Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Nightmare at Northlands

On Friday the 13th, I had an interesting experience on the golf course at the Northlands Golf and Country Club in North Vancouver with some of my friends. Normally I walk the course, but my buddies wanted to cart it so I caved in. Buddy goes into the Clubhouse to get the keys, where he is told by the kid inside that we have to drive on the cart path. The reason that you can't drive on the course is because the mud under the grass is too wet and weak for tires to get any traction. It would be like driving on a "slip and slide". So my friend forgets to tell me that we have to stay on the cart path, I hit a great tee shot 200 yards, hopped in my cart and took off after my ball. Above is the picture that I took moments before my departure. The hill in front of me is at about a 30 degree down slope and carries for about 50 yards.

From the moment when all 4 tires were on grass, I start spinning out of control like Darth Vader's Tie Fighter after the Death Star blows up. I quickly realize that I'm screwed if the cart starts to roll, so I jumped out, stuck the landing and hit the ground running right beside the cart. Within about 1.5 seconds of my feet touching down, I realize two things: 1) I am now running down a "slip and slide" and have no more control of my trajectory than the cart does, and that my risk of harm is now higher because I'm waltzing with a golf cart down a "slip and slide" and I could end up on the mud and have the out of control vehicle run me over. 2) My golf clubs are attached to the cart and if the cart goes down, my clubs could be mortally wounded. This is not an option. I would rather tear an ACL than lose a golf club. I have a strict policy on the golf course of "no club left behind".

I need to get back into the golf cart to ensure that the weight is properly distributed such that the cart does not tip over. At this point, I feel like I'm channelling Indiana Jones, or as Ricky might say, Indianapolis Jones. In a couple quick steps I am back in the cart leaning my weight against the slide. Roll to a stop, I am able to regain control and drive to the cart path. Needless to say, I did not play the next few holes well. My friend had assumed that I knew about the safety hazard and cart rules because I had played the course before, though when I go solo I walk the course.

I did write some freelance poetry to describe my round. My friends and I play friendly match play and stroke play. We don't wager money like some people do, we play for pride and love of the game. Northlands is a beautiful course, but I have written about that before.

I was not informed of the wrath,
of driving off of the cart path.
My eyes they did open wide,
when I rode that slip and slide!

By hole number two my game it is collapsing,
as near death experiences are not relaxing!
Three holes played, I'm down by five,
I'm fighting just to stay alive!

By hole five I am down by seven,
from this Hell, I know no heaven.
Out of the darkness, I search for light,
I must not give in, but stay and fight!

Then I began slaying balls like a lion,
when I first reached for my four iron!
Though it does not feel as great,
as when I'm reaching for my eight!

My fans did cheer from afar,
when on hole 8, I sank my par!
I must reach into my bag of tricks,
with nine holes played, I'm down by six.

What once was dark is bright again,
I gained back 4 strokes on hole ten.
The next few holes are back and forth,
but I won't quit in these lands of North.

Three strokes down with three to play,
good fortune needs to come my way!
My feet are soaked right through the soles,
but I still sank par on the next two holes!

By the last green victory is certain,
I take my bow before the curtain.
I don't feel poor, I feel divine,
We count the score, I won by nine...


  1. And yes, if you did the math I gained 12 strokes on the last 3 holes. When I pulled to within 3 while making great shots, my nearest competitor completely melted down. He completely lost his focus, the sun was setting, even Chernobyl thought he was bad. I hit at least 8 magnificent shots in the last 3 holes, which included a par on a par 5 (Buddy shot 11 on that hole).

  2. And I think that I might have seen Tory MP Andrew Saxton in the parking lot, heading up to the clubhouse restaurant. This unidentified individual may or may not have heard my loud, enthusiastic "I think Andrew Saxton is here!"

    At the very least, there was someone driving an Andrew Saxton SUV with his name and picture painted all over it.

  3. Clap, clap, clap!!!

    A good read.

  4. Spell golf backwards you get

    FLOG . . . that describes my game

  5. Is this why golf is supposed to become an Olympic sport?