My club has been out of bounds to members wanting a game of golf over the past fortnight due to the Australian Women’s Open being held there. However, a bunch of clubs around Adelaide opened up tee times for desperadoes who would rather play than watch golf, so the opportunity came to get my usual Sunday foursome onto a new course. I had my phone open for the opening of these limited tee times and managed to snag Kooyonga on the first Sunday and then Glenelg last Sunday. This earnt much praise from my playing partners and it was cool to be playing two courses ranked 26 and 25 in Australia by Golf Australia magazine.
Both courses were wonderful to play, Kooyonga having one of its normal holes out of play and a temporary hole 19 in action, a par three better than most. I felt a bit anxious wanting to play well at both courses but at Kooyonga, that meant me getting too uptight and topping a ball off the second tee, and then getting more and more wound up as each follow up shot on that hole and the next seemed to get me in bigger trouble. A par on the fourth settled me down and it was steady golf for the remainder of the round until I hacked my way down the 18th on route to a 92. At first, I wasn’t as wrapped in Kooyonga as I thought I would be. It is tighter than Grange, and a lot of overgrowth meant that golf balls were much more easily lost. But towards the last six holes, I started wishing that I could come back and play the next week, which I think is a sign that the course already had its claws into my brain.
I vowed that I would just relax at Glenelg the next week and enjoy myself to avoid the early hole disasters from the previous week, and it worked for the first hole, although a three putt bogey was a missed opportunity. I have only played Glenelg once before, twenty years ago in a Country golf week round where I remembered taking an 11 on the second. Maybe that ghost came out to haunt me as I pushed my drive out to the right into a area of open rough but then could not find it anywhere. We had to keep moving with the field on our tail so I ended up wiping the hole and then butchered the following par three with a series of dodgy sandy lies on the right that fluffed chances well and truly. Still, the resolution to enjoy myself was still there (and after a start like that, what else was left?) and I ripped a beautiful drive on the short par 4 that ended past the greenside bunker. Again, the round ended with me wishing that I could have another round there very soon but as I don’t really know any Glenelg members, that could be a while.
As for the Women’s Open, it is really an odd feeling watching pros playing on your home course (or one of them) on TV. I did notice that the cameras tend to flatten out some of the contours on the course. And when the eventual winner Haru Nomura holed a long putt from the back of the 17th green on the West, I knew exactly how hard that putt is under normal conditions. Her effort never looked like missing and just shows how amazingly talented these players are.