“You might get the prize for the worst score”.
I’d just signed my card at the end of the round when my marker said this to me. A silver lining is probably what he had in mind and it did the trick. In fact, despite the golf, I’d just had a fantastic day at Byron Bay Golf Club.
Byron Bay has a reputation for hippies and a laid back lifestyle most city slickers only dream about on the bus to work. It should also be known as having some of the friendliest golfers in the country.
First tee pleasantries were more pleasant than at usual city courses. I was soon offered a ride in a cart for the day and an introduction to one of the oldest members of Byron Bay Golf Club. The 85-year old, proceeded to set the pace all day and screamed around the golf course faster than most 30-year-old’s. His tales of lone fishing 50 miles or more offshore were extraordinary, and it was obvious he was a reincarnation of the Ancient Mariner.
Byron Bay is a great golf course that has just got a whole lot better. It is obvious some money has been spent on the areas around the tees, and on a spectacular balcony area added to the club house. The cris-crossing tees littering of the 10th and 15th holes looks fantastic and the new renovations to the front nine are also well done. With little room to work with, they’ve succeeded in etching out a real good test of golf.
The second and third holes are now better for the renovation work. The second requires a tight short iron into the green negotiating the tree on the left and the third hole, a 152-metre par-3, is tricky. don’t end up left. Or long.
The signature par-5 4th hole and the 7th hole are wonderful driving holes coming back towards the club house. The ninth hole also runs in the same direction and serves up one of the trickiest approach shots to a green on the entire golf course. Uphill, bunkers and a sloping green doesn’t give much relief.
It is a steep walk up the hill to the 16th tee but I was once again offered a ride by my friendly playing partner. Not wanting to turn him down twice I took up the offer, only to see the Ancient Mariner had beat us there on foot. Any way you get there, you are faced tough, long drive down the chute, to a corner where positioning is imperative to have a good chance at the green.
By the time we got to the final few holes I was looking forward to a cleansing ale and the Byron Bay clubhouse is a great place to have one. A new wing to the clubhouse have recently been added and the views over the golf course are spectacular; a great way to forget the ‘golf’ I’d attempted to play. I was soon shaken from my deluded state.
“Who had the lowest score today? Do we have anyone with less than 26 points? 25 points? 24 points?”. It was obvious my hand as the only one still raised.
“Hey, are you the guy from Royal Sydney?” I wasn’t. But it was hard to argue in this situation and I figured it was nice to blame someone from another golf club.
“So much for you fancy city guys playing well here!”
And with that I got a cheer, an applause and two Crown Lagers for my troubles. I think I’ll be back if there is that much admiration for a loser.