I've had a golf addiction over the past ten years. I call it an addiction because I'm always happy to play in horrible conditions. I assumed coming to China I would have a hard time finding playing partners that wanted to play as much as I do. That's been the case. I've been to the same course twice with some work colleagues, but nobody is interested in playing in balmy fifty degree Fahrenheit weather like me. This is Steve and me playing at North Bellingham. Yes, that's ice in the water behind us. I can hear me saying something dumb like I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Steve would be quick to say something smart like, Hawaii? Of course he knew what I really meant. I wouldn't want to be playing golf with anyone else.
Here's the weather forecast for the coming days. Not a problem. I'm way into a round in these conditions. Feeling thankful for the extra ten degrees of warmth compared to Bellingham, WA right now.
At the moment I'm stuck staying awake until midnight. My twelfth graders have a paper that's due at midnight. I have to be awake to cut off submissions. It's called the Internal Assessment. It's a paper they write on a topic of their choosing. The mathematics involved has to be at the level of the course (advanced calculus and statistics). It counts as 20% of their grade for the year. It's a big deal. Yawwwwwwn...
Round complete. Short version: Shot an 84. Much improved from other two rounds. Played most of it with a man named Arvin. Perhaps a new playing buddy!
Long version: Arrived around 9:30. Knew I was going to pay a lot more for this round as I wanted the warmer weather. I could have teed off before 7:00am, but figured it was worth more to let it warm up outside a bit. Immediately I could tell there were a lot fewer players around. Nobody was gettting ready to head to the first tee. I got my clubs loaded up on a cart with the assistance of Chen Ling. She was my player assistant for the round. I grabbed a few clubs and hit the range for about 20 swings. Striped everything and confidently went back to the cart.
I motioned for Chen Ling to drive and I hopped in the passenger seat. As we approached the first tee there was a foursome teeing off. She zipped right by them and passed a second group too. I started on the 5th tee. Smashed the first drive and followed that up with a green in regulation. Three putts later I was on my way. Boagies the next two holes and we were having fun. Par 5. Nearly made it in two to the green. Chip and a two putt for my first par. I was killing the driver and smoked another on the fifth hole. A high sand wedge in and it was the first birdie. Sweet. I got this.
Next hole we were motioned forward to join Arvin. He's been playing for only a year and it was obvious right away. He was excited to see me birdie our first hole together and Chen Ling about came out of her shoes when I went back to back birdies. Here's our group. Yes, I felt like a giant standing next to all three of them.
Suddenly I'm six holes in and only one over. Not bad compared to how I've played so far in China. the rest was a mix of pars and boagies. Three bad holes. Puked up a triple and two doubles. Lost two balls on back to back swings. Otherwise walked away very confident. I've got an issue with bending my left elbow from time to time. When I keep it locked out and straight I play a lot better.
Arvin appreciated that I shared our picture with him on WeChat. He was thankful and we exchanged thoughts of playing together again sometime. He works for a phone company and speaks a little bit more English than I do Chinese. I wasn't surprised that he played from the blue men's tees even though he didn't hit it very far. I've witnessed Asian men before back home playing from tees way longer than they ought to be using.
I like this course a lot (Hangzhou Lake Hill Golf Course). Three times around it and I'm feeling better and more confident knowing what's behind some blind shots. Seeing the tall buildings over the tree line is cool. Like this...
I hope to get out again during my break. I'm guessing that temperatures in the low fifties is typical here for this time of year. I dropped nearly $300 with taxis, greens fees, and Chen Ling. I'm thinking I can swing that at least once a month. Missing my regular playing buddies at home. Know that I'm thinking of you on the course.