oh no, 18 times!

While I’m busy playing catch-up with the lists and pictures of material that meant to go up here, I thought I would drop in a short post about a recent fun activity.

Most of you probably know this about me, but for those that do not, I am a big fan of golf.  My first job was as a caddie at my local country club at age 14, and I continued to work at golf courses for the next 6-7 years.  Probably the best part about working at a golf course is the exposure to free golf-related stuff.  This means I usually played for free, never had to buy balls or tees, and often got clubs and lessons for free.

But despite my love for the game, life gets busy and I didn’t play too much toward the end of college and during graduate school.  Since moving here, I have only played on trips home to visit friends and family, and that was a little rough with my game being a bit rusty.  So rough in fact, that I even let my old man win a round or two for the first time since I was about 16.

Anyway, a little while back the local Groupon for the day was a round of golf with buggy hire and breakfast for a reasonable price, so my friend Josh and I jumped at the opportunity.  The course we played was very close to town, Hinksey Heights Golf Club, which boasts panoramic views of Oxford from up on the hill.  It didn’t disappoint.

Above is a view from what was one of my favorite holes.  The tee was just to the left and behind where I stood to take this.  I hope you can see the elevation change, water, and city spires in the background even though my phone camera is really bad.  The view was so good that I’m tempted to wander up there and take pictures of the city with our big camera sometime.

The entire experience was exactly what I expected when thinking about playing golf here in the UK, although it was filled with firsts.  We rode our bikes up the hill to the course, and I’ve never cycled to a course and simultaneously had an aerobic workout pre-round.  I’ve also never rented a half set of clubs or golf shoes, or had to buy balls and tees.  I think the kid behind the counter laughed at us when we wanted to buy about two dozen second-hand balls, but on a links-ish style course with blustery wind and all sorts of obstacles to our success, it was the right number.

There was a bit of a learning curve, but after 4 lost balls on the first 2 holes I managed to only lose 4 more the rest of the round.  Plus, once we hit the turn and talked the guy at the shop into selling us beers, things were smooth sailing.  In fact, if you look below, I have drawn an arrow to show where my ball ended up, some 315+ yards away.

It was sunny, then windy, then it rained got cold on us, and this cycle happened a couple of times during our 4 hour journey.  We hit bad, average, and great shots, in just the right amount to keep the game fun.  I really had a lot of fun, and although it makes me miss golf, I probably won’t play here too often.  I figured I’d end the post with a classic joke from Robin Williams that feels very appropriate.

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