want is their golf ball in that Burn.
“A par would be a good result today lads, what’s the plan?” I said form the shelter of my electric cart.
“Your not wrong“, said Chris “ We’ve enjoyed better conditions. On a good day, I’d be targeting that second bridge down there over the Burn. I can carry the distance, but I am not so sure today”.
I turned to watch Peter as he was removing his driver from his bag and I could see he’d already made his decision; “I’m going down the left side” he said determinedly.
“Towards that bridge and from there I’ll follow the tree line into the green. That’s my plan anyway.”
I have watched these two on course many times over the past year and they can play.
Peter’s handicap is 7, whilst Chris plays off 6; which means they are both very capable and stylish golfers, with well balanced swings into full follow throughs. I wasn’t surprised to see the vapour trailing their golfs balls as they disappeared into the gloom.
Unfortunately heavy sky’s forced them a little short which meant they had to play for the safety of the open right fairway.
Here they battled waterlogged cut grass and the clutch situation of setting up a birdie chance, with an added dilemma; the requirement of pin point accuracy over a Burn that swallows all brands of golf balls.
On the “Putting Surface”, where the middle of the green has been scooped out; there is an assortment of rises, slopes, dips and gradients, that’s tricky enough and worse on a sunny day. Those little blades of bent grass tend to follow the rays of light crossing the sky… but not today thankfully!
As mentioned, Par would be a good result and I think the lads were happy enough to know they had overcome the elements as real golfers do – well played.
Darren Edwards (67)
Peter Gebert (67)
Andrew Body (68)
Nearest the Pin
Rob Johnston / Second
Harrison Baxter / Fourth
Don Stevenson / Tenth
David Chipperfield / Thirteenth