Return of the Kiwis

Almost a year ago I learned that two bold (or crazy) New Zealand lawyer/golfers in their mid-twenties had decided to bag the law biz and travel the world.  The part that piqued my interest was that their travels would include a round of golf per day for a full 365 days, constantly moving, regardless of weather, inconvenience or even time of day.  Their location would change, they wouldn’t duplicate a golf venue, they would book their own tee times, arrange for lodging and even forage for their own food.  They would write about their experiences, post blogs to their website and take photos and video – posting those as well to their website along the way.  It would be a perfect time to do something “mad” like this – before they become, in their own words, “dull, married and mediocre.”

The logistics of the goal were breathtaking, since there was no corporate support for their travel, there wasn’t a lot of money and they weren’t independently wealthy.  They’d considered the corporate route and even had serious offers from golf magazines and television (including the Golf Channel) to chronicle their odyssey, but that wasn’t the concept or even the point.  The concept was pure golf (their blog was posted on www.puregolf2010.com), playing a different 18 holes each day and documenting the experience by themselves for themselves.  The point was that they were young, energetic, bored by the daily humdrum and ready for adventure.  As a side benefit, money raised during their travels would  benefit The First Tee of New Zealand, which teaches kids golf lessons (like etiquette) as well as how to play the game. These were just two guys – mates if you will — who would experience some of the world’s absolutely finest golf venues and meet a wide range of similarly golf-centric new best friends.

They completed their journey on December 31st, circling back to New Zealand after playing the likes of Spyglass (Day 139), Riviera (Day143 as guest of Robbie Krieger, guitarist with The Doors), Bay Hill (Day 152), the Ocean Course at Kiawah (Day 161), Shinnecock Hills (Day 188), Royal Dornock (Day 221), Turnberry (Day 235 or so), St. Andrews (of course), a unique night round under the lights in Dubai and then back around toward Australia and New Zealand.  Along the way they also played with British Open champion Bob Charles and oh, yes, they had a remarkable two days on Hilton Head Island, which, despite an automobile breakdown and a driving rainstorm, included 18 holes on 18 of Hilton Head Island’s best courses in a single day.  Again, remarkable.

So, a couple weeks ago, they were back, a bit older, plenty wiser, but still passionate about the game of golf.  Jamie and Michael were drawn by friends who will last lifelong to play Secession Golf Club on their way to Augusta to take in the Masters, and hoist a pint or two with two locals.  Their lives had been changed permanently by their year – neither will return to lawyering, at least for now – and Michael would like to parlay his blog skills into a golf writing career.  Neither have been bowed by the rigors of 365 18-hole days, and neither have lost their love of socializing with wit and grace.  They are amazing ambassadors for the game and speak highly of Hilton Head Island wherever they go – their 18-on-18 experience was one of the year’s true highlights and they speak of it in high spirits.

Their website remains up and contains 430 entries that they will treasure forever, they are pleased to share and are a treat to read or watch.  It’s such a pleasure to meet millennials with such respect for and love of golf.  The game’s future is in good hands.