Above – the author with his eclectic comrades in Tasmania last spring.
REGRETTED it the instant it happened.
It was day five of the Roaring 40s Golf Tour and after drinking a skinful of James Boag’s Draught at the Melbourne Cup and a couple more at the Atrium Bar at Crown Casino, our merry band of eight was trying to determine what culinary treat would serve us best.
Truth be told, our group was down to seven, as one had already stormed off into the night and those remaining decided that burgers were the best option. Until we got to the burger bar, of course, where half the group decided they now wanted something different.
Call it the stress of co-ordinating a tour consisting of extraordinary golf at Barnbougle Dunes, Cape Wickham, Ocean Dunes and a day at the ‘race that stops the nation’, but I cracked.
I shouldn’t have, and given the week we were having and the company I was in, I knew it straight away. But that’s the thing about cracking anything; unless you are making an omelette it’s almost always something you wish you could have avoided.
I’ve seen it on other tours and it’s more often than not the host who has a momentary lapse, cracks it at those who apparently are finding great mirth in their torment and utters the phrase, “That’s it, you can bloody well organise it yourselves next year.”
After my mini-outburst we relocated upstairs, everyone ordered burgers and the boys bought me an espresso martini and a Long Island iced tea as either a way of apologising or to in fact highlight the ridiculousness of my behaviour.
When I set about planning the Roaring 40s Golf Tour in January 2016 as a way of commemorating turning the big 4-0, the criteria for selection was a love of golf and a temperament that would contribute to the lowest number of emotional outpourings as possible.
The dynamic of a touring party is everything. In putting together a successful golf trip, and given the good folk at Air Adventure Golf Tours were doing the majority of the heavy lifting, my two basic roles were that of selection committee and treasurer. The money was managed to the point where we were all paid up with a little left over, but getting right the dynamic of eight very different personalities was my most critical assignment.
We had two alpha males in our group, one of whom also doubled as the perennially disorganised tourist, including arriving in Melbourne with golf clubs wrapped in a beach towel and gaffer tape and with the belief that he had, in fact, packed only one golf shoe. (He later found the other.)
We had the competitive non-drinker, who with previous associations with only two of the group had no qualms watching the rest of us drink more than we should. He would head to bed nice and early, wake up toxin-free and then spend 45 minutes on the putting green as the rest of us wrestled with what poached eggs might do to our constitution before later taking our money.
There was the tourist who is as deliberate with his two-footers as he is with the creases in his pants, and who will happily sit down and settle in for a mug of flat white as the rest of his group makes their way to the first tee.
We had the interested observer who took great delight in dissecting the various relationship dichotomies at play, the compulsory low-maintenance tourist who is happy to be there – wherever ‘there’ is – and he of light relief who can entice a smirk at worst of any member of the group at almost any time of the trip. And we all got on swimmingly.
Yes, there was some vigorous tossing of clubs, a couple of disputed rulings, some pointed sledging and a spilled glass of water at dinner that threatened to result in fisticuffs, but nothing that threatened to cause a long-lasting rift. Even my little outburst was short-lived.
We ate, we drank, we ridiculed and by the time we walked off the dancefloor at Groove all was forgiven. All there is to do now is sit back and wait to see who is going to put their hand up for next year’s extravaganza … and whether I’ll be invited.