Day 7 in Australia – GOLF! Fri. Oct. 21

My Aussie friend & business colleague Paul Lawrence from Sydney and I had planned to play, and I left it up to him to pick the course and make the arrangements. But I didn’t know we’d be playing one of the top courses in Australia – New South Wales Golf Club, right on the Pacific Ocean! It occupies the northern headland of Botany Bay (which Captain Cook originally named “Stingray Harbour.”)

His friend Dean is a member, so he got us on the course and played the first 2 holes with us and then left. (Thanks, Dean!) We didn’t get to play all 18 as several holes are under major rework. Paul suspects NSW is getting ready to host a major next year – maybe the Australian Open. The 2009 Australian Open was played there, won by Adam Scott.

Hole #1 is a short par 4, 244 meters. (About 266 yards.) We had to hit over some tall rough to get to the fairway. Paul brought a set of Callaways for me to use and advised a 5 iron for a safe shot, so that’s what I did. All 3 of us hit safely to the landing area. I pitched onto the green and got down in 2 to par my first hole on NSW! This was a relief and set the tone for some decent golf, despite being intimidated by being on a pro-level course and using unfamiliar equipment.

In all, we played 11 holes and avoided the construction areas. This was fine with me – I wasn’t concerned about playing all 18 and was there mainly for the experience.

Here are the holes we played and my scores:

Hole #     Par     My Strokes
1               4               4
3               4               5
5               5               5
6               3               5  * See note below
7               4               4
13             4               4
15             4               6
16             4               4
17             3               3
18             5               5
19             3               3  Temporary Hole during construction
Total:     43            48  for 11 holes

* Hole #6 is NSW’s signature hole – par 3 and an over-the-ocean carry. I sissied out and played for a safe landing area, as the green was small and right by the cliff. Paul hit the green and parred it. If I go back I’ll try better on this hole next time.
1 bogey, 2 double bogeys and 8 pars – I was very happy with this score. What a golf experience!

We each had a couple of beers in the club house. I tried a Victoria Bitter and a Resch’s. Both great but I liked the Resch’s better. I bought a few souvenirs in the pro shop and then off to lunch.

We took lunch to Paul’s family who was enjoying the surf at a nearby beach. After meeting his wife and two of his three kids who were there, we headed to Paul’s office so I could see his Great Game scoreboards.

I had met Wendy from his office when they were both in the US for the Great Game conference in May 2011, so I got to visit with her again. She and I walked down the street to get coffees for a few folks in the office and I got to meet some of Paul’s colleagues.

Paul was nice enough to help me find and take me to a “Supercheap Auto” store to find some Aussie souvenirs for my son-in-law Tony who is a racing nut and who I noticed was watching Aussie racing on TV recently. We stopped for a couple of his errands and then back to his house so he could show me his miniature golf course on the roof of his 2 story house! Yep – it’s a flat roof and he has the cups built into the roof surface and the roof is covered with SmartGrass artificial turf! Incredible!

Although I was happy to take the rail back to my hotel, Paul and Louise insisted I stay for dinner. (I bet Louise thought she had seen the last of me at the beach.) We had a delicious dinner and the kids were great.

Getting to see their house and spending time with them, I was amazed at how much like America things are in Australia. Same concerns, family life, home styles – I really felt at home.

Thanks a million to Paul for a great day of golf, and thanks to his family for opening their home to me and making me feel welcome.

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