This last weekend Greg and I golfed for the first time since our move to China. Greg flew over to meet me for the weekend after a week of meetings in Sanya, on the island of Hainan.
Hainan Island is located in the South China Sea and is the most southern province of China. It is located near Vietnam. I now know this as I Googled a map after looking up from reading my book poolside, and noticed the Chinese Navy ship patrolling the coast. Look closely in the picture and you can see the outline on the horizon.
I’m very aware of the current dispute China and Vietnam are experiencing over oil wells in the South China Sea but didn’t realize we were so close to it all. Look it up if you’re curious. I don’t want to use my blog as a way to share information on any political unrest.
Hainan has been referred to as the Hawaii of China. I agree. It’s really beautiful and very tropical. It’s more humid than Hawaii, it feels more like Louisiana humid but again, beautiful.
We golfed at Sun Valley Golf Resort. A lot of the courses are named after western courses, Sun Valley, Mission Hills, even Sun River Golf Course. All very beautiful and all very empty. I guess it’s officially the off season as it’s too hot for most people to play.
Our golf experience was like nothing I had ever experienced. Oh sure, the bad golf I’ve experienced plenty of times. I’ve played very bad golf on the best of courses. But this time was different. This time we played with a caddie. Not a caddie who carries your clubs, we had a cart. A caddie, who is basically your personal butler on the course. They ride along on the back of the cart with the clubs. They follow you to the tee box, place your ball and hand you your driver. A little nerve wracking. I get nervous teeing off in front of others and so to add 3 additional people, there were 3 of us golfing and we each had our own caddie, is almost a like having a full gallery at every hole.
Did I mention the caddies don’t speak english? Sure, they’ve been given “scripts” to provide help at each hole. Scripts rehearsed in english. At almost every hole as they line up the tee shot they would state “bunker, bunker, middle.” We took that to mean, there is a bunker on the right, bunker on the left, you might want to hit in the middle.
Greg chose to listen to the instructions and hit right down the middle. I took it to mean, why not hit one of the bunkers and completely miss the middle. My drives got so bad that my caddie walked the course with a rake.
On the green, they line the ball up perfectly and demonstrated where and at what angle you should putt. The “script” for the green was either “uphill” or ” downhill.” Again, not that helpful as they were stating the obvious.
Did I mention it was hot? We drank 3 large Gatorades and 2 bottled waters on the course and did not need to stop for a break at the turn. I did, but only to change out of my white golf shirt as it was completely soaked from the humidity.
As we played along, I loosened up a bit and was getting pretty comfortable with having the caddies around. When Greg would tee off, they started to cheer and clap. They would follow his shot in the air to see where it would land and proclaim “No Problem. No Problem.”
When I would tee off they would collectively groan. They did cheer once when I managed to just miss the sand trap by a few inches. When I would hit into the woods, we would drive the cart near the area and the caddie would jump off and pretend to be looking. Once I saw the “Caution Snake” sign I waved her back to the cart and started taking balls from Greg’s bag.
I think I had 1 or 2 good holes out of 18. I had fun, sweated off a couple pounds and got a sunburn.
I ended up really liking my caddie. She was sweet and would laugh with me after each shot. I think they all got used to my golf game – commenting in Chinese and then laughing together. Wait. You don’t think they were making fun of me do you?
Caddies. I think maybe we should all have one in our daily lives. Someone to give advice, set you up for the perfect shot, warn you against hazards, laugh with you to keep it real and cheer for you when you’ve done well.