Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hillbilly Hackers

This weekend, I made my debut appearance at a golf tournament commonly known as the Hillbilly Hackers.

It's basically a group of about 30 teams (each comprising 4 members) of varying levels of competence trying to hit a ball straight while consuming increasing amounts of alcohol.

To be honest, I wasn't that bothered about taking part, I've only ever played one round of golf, last November on my stag weekend but my Dad plays every year and it would be a good chance to spend some time with him. I could never claim to be a natural golfer. I don't have a handicap, I'm just not very good so it was good that we were playing as a team. All four members of the team take a shot, then you choose the best shot and all four play from there.

Now, for the last two days, Houston has been under heavy rainfall so when I was picked up at 6.30am I was half expecting it to be a wasted journey. Tee time was 8am, right about when the thunder storms were due to hit.

Once we arrived at the course, we found our assigned golf carts with everyone else and stood chatting for a few minutes. All of a sudden, we heard a loud bang. The organiser of the day, dressed in his best hillbilly uniform of ripped dungarees and not a lot else and brought out his shotgun to get everyone's attention.

Once the formalities were done with, every set off to play their first hole. Each team was assigned a hole to start on and from their would play the full 18 holes. This was a relief to me as I had visions of making a fool of myself on the first tee watched by 60-70 people!

By this time, the rain had started but wasn't too heavy. After a couple of shots we put on jackets to fend off some of the rain and carried on. A kind young lady appeared with a cooler of beer on the back of her cart and the festivities truly began.

After the 6th hole, the rain started getting heavier and there was a lot more water on the course than would normally be playable but everyone carried on regardless. My team had started on the tenth hole so our ninth hole was the 18th which we found to be almost completely under water. On some shots it was hard to get a good grip on the club as you were so wet.

The rain was pretty relentless now and it wasn't quite as much fun as a few holes back when the rain was much lighter. Luckily, the 18th green is right by the covered area where the BBQ was due to be held and we saw a number of teams had decided to call it a day and take advantage of the coolers filled with cold beer.

This was a good chance to catch up with a few friends who were on other teams and the food was pretty good. I didn't realise how hungry I was until I took the first mouthful and it was just what the doctor ordered.

There were prizes for the winning teams, and when they went up to collect it, one of them announced they 'had a good pencil', which shows that it's not necessarily the best team who wins, but more the most creative score keepers!

Around the course there were chances to win big with a hole in one on the Par 3's, as well as prizes for the shot closest to the pin and the longest drive. Ours was 45 minutes from my house but someone must've come further. Maybe that was why the course was way out in the sticks!

Just kidding, of course the longest drive is for the shot that lands furthest from the tee, as long as it lands on the fairway. The prizes for a hole in one included a Dell computer system, Bose speaker system, and $10,000 cash.

The organiser did a great job and I really enjoyed myself. As usual, it's more the unknown that I tend to dread and usually end up having a better time than I expect. It was fun being out in the rain, before it got too heavy anyway.

I will definitely play again if asked, but I will be sure to get some proper golf shoes next time.

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