Yes - it's back - the Grand and Crazy-Brave Adventure of Golf, the Quixotic social experiment, the hot-prong squadron of angst and malarkey and really quite good times that is ... Par Quest.
In conjunction with the very excellent Instagram and Facebook pages of our parent company MCG Tours we'll tell a tale of each shot from each round of golf in 2018 on a quest to reach parity with the game of golf, at least once.
This is The Plan.
This, promise, will be more interesting than it sounds.
This is the first one:
Hole 9. 452m Par-5.
And so at the very crack of a sparrow's first nocturnal emission we're onto sweet home Long Reef GC with the easterly sun blazing down the 9th hole, our first of the day. A shortish par-5, index 18, you could whack two hybrids and a wedge and hit this baby all day. Of course first shot of the New Year it calls for Driver, which we smack into a lateral hazard right. Hybrid out is thin and thuds into the front, but bounds out, lying 190m from front pin. Hybrid again, boom, is a thing of great beauty and sticks pin-high 15 feet. Putt down the hill is nothin but net, baby, and that's a first up birdie to see in the New Year. You beauta.
Hole 10. 218m Par-3.
Australia's hardest par-3: uphill and into a prevailing nor-easter, with that wind howling a circus Strongman couldn't hit this green with a sledge-hammer standing the middle of it. Driver? It is Driver, which is pure and verily lasered, straight left to the very back of the 11th tee, a long way away. Ha. Tidy wedge finds the surface coming back. Two putts, you'll take 4-and-2 there missing the green more than Forrest Gump missed Bubba, you betcha.
Hole 11. 345m Par-4.
Boom, crash, opera, and Driver is high and right and sailing away to parts unknown, but very likely behind the hole's lone tree (below), well-positioned for just such errancy. No view of hole, take 7-iron and hit just about shot of the year (ha), the ball slicing low and fine, running down the hill and settling to 15 feet, a thing of great even preternatural beauty. Two putts, we take 4-2, and move on like Steve Waugh a-walkin.
Hole 12. 345m Par-4.
Boom! Driver is smashed, somewhere, I think okay, can't see because the mighty sun is barely over the yardarm, whatever that is, and we could be dead in the long grass left. But, no we've cleared the bad things and have 8-iron in to front pin. Said stick fades a bit but grips the fringe. First putt doesn't break as much as thought. Second one salutes like the two dudes on the dais, below, Mexico, 1968. Ballsy dudes. They were hammered like Kaepernick. The Aussie boy, too.
Hole 13. 126m Par-3.
Dinky little three-banger, but tricky enough, a postage stamp green protected by four pots, OB and the many and various winds of Long Reef. It's still today though and 8-iron stays ram-rod straight and misses left because it did not fade like the last 8-iron did, it's a Thing. Chip on is little thin. Two putts and a soft bogey-4.
Hole 14. 345m Par-4
Boom! Magnificent. Driver is smoked, long and large, and downtown duty free, baby. Downtown duty free. Good-sized drive. Six-iron to back flag is almost Sherman Tanked and ends up way right and stoopid. Tidy wedge sticks to 10-feet. Putt whacks into the back of the rim with Authoritah. Par-4. Three points. You beauta.
Hole 15. 452m Par-5.
Driver is faded, a tad, but cool and the gang. Three-wood is faded, but all good. Wedge from 80m to the single-tiered silly green sticks to 20 feet. Downhill slider just slides by. Par-5, you'll take it this green, it's slicker than Fonzie on ice.
Hole 16. 400m Par-4.
Driver is sent long and right, onto the 15th fairway, where many go, the fairway is like a vortex for balls from across the land. It's death valley, like a sniper's ... what do they call them, when you're in cross-fire. Death something. Then: a beautiful hybrid settles on the fringe, a beautiful wedge lips out hard, and a beautiful putt records a beautiful par and three stableford points, you beauta.
Hole 17. 400m Par-4.
Another big drive of truth and justice sails into the ether and ends up on the 6th fairway, it's a Thing at linksy Longie, you can smack it about all over the shop and attack greens from all the angles of an isosceles triangle. Something. Hybrid? Fat and short. Wedge? Thin and long. Putt? Ten footer slides by lowside.
Hole 18. 354m Par-4
BOOM! Oh my but I will stand and admire this drive for many a moon, it's long and guts and finishes 100m out, for absolute puppy spanking, accept no substitute. Mighty fine drive. Wedge in hits the fringe left and sucks back to the hole. Downhill 15-footer holds line and slides by. Par-4, three points. Ten holes, 22 points, you'll take 'em.
Hole 1. 460m Par-5.
Take the hybrid because it's the Sensible Percentage Play and hook it hazard left. Third shot whacks into a tree, goes no place. Three-wood next is a massive thing of great beauty. 70m wedge has to clear a mighty eucalyptus, or stringybark, or something, but does, stiffing 12 feet. Downhill putt for the solitary stableford point swings in and salutes. Momentum maintained. And onwards we roll on golf's particular rollercoaster of the mind.
Hole 2. 151m Par 3.
Four-iron is the club to a back pin but it's fat and short, the Danny Devito of 4-irons you could say and I will. (Have a go at him, below. Forgot he was in Cuckoo's Nest). Wedge! From the front is ... well, it's the greatest wedge thus far of 2018, is what it is, and nearly goes in. Super wedge. Tap-in par. Onwards we roll.
Hole 3. 275m Par 4.
Hook! Captain Hook! Sweet and Very Holy Jebus but it's hard and hooky, and high and sailing over some Death Jungle, and we can't see it and can only guess at its location. Look in jungle, bushes, bunkers, other places, and think it's lost. Then hark! It's 50m out, middle of the fairway on this dinky dog-leg that causes more problems than it probably should. Approach is tricky because half-wedges are. Two uphill putts follow.
Hole 4. 375m Par 4.
Catch Driver in the heel and send scurrying one-handed low-whacker into the ether. Hybrid from downtown short front. Wedge on is fine. Six foot downhiller salutes. One way to make a par and three stableford points, you best believe it.
Hole 5. 355m Par-4.
Hybrid is belted! Emasculated. It's long and large and into a hazard right. Third shot fat and stupid, like ... Trump! the fuckwit! and ends up bunker right. Tasty-floppy 60-degree wedge extracts to 30 feet under the hole. Sole long bomb putt of the day salutes for a bogey-5 and two points, you'll take em in those circumstances, every mother-lovin day.
Hole 6. 289m par-4.
Hybrid, whacked again, this one drawing, Moe Norman could tell you why but he died 2004, and we're nearly lost in some death weed left. Death Weed - the worst kind. Take a drop, lob a wedge, roll a putt, do it again.
Hole 7. 178m Par 3.
Hook! Another massive hook!, this time it soars over many men as our 4-prong golf squad all yells Fore! like the foghorn of the Hindenburg, something, and end up hazard left. Take a whack at wedge, but hands are hard and mind is thinking points not wedge shot, and into a bank bunker. Nice extraction to six feet. But can't make the downhiller. Double-bogey and a single point, not a Disaster.
Hole 8. 294m Par 4.
Boom - Hybrid has been a loyal and noble steed today, and we're 90m out from a back pin. Gap wedge is pure and good, lands six feet under the hole and sucks back to 20. Tour Sauce: over-rated. Putt rests on lip left. And there we leave it. Because we must.