Transformational Experience at New Zealand's Cape Kidnappers golf course
Reason No. 863 why golf is sublime: I’m virtually alone on one of the world’s most thrilling courses, Cape Kidnappers, midway down the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, overlooking sparkling Hawke’s Bay. The 12th hole is a lengthy slightly-downhill par-4 named “Infinity,” and to appreciate why, visit Google Images. My 3-wood approach is just a bit thin, never rising more than 20 or 30 feet off the turf, but looks to be on a good line. With a live version of James Taylor’s “Shower the People” thrumming in my ears through the iPod, I push the trolley briskly towards the green, and the majestic cliffs lurking beyond. When I get close enough to see the ball has bounced and jangled for some 220 yards to about five feet below the hole, I can practically feel the hair rise on my neck, it’s an out-of-body experience in the best way.
In the previous two visits to “Infinity” I had carded sloppy double-bogeys, because one has to steer right to avoid doom over the ravine to the left, and up-and-in from well below the right side of the green is no easy task. The birdie putt slid by on the high side, but equanimity remained – a combination of the tap-in par, the 50-mile ocean view, the bright sunshine, cool breeze, course strategy, setting and solitude.
I’ll remember the moment for the rest of my life, or at least my golf life, or at the very least, the next time I’m caught at the ass end of a six-hour charity scramble at some nondescript resort facility. The reason we love the game is because every so often, for certain moments, golf is absolutely transformational.
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