It’s not often you get the chance to play golf in Chamonix around Christmas. Normally the course is already under a few feet of snow and sprinkled with its first layer of ‘dog business.’
This season, however, it’s prime golf time. The course had shut in early November after a super-dump of snow but since there had been nothing but sunshine for the last two months, the course was in near perfect condition for a late-season competition. While the skiers and snowboarders were crying into their unhappy-hour beers, the golfers were rubbing their hands together deviously, waiting until the strike of noon when the frost would melt and they could play a few holes of this ridiculous game, made all the more ridiculous-looking when you’re dressed head to toe in ski gear.
It was the day after we returned from Maui. The airline had lost our golf bag with our half sets we took on vacation so we had our other-half sets, but no drivers or putters. We’d have to borrow them from team-member Steve. We’d just traveled for over 24 hours with about 4 hours of sleep, and the 12-hour time difference was starting to take its toll. But turning down an invitation to play a 9-hole golf Christmas Competition on the 23rd of December was not an option so we grabbed our few clubs and went.
We arrived at the Pro Shop and were warmly welcomed with mugs of vin chaud (hot mulled wine), comments about how brown our faces were and a “screw you and your Hawaiian Instagram feed, it’s been freezing here!” – one of my favorite ‘welcome back’ greetings ever. Two generous mugs of wine later and it was time to head onto the -slowly- defrosting course.
Thankfully this match was a 4-Ball Scramble, so we had wiggle room for the inevitable bad shot – which was good because Phil and I were jet-lagged to hell, Jonas was on a sugar-high from his first mulled wine in three months and our 4th man Steve had a broken back. Hell of a dream team.
We ended up taking quite a few of my drives as I was off forward tees and happened to be driving ‘least shittily’, but that was about all I was good for. My approach shots were way off which was disappointing considering how much golf I’d been playing but I blamed the winter greens and frozen ground (so frozen you couldn’t get a tee in). Drives were bouncy and approach shots odd – I ended up having to hit my chips in half as far as I normally would and roll it up lest they bounce 40 meters past the hole.
Putting on a rough frozen surface was pretty much entirely up to luck, and yet we still managed to sink a few zingers. Don’t be too impressed though, cause even though we had four tries at each shot we still ended up with a bogie on the 16th. How the hell does that happen. We redeemed ourselves on the hole after with an eagle, but still, a bogie…
In the end we shot -7 over 9 holes. Not too shabby. A few other groups shot the same but turns out none of us won as it was a net (not gross) prize. But we didn’t really care who won because before we knew it we were on our second bottle of wine and our third round of appetizers at the celebratory meal afterwards.
What a brilliant welcome back to Chamonix.