Wednesday, January 16, 2008

World's Largest....................

Largest what ?

Ball of twine ? Skyscraper ? Waistline ? I'm in America remember, so it could be anything.

Claims for 'the largest', 'the biggest', 'the fastest' etc should be settled these days by looking at The Guinness Book Of Records but the online version doesn't mention the particular 'largest' I saw yesterday.

It was the largest golf green in the world........maybe.

We went to the Spring Lake Golf Resort just a few miles north and east from sunny Buttonwood Bay which has two 18 hole and one 9 hole courses. We played the Cougar Trail course (18 hole) and next to it was the Panther Creek course, also 18 holes. It's this Panther course which has the largest green and unknown to me, I took a photo of it before we even set off from the clubhouse area.

We drove to the clubhouse and dropped off our clubs which were whisked away by eager staff to our pre allocated carts.

I've never seen so many golf carts outside of our park here as on these courses, walking is not an option. I soon found out why !!

After registering in the clubhouse, we settled into our carts to await our tee time. This gave me the opportunity to nip over to the practice putting area for a few putts to both get a feel for the greens and to have a bit of a look around.

There were some people up putting already so after my practice, I went back to the cart for my camera and returned to take a few shots of the area.

This was the photo I took and I only took it to show the practice area. I know now that the green across the water, mostly to the left, is the largest green in the world and is at the end of the par 3 9th hole on Panther Trail.

I should imagine many players find the green quite easily in 1 but then take 3 more putts or more to get into the hole.

In case you didn't take the link above, the green is 42,000 sq feet !!

While I'm talking about the Panther course, it also has one of the longest holes in the US if not the world. It's the huge par 6, 800 yd, 6th hole and hopefully we'll get to play that course another day.

Anyway we set off to play Cougar and like I said, I found out right away why a cart is needed. The distance between holes is enormous and to keep play moving along, a cart HAS to be used.

As for the course itself, well for a rank amateur player like me, it was a strange combination of easy and difficult. There was little or no rough and in fact if the ball drifted off the fairway, it usually settled on top of lovely spongy grass that was a joy to play from. Now and again the ball would sink down into this grass and then it was a more difficult shot just to get it out.

There was water around every hole and some of the bunkers (sand traps) wouldn't have been out of place at St. Andrews. But the fairways were flat and even a topped drive would roll for quite a distance.........a huge bonus for me !

Many holes were dog legs and a better player than me could've 'taken them on' and improved their chances of getting a par or even a birdie.

I always wimped out and took the safest route and so I'd usually be over par long before getting to the green. Oh it was all good fun and a grand day out. It was slightly colder than usual (mid 70's) and for some bizarre reason we'd both been given carts with no plastic windscreens and when going at full pelt, there was quite a cool breeze.

I forgot to mention that our foresome was made up of myself and Debby and our friends from last Thursday's game, Clair and Mary.

Clair is the self proclaimed 'Golf Leader' as he's played lots of golf - as can be seen from his semi professional posture on this hole.

Actually when I stepped up to this short par 3 hole (the 2nd but our 11th as we started on the 10th - if you follow that), I was all for throwing my ball into the water that faced me from the tee. I've not got a good track record of getting over water and this was quite a daunting stretch in front of me.

Clair went first and I think he only just cleared the water - which only added to my apprehension.

After taking that shot of Clair, I'd left my camera down behind the tee and gone to take my drive. Clair had picked up the camera and took this shot of me and I'm glad he did as this became my fav hole up to this point.

If you click to enlarge the photo, you may see that despite the fact that I'm peering at the far bank, my ball is visible if you pick the first palm tree on the left and go up to the top of the image.

This is because it took off like a rocket and easily made it to the far side, close to that big tree on the left. From there I chipped to the far side of the green and holed a long putt back to get my first ever par in Florida !! Hurrah.

A historic moment indeed. (before anyone comments, I've checked and, gramatically speaking, it wasn't 'an' historic moment !)

Taking a line down from that same palm tree to the land on my side, I'm also happy to see my green coloured tee still in the air as it became a sub challenge for me to keep this tee all the way round......and I did.

We went back and over a picturesque wooden bridge to get to our balls and this gave me a chance to take a photo to show just how wide that stretch of water really was.

I'm sure if I'd known that, I'd never have managed to hit my ball over it. The foreshortening effect from the slightly elevated tee was definitely to my advantage - ignorance was bliss in this case.

The woman's tee was on the other side and completely took out the water for them. Of course there was nothing stopping Mary and Debby from using 'our' tees but........they didn't. Cluck, cluck !!

After I'd got my par and done a happy dance, I got an 8 on the next hole, the 3rd. As it was a par 5, that was excusable and didn't dent my new found confidence. The 4th was a short par 3 but with water to the left, encroaching onto the fairway so that it needed a careful tee shot to avoid it.

I somehow managed that, found the green and two putted to get my 2nd par in the last 3 holes.

Sadly my game, unlike the fairways, went downhill after that and my next three scores were 8,8 and 7.

In my defence, and all golfers have awesome defences, the sun was setting and right in my eyes, I was quite tired by then AND I'm basically crap at golf.

I'd only lost one ball in 13 holes up to this point but on those last 3 holes, I lost one more just because the low sun made it almost impossible to find a ball that wasn't sitting up in the middle of the fairway, a place I'd not found in several attempts.

Our 'golf leader' suggested we call it a day with 2 holes to play and we unanimously agreed. The sun had set, we were getting chilled and those last 2 holes didn't seem inviting in the gathering gloom.

And I was busy taking sunset photos anyway.

Once again I had to disagree with Mark Twain's comment that "golf is a good walk spoiled."

I mean if you're not a golf lover or even a sport lover, I think you'd still have to agree that it takes a lot to find something better than being outside with friends watching a sunset like this.

And as for walking, well Mr. Twain obviously never made it to the Spring Lake Golf Resort near Sebring, Florida - where walking is most definitely discouraged and by 6pm last night, I was very glad it was.


Daphne said...

All very interesting but when you speak Golf I can't understand you. What's a "topped drive"? Also the idea of using a golf club left-handed just tangles my brain even more than usual. But congratulations on getting the par, and also on the beautiful sunset photo.

Rosanna said...

why do they call them woods when there is not a speck of wood in them clubs eh??

and absolutley beautiful sunset.. wish I could have seen that.

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