Today was the second time I went into Montevideo and tried to get the free golf on Monday that is supposed to be available at Punta Carretas Golf Club. It was actually a month ago that I first tried, and that time the course was closed. Having some business at the embassy, this morning (regarding social security), I took my clubs with me and planned to try after my appointment. The club is just a few blocks from the embassy.
I parked a few blocks away, loaded my clubs on my little pull cart, got my shoes on and walked up the street to the club entrance, fully expecting to be turned away. After all, who really expects free golf? At the gate, the guard smiled, wished me good morning and I headed up to the clubhouse. I was directed to the club director and inquired about playing. He said just go ahead. Looking around, there were probably about 5 people I could see playing on the 3-4 holes visible from the clubhouse. There was nobody at tee number 1, so I stepped up, teed up the ball and let her rip. I actually started out quite well, especially since it has been 5 years or so since I have actually swung a club. Just one practice swing, and about 200 yards, slightly to the left, but in the fairway. I kept playing pretty well for myself, about 2 over par on most holes, a couple of 1 overs and one par on a par 5 hole.
On hole #4, I caught up with a young man named Gabriel, and we played out the front 9 together. He was an agronomy engineer, and had quit his job about 6 months ago to take a 4 month trip to Australia, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, with friends. His friends had graduated as architects and it is customary that an architect graduate to take 4-8 months international travel, learning about various styles of building. He went along as the opportunity presented itself, knowing he could always get a job, but wouldn't always have the opportunity to travel to those exotic locations. He was a pretty good golfer and a member of the club.
Now, did I play 18 holes? No, I only played 16 before this weakened old body finally said "Enough!" My Dad, on the other hand, plays 3 or more rounds of golf each and every week; sometimes in temperatures above 110ºF and he is about 80 thousand years old (way over 80). I honestly don't know how he does it. Anybody who thinks that golf is not serious exercise needs to come over here and I will soundly thrash the living daylights out of them (of course in my condition, that will probably result in a mild tap or two). Every bone and every muscle in my body is crying out "Why me?!" I could have stopped at 9 holes.Gabriel left after the first 9. I should have stopped at 9 holes. I wanted to. But did I mention that it was free, and I am cheap? In my younger days (about 15 years ago), I could play 2 rounds of golf in one day (36 holes), walking the course and carrying the bag. Today, 16 was the limit, and I had a pull cart to help with the bag. I almost played 18, since I had to walk back that way, anyway, but reason prevailed and I didn't. I found a nice shady bench and sat for a while in the cool breezes and when I was rested, headed on home.
The rumor of free golf, has now been put to rest. It is real and you don't have to sneak onto the course. They know all about it. So if things are going to smoothly for you- if things are working out quite well- if you find yourself enjoying life in a comfortable setting- why not chuck all that aside, and stop by the golf course on some Monday and have a nice game of golf- for free!