It’s a trait of humanity to take the things to which we’re accustomed for granted.
As simple as it sounds, often it takes an outsider’s eye to snap you back to perspective. And irrespective of the topic, when it comes from experts, it carries even greater clout.
Case in point: I was taking advantage of the innovative “no ropes” policy at the Vic Open this year and wandering along listening to some world-class pros who were legitimately gobsmacked by their surrounds at the pristine Thirteenth Beach Golf Links.
They’d played the Creek Course the day before in practice and were obviously impressed, but now they were entranced by the Beach Course. Awaiting their tee shots on what club players know as the par-three seventh, they were almost in dreamworld listening to the waves pounding ashore just metres over the dunes to their left.
In the distance ahead, a hang-glider and a couple of colourful paragliders playfully fell and rose on the wind shears created on the shores of rugged Bass Strait.
Drawn to comment, the pros were in awe: “How good is this place?” They were spot on.
Surrounded by farmland and a stunning beach, these globetrotters were playing on not one but two courses the envy of the golfing world, both in terms of condition and layout.
They didn’t take it for granted – and it opened my eyes to just how blasé we can be with such magical experiences just part of our regular golfing lives.
Months earlier, I’d had my own similar experience, not much more than a kilometre away, but on an entirely different course in this little golfing nirvana.
I’d been having a hit one breezy but crystal clear morning at the stunning Barwon Heads Golf Club and had the odd experience of simultaneous fortune and misfortune to be lining up a shot on the fifth fairway. It was bad luck because I had been attempting to play the third hole at the time, but it gave me that blissfully lucky moment to consider my surrounds.
I was still able, theoretically at least, to reach my target green in regulation with a shot across the natural bunkering splitting the holes and no trees other than those on the course boundary about 200m to my left. Was I still on the Bellarine? Or had I been mystically transported to the famous coastal links of Scotland? Without the almost obligatory couple of jackets our northern cousins regularly wear to combat their conditions, I quickly snapped back to reality, but again, with a far greater appreciation of my very special back yard.
On the edge of one of the world’s most remarkable coastlines, to have the opportunity to walk around such immaculately presented land in the name of golf, you sometimes have to pinch yourself to think we’re lucky enough to call this home.