Hampton Golf Club – July 2017 – Today I joined my mate Tim (who is currently snoring on his couch while I work and watch a replay of The Open) to play in the RBC PGA Scramble as I had plans to golf my way to Cabot this year.
Alas it was not to be for our team but we will be back next year to try again.
Tim picked me up yesterday from the PEI shuttle following a horrendous storm.
Besides transiting through Moncton, I haven’t spent anytime in New Brunswick at all.
It is beautiful here. It is more river than beaches (like PEI) and of course the soil isn’t as red.
While I was here to golf, I wanted to hit the river on a kayak. This part of the world in the Canadian summer is stunning.
Tim and I arrived early and hit a few balls while we waited for Mike and Pierre to arrive. We caught up with Pierre and Tim spotted Mike who sported a back brace. Turns out he lifted his sliding compound mitre saw this morning and tweaked his back.
There were 12 teams competing for two spots. A couple of teams who had not qualified at Ashburn in Nova Scotia had come to try their luck here.
I can understand why. Who wouldn’t want to golf their way to Cabot Links/Cliffs?
I was hoping to have to change my whole schedule in order to come back to Canada and play at Cabot later in the year. I would do anything to play an event like that. (note – should anyone need another player, I am available and am a 23.7 handicap).
The clubhouse sits halfway up a hill with stunning views out over the river.
We got chatting with a couple of the other golfers and Tim introduced me to numerous members from the club. I chatted with Darren Ritchie (who is quite good at wielding a club) and he told us his team was his son, Nicholas and Head Professional Shawn Miller’s two sons, Cameron and Keegan.
We teed off and headed up the hill. Mike had removed his back brace but you could see he was carrying an injury.
I think it might have been two strokes in when Pierre dropped clutching his back and got up grimacing. We dropped one eagle but only got two birdies on the front nine and I could feel the waves of annoyance coming off the boys as they watched what I can only assume is not their usual golf come of their clubs.
I played my usual high handicap game. Had some good putts and drives with a little rubbish thrown in.
The course became more challenging as the wind picked up and I found it odd playing the par 6 6th hole (yes you read that correctly – Par 6) although we managed to eagle it thanks to a great putt from Tim. We weren’t pin hunting (and I admit I do it rarely) and the 15 foot putts were not dropping. Pars were not going to cut it out here today.
The boys with the busted backs continued to whack balls grimacing all the way and we limped our way home all aware that we were not golfing our way to Cabot (this year anyway – I am hoping the finals are at Cabot again next year).
The course has multiple changes in elevation and I must say I do enjoy a blind shot. I am not sure what it is but I like aiming where I am told and the bubble of excitement as I pop over the hill to see where I ended up.
As with any course, playing with members is a great advantage however today our combined golf was not going to cut it.
We came in and watched the team behind us hit a fantastic 2nd shot on the 18th.
I did love the two putt maximum rule and having an attempted eagle putt, knowing you had a guaranteed birdie was nice but we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.
I smiled and ate snacks as I photographed the gorgeous course. It was a perfect day for golf albeit a little windy.
Post round we sat in the clubhouse while the scores were tallied. I was checking my messages as I heard cheering and looked up to see what had happened on The Open (which was on television) however one of the team in 1st place (Kyle, Matthew, Ryan or Doug) came in telling us of the exceptional putt that had just been holed on the 18th.
The young guns had played some fantastic golf and grinned their way inside as we realised they had qualified for the regionals.
I look forward to watching the adventures of all Hampton boys and hope to see them compete at Cabot (if you need a fill in – pick me pick me!).
I am already looking forward to challenging again next year as I do believe I have found another event to add to my annual golf calendar.