I was determined to play at least one round of golf during my stay in Oahu - that was the easy decision, the harder one was which course to play. There are some famous and exquisite courses on the island and I was keen to avoid three possibilities;
1) Paying even more money for a round than I usually do in Japan
2) Not having to travel more than 2 hours to reach the 1st Tee
3) A course that wouldn't break my record for total lost balls in 18 holes
Fortunately for me a family friend of my wife had contacts* at the Pearl Country Club in Pearl City and the home of the Hawaii Pearl Open. I can't say that I knew too much about the course and there are certainly far more famous courses on Oahu, but what a fantastic course it turned out to be!
A round of golf inevitably involves waking up moments after you have seemingly sleepily closed your eyes, and this was no exception. Thankfully the drive to the course was not too long and any tiredness was immediately dispatched when entering the clubhouse and viewing not only a splendid looking course, but amazing views of the clear blue water of Pearl Harbour just beyond.
Today's round was also going to be ground-breaking due to the wife, in what can only be described as a profound moment of spousal harmony, wanting to come along and watch. This worried me a bit, as well wives generally aren't exactly going to be the best people to turn after pulling a shot into the undergrowth. Nor was she likely to contribute much towards looking for any balls that may just have slightly landed plum in the middle of a mini rain-forest.
My partner for the round turned out to be a Japanese businessman (obviously!) who originated from Hiroshima, but was now located in Tokyo. A very nice man by the name of Shingo Tsuido, who was very taken by my (Japanese) wife accompanying me on a round, and so giving up the opportunity to inflict more damage on the family credit card.
The 1st Hole was a rather cruel long par 5, which I remarkably managed to gain par and in the process impressed my playing partner. He posted a bogey and I tried to inform him that, well this really isn't the norm in my game and disaster would be soon upon me. Although the first 9 holes were very competitive and we both gained a couple more pars each. At the turn my predictions of woe turned out to be a bit off the way. Only two lost balls, sadly on the same hole a rather unadventurous par 4 (just one of those holes where everything goes a wry) and I carded a respectable (for me) 46.
My wife, for safety's sake it turned out better if I controlled the peddle, was starting to get a bit bored by the golf, although some of the views of the harbour were breath-taking and that did occupy her attention for a good while. She informed me that after the 11th hole she was hitting the club house to rest her weary limbs...So for most of the back 9 I was on my tod and it meant I talked more with my playing partner - someone it turned out with an interesting take on world history.
The back 9 was a slow going, not to any poor shot play, although that did sometimes happen, as we were stuck behind two 4-balls of the octogenarian club. They were of the belief that any total under 200 would be a personal highlight as any hole completed in single digits was greated with joy that would normally by seen by a player chipping in for eagle to win The Open!
I just shaded the match by 2 strokes and with a score in the low 90s (OK 93) I was somewhat pleased with my days play. It was a strange round in which my putting after the long put for par on the 1st was totally abysmal, too many 3-puts helped to elevate a round that should have been lower. But the course was worth the play alone, and any opportunity for play there should be snapped up. Although it is maybe best if the wife is encouraged to not tag alone...
(My favourite hole was the par 5 8th, an elevated tee and 347 yards to the flag. In what can only be described as "a bit lucky" I perfectly timed my drive and the ball eventually came to a stop 317 yards down the hole. Of course it then took me 5 more shots to get it 30 yards and into the blastered hole, but the drive alone will keep me happy in my darker moments playing in the future.)
*Many thanks to Kawaji-sensei, a true gentleman who arranged the golf day for me as well as taking the time to pick us up from our hotel and deliver us back again.