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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Abu Dhabi Golf Championship 2011

I went to the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship the other day. The weather was appropriate as the cool temperatures, overcast skies and occasional drizzle were reminiscent of the sport's birthplace in Scotland. The climate was very unusual for Abu Dhabi as for four days in a row it was cloudy, cool and rainy. In all my time here I don't recall a series of days it was this way.

The Falcon is the State Bird of the UAE,,,,Hence the Design of the Clubhouse

I have a love/hate relationship with golf. I used to play at least twice a week back in the day. While I enjoyed being in the groomed beauty of the links, I got frustrated in the difficulty of the sport. One millimeter off on a swing and the ball careenes into the woods. There is nothing worse to a golfer's ears than to hear his ball bouncing off of tree trunks that are out of bounds of the fairway. It is almost impossible to find the ball when this happens and a snakebite is risked looking for it anyway. Best to take the penalty.

Go Left...Left...Left...Dammit!

Golf is unique as your competitor is yourself. You don't actually play against your partner, you try to best your last score despite who you are playing with. Of course score is kept, but golf has handicaps which means the less skilled are spotted strokes so in theory everything is supposed to be equal. Unlike football, cricket or baseball, there is no direct competition between you and your partner. It is you against the course.

An Unconventional Stance

I actually have not played in several years as I found I could get angry and frustrated without gripping a 5 iron and paying a green's fee. I have been known to throw a club or two after a bad shot and I discovered that despite the bucolic setting, other golfers tend toward the rude. They just take themselves too seriously.

This really can't be too comfortable, have the caddy hold the club

Some of the aspects of golf I enjoyed is that like bowling, one can play while smoking cigars and drinking beers. Unlike bowling though, you are outside and the whole world is your urinal. Yes, golfers pee in the woods but the cultured ones take their glove off first.

Then there are the golf carts. I have never seen vehicles so abused as these were when out of sight of the clubhouse or a course marshal. I have seen these in full tilt four wheel drifts on fairways, run high speed through creeks, driven up tree trunks and more. The original off-road vehicle. Besides, driving under the influence is overlooked on most golf courses.

Golf Cart...Abu Dhabi Style

So I quit playing. Because of this I am saving money and my blood pressure is way down. This doesn't mean I don't like golf, it is a game of finesse played in beautiful venues. If I had my choice, Ii would just take a nice walk along the fairways. There is nothing more peaceful than a golf course at sunset.

The Leaderboard

That being said, the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship pulled off another winner. I enjoyed being there as the location and people were great! A class act and a great spectator experience. There were activities there for all. They put on a good show and I recommend everyone attend future events. I have to admire the guys who play professionally, it is a tough way to make a living.


Chuck said...

I won't go so far as to say I'm rooting for Tiger Woods to lose these days, but I will say that I find it kind of amusing when he's struggling. I've never played golf myself, although it looks like a decent way to pass the time. I think it would be hell on my back though.

Neil Roberts said...

That Press Pass is sure coming in handy :-)

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