I crawled out of bed early to head north and was on the road two hours before I arrived at the golf.
I checked the tee sheet and headed out to watch Zach Murray tee off. I watched him play the first two holes and waited for Nick Cullen to come through the 2nd. I saw he had started with a birdie and then watched him drop his birdie putt on the 2nd and tee off the third. I turned to the man beside me noting that he started with two birdies he may as well drop a third.
The guy looked at me like I was a little mad considering the distance and the tricky greens and yet Nick sunk the putt and dropped another birdie.
I headed to the practice areas for a bit and did a lap of the village then I was back to the media centre. I had messaged Steve Marsden, the Superintendent and we planned to catch up later.
I chatted with Robbie and met Matthew from Social Golf Australia before heading back out to watch Jason Norris tee off with Ogilvy. I watched Ogilvy take a moment, close his eyes and just breathe while he was on the tee waiting for the green to clear. I thought perhaps he was praying to the golf gods (seems to have worked for him).
The starter called him up and Ogilvy looked at the green and said as they were still putting he wouldn’t hit up. Both he and Norrey had a driver in their hands and Norrey agreed that it would hit and disturb the putters and Ogilvy told the starter if there was a problem he could blame it on Geoff.
After being called a second time the boys teed off meanwhile Steve Marsden had sent me a text and was waiting near the media centre to give me a Australian Open flag. I headed down after snapping a couple of photos and had a catch up with Steve.
I did a lap just wandering looking at the crowds swell then headed to the 1st to watch Lincoln Tighe tee off. The last two rounds he had eagled the 2nd and I told him that a repeat would be a great start. Instead he shot par, par (nothing wrong with par golf but on this stage it just isn’t good enough).
I followed Tighe for three holes then returned to the 2nd green tweeting as I watched. A gentlemen beside me in an Empower golf cart asked me if I could help him with some questions about twitter as he saw me tweeting.
This then led me to hang out with James Gribble (Founder of Empower Golf) and Lachy Foulsham (Head Coach) for most of the day.
We stayed greenside as seven groups played through chatting and tweeting and snapping photos. We talked social media and how best to engage with your audience across various platforms.
I had a quick chat with a couple of young guys who golf with MinWoo Lee in Perth. Lee currently sits tied in 11th spot. We watched MinWoo birdie the 2nd hole to the roar of delight from his mates.
I tried out the Empower golf cart and nearly shot through the rope greenside so when Lachy asked me to take it back to the media centre with me I declined as I thought I might well run someone over with it.
Turns out I didn’t have to as Lachy started chatting with a lady nearby whose husband was sitting on a small stool near the green. He was recovering from a stroke and had limited use of the left side of his body so when Lachy asked if he would like to use the cart for the next few hours he was delighted. His Australian Open golf experience just improved tenfold, being able to zip around and watch the champions play.
As my phone was dying and my belly was growling, I headed in to charge and eat and told James and Lachy I would meet them on the driving range at 2.30pm as Jarrod Lyle and Robert Allenby were going to be hitting balls from the chairs and having a bit of a chat with James.
In the media centre I bumped into Michael Green from Aussie Golfer and had a quick golf chat before I loaded a plate and hoped my phone would charge quickly.
At 2.20pm I headed back out and watched Ogilvy and Norrey play the 18th. Ogilvy threw an amazing dart from near 100m out to within feet of the pin to finish how he started – with a birdie. He shot an amazing -8 and sits in first position with -11 under going in to round 4.
After a couple photos I headed to the range, walking across the putting green noting Lyle and Allenby were practicing.
I met James and Lachy and helped them set up as Jarrod Lyle came up. We were all introduced as Sean (cameraman working for Golf Australia) joined us to film them. We waited on Allenby and they asked if I could go and find out if he was joining us.
I did and he wasn’t, so we continued with Lyle as Lachy got him set up in a chair while James kept up a rolling commentary.
It was amazing seeing the chairs in action and the ability and freedom it creates for it’s users. James said that when they give a first lesson it can be emotionally overwhelming as the user will be standing for the first time since they lost the use of their legs.
I have already made plans with the boys to join them on a clinic in December at Longreef and write about it. I want to chat to the users that are coming to try the chairs and to get out golfing and find out their golf story.
Talk about Golf 4 All (which is the Empower Golf mission statement). I was certainly empowered watching the boys work and will be assisting them with their social media requirements to get them on the right track as they continue spreading their message and improving the lives of would be golfers and getting people back on their feet. Literally.
Jarrod Lyle is a great guy and he had some driving competitions with James. James ended up winning in a close race however Jarrod certainly got some wonderful whacks on the ball.
I was busy filming and photographing on Lachy’s iPad.
I tweeted a few photos and turned to see Mark Ingrey (a golf buddy of mine who I first met at the Australian Open last year) had come to the range to meet up with me. I said a quick hello and told him I would finish filming then come and catch up.
I spent another half hour with the Empower crew before finding Mark sitting in the Spectators Village watching the golf on television.
As we are golfing together on Monday at Pacific Dunes (what will be my 93rd course) we just had a brief chat and I told him I would catch up properly then.
Tomorrow is going to be another great day of golf and I very much look forward to watching the action.