On Sunday morning Anthony Mills (@thelakessuper), superintendent of The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney, hosted me and my friend Ian and joined us for a round at his wonderful facility. Anthony and I immediately connected and we start talking about what it’s like to manage a club that has 55-60K annual rounds as The Lakes does. When I told him that we average 1,100/year at Kanawha, he scoffs, chuckles, and is generally mystified.
Our round was an avenue for a 4-hour dialogue between two professional turf managers. Anthony manages an enormous property and his team’s efforts to remove vast swaths of overgrown Tea Tree are perfectly executed!
A post-round schooner and it’s off to my apartment for a well deserved bit of shuteye. One thing weighed heavy on my mind that night... Monday morning’s destination: NSW Golf Club, in the Top 50 in the world.
3:25 a.m.: Excitement like I can only equate to Xmas mornings growing up. I pull up the days weather... 25 mph sustained winds with gusts to 35mph. Here we go! NSW was going to show it’s teeth today!
Mark Parker showed me around before our round treated me like royalty. Hell, Sergio Garcia was on site for a Credit Suisse appearance and Mark was rarely out of sight as he oversaw his crew and made sure we had everything we needed. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced a more fun and challenging golf experience in my entire 35 years of playing golf. The hour or so Mark shared with me before our round and the discussions we had in the clubhouse are tattooed on my soul.
Last day of golf in Sydney has us playing Royal Sydney GC. Wow! What an iconic facility! Adam Marchant (@adsmarch) welcomed me upon my arrival and we set out in his cart to see what to expect. Adam shared that in a few months Gil Hanse and Royal Sydney would embark on a journey to completely redesign and rejuvenate their golf course. I can’t wait to see how the project turns out!
A lovely steak dinner, a bottle of Barossa Valley Shiraz, and some stories with my host Ian preceded a much-deserved slumber as I mentally transitioned into my volunteer role in Melbourne and the memories that will certainly be made with some fellow adventurers from the US. I finally get to meet my roommate Peter Braun. Our excitement is contagious! Tomorrow morning we meet at the Royal Melbourne GC maintenance facility and get to meet Richard Forsyth and his staff. It’s all happening so fast! I need to pause and take it all in.
I’ve been on the ground in Australia for 75 hours, and man, if these past three days are any indication of what lies ahead... Bring. It. On!