In The Edge this week’s edition, I came across an article that lists the world’s 10 toughest golf courses. Top of the list is The Ocean Course. Kiawah Island, South Carolina, US while the Malaysia’s Saujana Golf and Country Club is on the sixth place and then Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand is on the 8th spot.
Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay used to be my favorite golfing place when I was living in New Zealand. I discovered Cape Kidnappers Golf Course during my brief stay in Napier, Hawke’s Bay. I will find time to fly or drive to Napier from Auckland just to play there and meet some old friends. It is indeed a challenging course nested on top of a cliff. Its terrain is its natural obstacles. One wrong swing, your golf ball will end up in the sea or goes missing. I can still remember, holes 3, 12, 13, 15 were the most challenging part.
The place is named Cape Kidnappers because the local Maoris planned to kidnap Captain James Cook’s crew during his stop there when he survey New Zealand in his famous HMS Endeavor. Another local story goes that the place is name Cape Kidnappers because it used be enclaves for pirates.
Besides the Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, Hawke’s Bay is famous for its beautiful seacoast, orchards and wineries. The best red wine from Hawke’s Bay is from the Te Mata Estate. I still have my cravings for its Merlot but I can’t find it in Malaysia or Singapore.
I picked up golf during my student days in Auckland and played religiously for a few times a week with handicap of 19. My first golfing course was the Chamberlain Park Golf Course but later moved to the Remuera Golf Club which is not far away from my house. My golfing buddy is Susan Goodhue who was my course mate and occasionally with my dentist friend, Dr Peter Ng.
When I returned to Malaysia and joined the DAP, there was an occasion when my former boss, Penang DAP Chairman, Chow Kon Yeow saw a photo of me swinging my favorite Iron 7 on a course and he commented “this is a bourgeois game”. I thought about his comment for a while. He is right. DAP claims to be a socialist party and is part of Socialist International. Then, I also don’t recall my New Zealand Labour Party comrades played golf too. Golf is indeed a bourgeois game.
There and then, I decided to say goodbye to golf although Chow never saying thing that I should quit. I never step on the green again although I am still a member at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. Gone were also my handicap and I do not intend to pick it up again in the near future. Just like Helen Clark, Chow is my very much respected leader.