Some of the more regular readers amongst you may have spotted a recurring theme here, but it is difficult to sum up in short what are probably some of the best four days of the golfing calendar, when 20 or so Golf4Fun members potter down to this premier location near the Italian lakes in the shadow of the formidable Alps, in celebration of the noble game.
We began our journey in glorious sunshine, only to be met with a torrential downpour as we reached Lugano. Luckily though this was short lived and the fine weather returned before we reached the Lamazzo North turn off.
Having remembered last year’s tortuous journey to locate Pinetina without the aid of GPS which resulted in a lively in-transit discussion and a divorce lawyer on speed dial, I had taken careful steps to study the route vigorously beforehand. We arrived, with no dramas, just after mid-day, allowing time to unpack and have a spot of lunch before playing 18.
As it transpired this would be reduced to 16.5 as the rain we had encountered earlier caught up with us, together with the golfer`s nightmare – LIGHTNING!!
The shortened round was long enough though to provide us with a good insight into how the course was playing, with no real rough to contend with and the greens running fair and true.
The remainder of the Golf4Fun contingent arrived in the early evening, after having played Villa D’Est beforehand, and the slight delay to the start of dinner allowed us ample time to try the white wine of choice Gavi, which was destined to become the Apèro drink of choice over the ensuing days for yours truly.
Saturday, and with Nora now in attendance the O’Sullivan High moved in producing blue skies and mild temperatures. Due to some hiccups in the tee-off time scheduling I found myself on the first at 7.30 am and more remarkable was the presence of my better half who doesn’t normally see this time of the day. Fortunately, we had remembered to pack the kettle and the Tetley tea bags and so a strong brew taken on waking allowed a modicum of polite conversation possible.
The golf turned out to be most enjoyable, and having not partaken of any after-dinner digestive snifters the night before, the Grappa loving insect community that had plagued me last year, mistaking me to be a blood donor and a free drink, were to be disappointed. The added precaution of long trousers also helped.
Having played so early, a free afternoon beckoned and we decided to take the opportunity to drive to the lake side town of Como. Starting the engine I realised that all was not well with the car`s exhaust, and the Peugeot 307 cc had decided to imitate a badly tuned Ferrari. Still, as we were in Italy etc.
So with roof down we set off, deciding not to take the motorway, instead opting for the scenic route that would be kinder on the senses, the exhaust and our passengers` hair. Along the way it was soon evident that there are plenty of opportunities for the long distance lorry driver to rest and relax in the company of stimulating female company, should they so choose. Certainly some strange goings on in the Lombardi countryside. This combined with what seemed that every motorcyclist we encountered thinking he was Valentino Rossi made for a colourful road trip.
After a pleasant lunch Al Fresco, we gently strolled through the historical quarter, and before we knew it we were back in the car, with the credit card completely unscathed.
Two minor miracles in a day!!
Back to the club, to discover that a number of keen golfers had subsequently completed their rounds and gone out again to complete 36 holes for the day — That’s the golf bug for you.
Sunday, and it was off to Borgogno. Once again it was time for my annual Spanish lesson courtesy of Carlos` Sat Nav. Little did we know that the Italian highways authority had decided to close off the obvious connections to the motorway, sending our female navigator into convulciones , and in the end we had to do it the old fashioned way trusting to blind luck and gut instinct.
We arrived with just over 30 minutes to go before we were due to go out, so no time for a warm up , and in the interests of rapidity, we parked in the members` car park, sandwiched between some very expensive machinery.
This year Golf4Fun was being let loose on the Del Conte course, and at a first glance of the card it showed there would be plenty of water and sand to navigate.
My round began inauspiciously with my drive on the first finding the water and my fourth hooked into the trees. NIL-POINT. Still, I took some encouragement from one of my playing companions saying that I was striking the ball well and to my relief promptly put some points on the card at the second.
I then found my game and continued to score to my handicap over the next few holes, our four ball settling into a rhythm. That is until we reached the ninth.
A rather weak drive had forced me into a lay-up. I then looked on as the competition for the day`s lifejacket award heated up, with two of my playing companions failing to convert over the greenside water to take a drop each. The fourth member of the flight had other worries as they could not find their GPS and in the interests of marital harmony it had to be found!! Golf for the moment took a back seat, and the break in the rhythm was reflected in the scores written down on that hole.
Harmony though was quickly restored (yes, we found it). The back nine beckoned, with a vista of blue sky and snowcapped mountains what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Miracle number 3 was to arrive at the Par 3 sixteenth, as I managed to record a 2 on my card !! It is not often that I manage this feat and just typical there was no birdy pot. More importantly, though, I was not in possession of any birdy water. Luckily, one of our flight could oblige and the sip of some delightful single malt from a hip flask was extremely welcome. ( If there are any immediate relatives or loved ones reading this – strong hint for a birthday present intended )
Our round was over too quickly as usual, and after a cold beer on the clubhouse terrace, we headed back to Pinetina. We should have known that on a Sunday evening there would be throngs of Milanese returning home and it was not long before we were static which resulted in a much longer journey than intended.
After dinner there was many a weary golfer to be seen, some deciding to retire early whilst others watched the drama of the final round of the PGA Players championship at TPC Sawgrass unfolding in the T.V room. As a consequence the planned banana golf championship to be played at the BAR Pinetina was cancelled — maybe next year.
Monday morning, and a number of members were off to play La Robinie, whilst others, including myself, were returning back to reality. It was another glorious day albeit tinged with sadness, and despite the injured Peugeot we had a pleasant return drive although the decision go through the St Gottard tunnel with the roof down was not the best idea .
Thanks, as always, to Nora for a great long weekend and to all the new members that came as well ensuring another memorable Golf4Fun spring break.
As a footnote — Could anyone in possession of, or knowing the location of, an inflatable banana please contact Nora . I believe size is not necessarily an issue. — YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN !!!—
Peter Martin, Hopeful Tiger 2015