Club de Golf Llavaneras – February 2016
It was overcast yesterday when I picked up my hire car and the further north I drove the darker the sky became.
It started raining just as I got into Llavaneras and as I pulled into the parking lot the rain got heavier. I was an hour early so waited until the rain let up a little before heading to the club house.
I met with Marc (Sales Manager) and had a good golf chat with him while we watched the rain.
Guillem, who I golfed with at Montanyá had told me to say hello to his friend Silvia who works in the pro shop so we had a great golf chat while the rain fell.
Then the rain became a storm and the power went out a couple of times and golfers returned in droves. Drenched golfers – some with rain gear and some without and yet my enthusiasm for heading out didn’t dampen. One gentleman informed me it had been hailing out there but as I said there wasn’t lightening and I was still going to play.
He thought I was crazy but I had my wet weather gear and as I said yesterday – every day is a good day for golf, some days are just better.
I asked Marc who I was to play with and if he thought they would show up. They must be fair weather golfers as they were not there at 11.30am when we were due to tee off. I put on my wet weather pants and Marc advised that the green staff had said all the greens were flooded and I needed to wait another half hour, if I actually still wanted to go out.
I sure did and was happy to wait. I had nothing else booked but golf.
The rain slowed and I decided I would take a buggy as I had my phone, camera and bag of snacks and didn’t want any of those things getting completely drenched if the rain started again.
As I was looking at the map to work out where the first tee was a gentleman pulled up beside me and I asked him to point me in the right direction.
In my broken Spanish I asked if he had just finished or if he was going out. He looked quite dry and he said he was just teeing off. I asked him if there were four in his group and as there were only three I asked (invited myself) to join him and his friends.
I am so glad I did.
I introduced myself to Joan and he introduced me to Carlos and then Enrique (who said I could just call him Humphrey Bogart). The guys spoke a little English and I speak a little Spanish so we were set.
As we stepped up to the first tee, Carlos said we could have one mulligan and asked me if I knew what one was. After telling him I do know what one is but I do not usually take one I completely duffed my tee shot landing on another fairway to the left, at the bottom of a hill.
All three of them called for a mulligan and I laughed grabbed another ball from my bag and drove again.
Carlos told me I stretch too far for my tee shot. I told him that I know this but that it is only with my driver and I don’t hit other clubs like that but with my driver it just works. While my first drive was not a good example, I told him to wait and he would see that I can actually drive quite well.
I did show them I could drive and quite well at times, not great yesterday but I did have some great drives amongst them.
At the end of the hole Carlos asked my my score and I added two for my mulligan but he refused to count it.
We were playing a stableford and I do believe I might have come 4th.
By the third hole I was cursing myself, not for anything to do with my golf but for doing hand stand push ups earlier in the week as my right shoulder and elbow were very sore. I’m not quite sure what I have done but I struggle to pick some things up with my right hand at the moment. Not conducive to a great game of golf but it was great to be out there on a soggy fairway whacking balls.
When I hit an absolute terrible shot, duff it or top it I can do naught but laugh and by laugh sometimes it is a guffaw. Joan and Humphrey thought this was fantastic and couldn’t believe I could be so amused at my shit shots. We spent a lot of time laughing at my golf then the guys laughing at me laughing at my golf.
I think it was the 14th that I teed off directly into the water, chuckled and headed to the drop zone to play my third shot. I dropped a ball then tried to whack the skin off it, instead I hit so far behind the ball I got quite the divot yet just clipping the ball which may have gone 30cms.
I burst out laughing, the boys started laughing and I looked over at Joan as he pointed to me grabbed his belly in mock laughter and actually dropped to the ground rolling around.
He told me that Carlos always gets very mad when he hits a bad shot and that Enrique can get annoyed if there is not complete silence for his shots and he miss hits the ball. Joan smiled at me and said “pero eres siempre contenta” (but you are always happy).
My response was to smile at nod. Yes I was always happy.
I was golfing.
Sure, it is better when most of my shots are good and I did do some amazing shots yesterday yet there was only about one per hole. Did I mention my putting was the worse it has been in the whole nineteen months I have been playing.
I think I three putted most greens. I did have a couple of good putts but yesterday my putter was not my friend.
Some of the greens were partial underwater and I must admit it is the first time I have taken a drop on a green. I was happy to take a drop out of the water in the bunkers but the sand was like cement.
Speaking of cement, on the 11th, my drive wasn’t great but I nailed my second hybrid shot, it was just a little directionally challenged and it went off to the left into the rubbish. So far in that I was adamant I had lost it and grabbed another ball ready to take a drop.
As I got closer Joan pointed it out – I knew it was my ball as you could see the green spider (my ball marker). The ball was sitting on top of a concrete drain about 40cms from a chain link fence. I grabbed my pitching wedge and just punched it perfectly back onto the fairway. Joan and I looked at each other and nodded. It was the perfect shot from that crap. I then followed this up with an awesome 8 iron on to the green that did exactly what I had pictured in my head.
I smiled and headed up to the green to three putt once again.
The sun poked it’s head out glistening off the Balearic Sea and I thought how amazing this track would be on a gorgeous day. There are many changes of elevations and with tight fairways, well placed water hazards and sand traps, this track is a good test of golf.
Yesterday the course played me but I am hoping I have time to come back and play the course.
As we were coming down the 16th Humphrey (Enrique) asked me if I liked music and food. Of course I do! He invited me to join him for his niece’s birthday dinner that night. I explained I only had my golf clothes but he said it was at his sister’s house and didn’t matter.
Porque no? Why not? I had nothing else planned after golf.
The 17th hole is amazing, spectacular views over the water and the green is well protected with lots of sand. I spent a bit of time in one of the bunkers there wanting (needing) three attempts to perfect my shot.
On the par three 18th and I veered to the right bouncing onto another fairway and the course website says “important not to lose the green on the right side because the recovery from there is very complicated” so I was very happy with my blind sand wedge shot onto the green and managed to two putt and was happy with a four to finish the day.
My number for the day particularly on the back nine was 8 and while I did get a par and a couple of bogies there was nothing consistent coming off my club.
That is golf.
After the round I headed in and interviewed Silvia as I don’t think my Spanish or the boys English would have worked for Twenty Questions with Tiff.
I then had a chat to Marc about all things golf in Spain and the challenge of making Barcelona a golfing destination.
Lucas Bueno, the Manager, joined us and as it turns out Lucas is the nephew of Joan and Carlos who are third cousins (if I got the translation correct).
We ended up in Lucas’ office talking all things golf in all parts of the world and swapping golf stories and experiences until Enrique came knocking at the window tapping his watch.
He had food to cook and a party to go to.
What can I say I am passionate about golf. I love chatting about what is happening in all parts of the world with this wonderful game and got caught up talking golf and wasn’t paying attention to the time.
I headed out with my new golfing buddy to celebrate his niece’s birthday but that is another story altogether.