A Weekend Golf Trip: A very fun thing to do with friends!

group tenterfield
The Tenterfield Golf Course turned it on for us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     When I picked up a golf club for the very first time a couple of years ago and swung it enthusiastically this way and that, I had no idea that Golf would offer so much more than mere exercise. Indeed, despite the very high level of frustration that can be engendered by a disobedient little white ball, I’ve discovered that there’s a lot of fun to be had both on and off the course!

This was especially true of my first ever golfing weekend away from home which took place in a month or so ago. A girl’s weekend always has much to recommend it but when that weekend includes shopping, lunching, yarning over nibbles and drinks, dinner, dancing and a game of golf here and there, you know you’re on a winner. And even more so when your companions are the Mullumbimby Saturday Lady Golfers, affectionately known as “The Chooks.”

As the name suggests, this is a group of ladies who don’t take themselves too seriously, who  know how to party and who are always willing to help a friend. Now the Chooks hold by the saying, “What happens on tour, stays on tour,”  so no  stories that might have inspired the director of ‘The Hangover’ will darken this post!

The girls have been collecting all manner of Chooks for good luck . Some are more appealing than others apparently.

 

Betty, our club captain had generously offered Kerrie and I a lift and so on a sunny Friday morning, I found myself heading for Tenterfield, which is about three hours away from home.  Now you wouldn’t want the journey to be too boring, so the Chooks had agreed to meet up for morning tea in Casino.  Travel requires frequent refueling after all!  A  quick  coffee and cake, a bit of a natter and a  wander around the shopping district and we were back in the car ready to climb the Great Dividing Range. Betty and Kerrie were very familiar with the road but I hadn’t traveled on it for over 20 years.  Unlike most of NSW, there had been plenty of rain and and little villages like Tabulum were picture postcard perfect. 

This will be the last time I will be able to drive over the historic Tabulum Bridge, ( it is the longest wooden bridge in the Southern Hemisphere) before it’s demolished for a modern one.

 

It seemed to me that even the bends in the road had been smoothed out and before too long we were approaching our home away from home for the next two nights: Tenterfield.

A beautiful avenue of trees greeted us as we entered the town. 
We stayed at the Bowling Club Motor Inn which is located within easy walking distance of the main street.
Kerrie and I had a lovely view of the bowling greens from our private patio. Our room was a generous size and they also supplied a continental breakfast .

 

There was time on that first afternoon for a leisurely walk through town,  before returning for afternoon drinks and nibbles at the motel.

Despite the threatening storm clouds, the weather did not hinder us in any way. So lucky!

 

A night of dinner and dancing followed. Many of the girls were able to show some very  fancy moves on the dance floor. They are definitely ‘girls who know how to have fun.’  Next morning our championship game awaited at the picture perfect Tenterfield golf course.

A perfect late spring day. Views to the mountains very lovely

 

After our group photo, I was in for a surprise. As this was my first trip, I was presented at the start of play with a tiara  as I was the “virgin” of the group.  I was to wear the tiara throughout the day’s play and abide by some ‘special rules of play’ which would be revealed as the day progressed!

 
I was very lucky to score Michelle, our club president, as my partner for the day.
An unlucky bounce and I was in the car park – special rule for virgins: play every ball where you find it!
Despite one or two little hiccups, it was fun zooming here, zooming there on this lovely course.  And no one lost a ball to the water!

But there can only be one winner and this year it was Nancy who came out on top.

Debbie congratulating Nancy on her success.
And here are the members of the winning team!

 

But the fun didn’t stop there. The following morning after checkout, we all headed to Casino where we would be playing our second round of golf.  Again, another lovely day awaited us. Casino is a more challenging course than Tenterfield and I must confess, my beginner skills were tested! 

Alas all good things come to an end and after lunch and presentations, we headed home. I am already looking forward to next year’s jaunt.

 

 

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A Hole in One: Not an impossible dream!

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Sister Act : Jenny and I on our respective Par 3’s at Cowra and Mullumbimby Golf Courses.

Until a couple of weeks ago, I thought  that landing a hole in one was an impossible dream. Something only achieved by golf whisperers,  players who can actually play the game with some finesse and seem able to coax, caress and cajole their clubs and balls  into behaving beautifully, fulfilling  golfing desires. Players like my sister, Jenny who after many years of playing A grade and representative golf,  landed her first hole in one last year at Cowra Golf Club. Teeing off on the 5th, a Par 3 with her trusty nine iron, Jenny saw her ball sail toward the pin. However, it was only when she and her group walked down to the hole, that she could celebrate.  Her ball was lying there, nestled in the cup! Although she has won many events over the years,  she told me that this hole in one was the most special.

PicMonkey Collage
Cowra Golf Course is a beautiful country course in the Central West of NSW.  With lush fairways and  challenging bunkers, there are one or two hills that will give you a cardio workout.  I had a wonderful time playing there with Jenny while  hooning around in her golf buggy. You might like to check out our adventures here.

 

But I thought wrong! Even a relative newcomer to golf such as myself, who  has enjoyed many mishaps on her golfing journey and who steps up to the ball, swings and hopes for the best, can land a hole in one. 

My special moment happened a couple of weeks ago at Mullumbimby Golf Club.

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Beautiful Mullumbimby, a country paradise.

There I was competing in our monthly medal round, hoping against hope that my score wouldn’t blow out too embarrassingly, when the unbelievable happened. It was the 12th hole.  A par 3. The hole is bordered by water on both sides and as I stepped up with my driver,  I remember having a few, stern,  silent words to my pretty blue flowered ball. “Don’t even think about going for a dip in the pond! I know you like to swim but  this isn’t the time for fraternising with the geese. You don’t want to get dirty, I only bought you yesterday … Just fly up in the air and you’ll see how soft and lovely the grass is on the green.”

Maybe my ball listened,  maybe I followed through properly or Lady Luck intervened … I don’t know.  All I know is,  I watched as my ball sailed to the left, curved around and landed softly just before the hole and rolled in.  Picking up my ball from the cup, I actually felt a bit guilty. I know how many really good players are out there who haven’t been rewarded with a hole in one and here was I with one. It didn’t seem fair somehow.

That guilty feeling didn’t stop me from being absolutely thrilled when I was presented with my first sporting trophy since I was the 16 years girls swimming champion at school, something I achieved through participation not skill.

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I think the flowers did it!

What has been particularly heartwarming has been my fellow lady golfers’ reactions. They were genuinely thrilled for me. But that’s golf isn’t it? It’s the comraderie as well as the personal challenge that keep us coming back.  And persevering.   And truly, if I was able to sink a hole in one, there’s hope for all golfers out there.

 

 

A Golf Adventure along the Tweed River

Isn’t the Coolangatta/Tweed Heads golf course spectacular? Just walking around it, feet cushioned by emerald green turf, taking in the water views and watching the antics of the abundant bird life is enjoyable. However tackling its many challenges was and is a real golfing adventure!  Last week, Annie and Pam and I took on the challenge of the river course at Coolangatta/Tweed Heads Golf Club.  Although we were just playing a social match, this was my first experience  playing on a championship course and I hoped… crossed my fingers and every other appendage … and  … wished … to play well.

 I had a few concerns as my game isn’t quite what I would have hoped it might be by this stage. When I embarked on my golfing journey, I was full of good  intentions:  I promised myself that I would practice my putting at home between weekly visits to the ‘Coffee Golf’ clinic at Mullumbimby Golf Club ( I didn’t make it to double digits),  pay a visit to the local driving range at Ballina (only visited the range to buy Christmas gifts) and  find time to play a few extra games, perhaps at different courses. (I can count the extra games I played in an 18 month period, on one hand!) So predictably, my progress has been slow, painfully tortoise like!  But I thought, nothing ventured, nothing gained! Miracles can happen on a golf course I assured myself and there was always lunch and good company to look forward to, if I was doomed to disappointment.

It was a perfect day for golf, warm and sunny as only the North Coast can be, with very little breeze.  Soon we were out on the course. Annie and Pam were in Superman mode: their tee shots flying down the fairway like speeding bullets. Mine were more problematical but I persevered and hit a couple that were not too shabby. We discovered that the fairways were so smooth that Annie and Pam in particular were able to hit away with their fairway woods. I was a little more timid and stuck with my irons but all our balls ran and then ran some more. Always an agreeable outcome.

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Annie hitting a great shot  missing the water and the bunker

 

 Even when I inevitably found the rough, to my surprise, it  was relatively smooth and for once, I hit out easily.  But as we approached the greens, we understood why Nicky, our golf pro, had made us  practice targets with our nine irons and pitching wedges again and again and again.  Every green was surrounded by water and sand!  A lot of sand!  Luckily, each  of us only lost only one ball to the water and generally missed the sand. Yes, it was up, up and away for us.

course hazards
I know what those bunkers are thinking: I’m going to get you!

 

The course is quite long and there is a fair distance between some holes, but the view you have of the river is worth the trek but I can understand why many choose to cart it.

 

walking between holes admiring the river
The Tweed River

 

All too soon, our game was over and it was time for lunch and a well deserved cappuccino at the Golf Club. Alas our day had come to an end. The highway beckoned and before too long, we were home in Byron Bay. Tweed, watch out! In the words of Arnie, ‘We will be back!’

 

Lady Golfers Rule!

Tackling the front nine at Byron Bay
Tackling the front nine at Byron Bay

I’ve discovered that lady golfers, to quote Lady Macbeth, “are full of the milk of human kindness.”

Over the past year, my golfing journey has had many ups and downs. There have been many days when  my body just didn’t want to do what I was telling it to do. I thought I was following instructions but discovered that what I thought I was doing and what I was actually doing were poles apart.  I was standing too far or too close to the ball and as a consequence was aerating  grass that really didn’t want to be aerated. My grip was wrong ( I realise now that I was holding it in a manner reminiscent of Barney Rubble)  and unbeknownst to me, I lifted my head.  To make matters worse, my feet were always pointing in the wrong direction (no wonder so many of my balls seemed to have a love connection with the trees) and my weight was too far on the back foot. (Just as well that there aren’t any rabbits on the course because I would have wiped them out with my ground hugging torpedoes.) As well, far too often, my swing was too fast or my follow through was on the nose, literally!

We're all getting closer to the pin! Yay!
We’re all getting closer to the pin! Yay!

But  someone once said that the first thing golf teaches you is humility and that’s so true. But I’ve also discovered that it’s the empathy and encouragement that a beginner receives from lady golfers in particular, that gives them the patience to keep practicing, the will to keep on going.

Nicky keeping a watchful eye on us all
Nicky keeping a watchful eye on us all as the storm clouds gather.

Our Golf Pro, Nicky Dickon never gets impatient, never seems to mind repetition and always finds something positive in your game.  The lady members, go out of their way to welcome us and share ‘secret lady golfers’ business’ with us.  My golfing group is always supportive, never noticing the bad shots and always praising the good ones. Their company, as we enjoy our coffee after our lesson, is always fun and adds a wonderful social dimension to my week.

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Annie and I remembered to park down the bottom this time! The hill to the club house is very, very steep.

The first hole at Teven Golf Course
The first hole at Teven Golf Course. Annie and I had such fun! Lunch at Lennox was good too.

Playing with Ben and Christian at Byron
Playing with Ben and Christian at Byron

 

Because of their support,  I have ventured onto other courses, notably Teven and Byron Bay and participated in my first invitational.  There have been  increasingly more days when I seem to be one with the ball. Days when my drive goes straight down the fairway and not into a hazard, my iron shots see some airtime and my chip shots land within coo-ee of a pin, welcoming in my ball with open arms. Par at last!

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