After the Böög had given us hope of a fine summer and, naturally, it had hosed it down ever since, four days in Bella Italia were just what the doctor ordered. The prospect of two rounds of golf as well meant spirits were high.
Dawn and I set off Friday morning in the rain and wound our way down to the San Bernadino tunnel. Once across the other side of the Alps we were greeted by blue skies and sunshine and, so, time to put the roof down. Our journey continued with little incident until we were within a stone`s throw of our destination.
Without the aid of a GPS system and with only a *Google Map to aid us , ( *Travellers tip –don’t use these !!! ), it was not long before we became well acquainted with the street layout of Lamazzo , and I was beginning to wonder if I should consult a divorce lawyer . Eventually, by way of the Pinetina tennis club, we found ourselves at the hotel.
We had not joined the advance guard of the Golf4fun contingent who had come down earlier in the day to play Monticello GC, and found ourselves spending the afternoon practicing our short game on the complimentary pitch and putt course.
It was soon Apéro time, and a full complement of spring break golfers started to relax. The wine flowed and after dinner the grappa arrived. Traditionally grappa is served chilled in small glasses and imbibed after the meal as it is believed to help digestion. I have to report that in this instance neither of these applied as my frontal lobe and stomach both attested to the next morning.
Saturday saw perfect golf weather and as the given hour of 10.00 am approached for the first T- time many a competitor could be seen on the driving range or honing their chipping and putting skills. After all, there was a sleeve of golf balls to be won!!!
Owing to a club competition that day we were starting off the 10th, then breaking for lunch and playing the front nine in the afternoon. I will not regale you with the usual hole by hole commentary, however, I would like to say that the back nine at Pinetina is a most enjoyable test of golf, (OK, I am biased having bagged 20 points ). I can also attest to having met the lesser-known grappa mite, as having opted to play in shorts I exposed my legs to every blood sucking insect around and the word obviously soon spread that there was a free drink walking the course.
Lunch was a pleasant affair and I admit I succumbed to one beer, although as the second nine was not played until 14.00 any unbeneficial effects had worn off by the time I boomed my driver down the 1st.
The second nine – or was it the first? (one beer, honest) I did not play as well, and that’s that.
So, Apéro time once more and yes, the restaurant again did not have the right size glasses and my meal required a lot of digestion.
Sunday, and today we were playing a course named Borgogogogono (Bogogno)– or something similar –not in Wales as some pronunciations would suggest but in Lombardy’s finest rolling countryside. This time I found the course with no problems, due mainly to two factors. One, I wasn’t driving and two Sat Nav was available, even if it was in Spanish. Thanks for the Spanish lesson Carlos.
Somehow we managed to find ourselves in the members` car park, which was close to the clubhouse, although the Renault looked a little uncomfortable amongst the Ferraris and Maseratis
The Golf4Fun crew were due to play the Bonora course, which I soon discovered was more akin to Centre Parcs with water on virtually every hole. My Callaway warbirds were obviously suffering in the humid conditions as a fair few flew into the drink to cool off. Judging by the scores most competitors, including yours truly, found the course a lot more challenging than the previous day.
An hour`s drive back to the hotel, a quick shower and change and APERO time. Here I managed to avoid the strong stuff, the two days were catching up with my 52- year- old lymphatic system and I retired early. (Apparently I missed the shenanigans involving bananas and waste-paper bins).
It seems the hotel loved us (and my bar bill!!) and so we will be returning next year. I hope everyone, as well as Jay`s trousers, (a big talking point) can make it as well.
Thank you to everyone for making it such a great event, and perhaps Italy’s grappa producers` Association will consider a sponsorship deal for 2015. Many thanks, also, to Nora for all the organization and putting up with the administrative headaches and to Jay for organizing the Secret Partners competition ( that should peak some interest! ).
FINO AD ALLORA
Peter Martin (Hopeful Tiger 2o14)