Alright folks… settle down! let me explain myself. This area of the world isn’t quite in touch with technology yet. In order to get online, I am now sitting in the clubhouse at Kauri Cliffs using the club’s broadband line.
Yes, I could have tried harder to post something earlier and TRULY feel bad for letting y’all down. Well, not really. No more excuses. Here we go.
First, let me say I miss my wife and kids tremendously. (that was for extra credit)
As I’m walking between terminals at LAX, I hear Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip, utter during a concert playing in my ears…”This one is for the Muttenbirds. The Muttenbirds of New Zealand.” I then realizes this trip is my density… or destiny.
Amazingly, I haven’t crashed the car, yet. It’s a lovely smoke grey Mazda 6. Just like the one driven by Mr. Bureau Chief, other than the fact that the steering wheel is on the right side. I’m still getting used to that fact. Cant tell you how many times I turn the wipers on when I signal to make a turn. (The turn signal is on the right side, idiot!)
After I locate the County Hotel
in downtown Napier and take a much needed shower, I make a call to Cape Kidnappers to meet up with the club’s head pro, Jeremy Carlsen for an afternoon round of golf. The 27-year-old Oxford, England native is a charming fellow who got the job through his friendship with Julian at National Golf Links in the Hamptons. I’m later told that his first six months on the job were hard. His fiance, unhappy with living in NZ, dumped him. “He’s better off without her,” Julian will later tell me in a not-so-sympathetic tone.
Later that night, while having a couple Tui beers at the County, John Crawford, the five-time New Zealand photog of the year strolls up in a pair of lime green clogs, dark sunglasses, a t-shirt and weathered jeans.
The scars on the side of his forehead from the recent removal of a couple melanomas are clearly visible. Crazy looking dude.
Our first day together included 6:15 wake up call and a 30-minute trip back to the course for some pictures as the sun rises. The Cape is where the sun rose first in the world for the new millennium on Jan. 1, 2000.
Me, John and Jeremy are the only ones at the course at this time. Standing on the edge of 500-foot cliffs, staring out at the South Pacific as the sun rises is not a sight that too many people get to see. At this moment I truly feel like king Boondoggle.
After a night at the Wind Sock, where John and I listen to perhaps the greatest drummer we’ve ever seen, I make my way up to Auckland. From there, I drive 4 hours up the coast to Kauri Cliffs. An Amazing drive!
Kauri Cliffs is about 30 minutes north of Kerikeri, a sleepy town on the northern tip of the North Island.
That night, about 15 guests, including myself, have a barbecue on one of three beaches on the property with Julian and Josie Robertson… this is not a typical barbecue… we have Wahoo, Tuna, Lamb, Steak, Shrimp… and much more. I have now achieved emperor Boondoggle status.
It’s during this dinner that I find out that Julian’s sister, Wyndham, once dated Mike Bloomberg when he worked at Salomon Brothers. A little known fact.
The next day – today – I play golf with Julian, Josie and head pro Jason McCarty, a former pro on the Australasian and Japanese Tours. Julian drops off after nine holes to go take a nap, but not before draining a 15-footer for par on his final hole after I somehow managed to roll in a crazy 35-footer for par. He pumps his fist, stares at me, and says “take that!”
I continue on with Josie and Jason and manage to throw together a tidy 42 on the final nine holes (the front nine) for a total of 91. Yes, that means I shot a woeful 49 on the front, not that anybody cares!
That’s all for now mates! I will try to post again tomorrow to avoid the wrath of the B Pod!