Saturday, August 4, 2018

Into Thin Air

In the past two weeks, I have played golf in the hottest temperature I have ever played in (110F in Texas) and at the highest altitude I have ever played at (2,500 metres, or more than 8,000 feet -- 1 1/2 miles up).

If I was ever going to have a heart attack, one of those would most likely have been the day (other than shoveling snow last winter in Geneva). 


I don't know what possessed someone to route a golf course at the top of a mountain in the French Alps … and down the sides. (Golf de Flaine - https://www.flaine.com/fr/ete/activites/golf-en-montagne/golf-en-montagne.htm

This is part of the road to Flaine
The 360-degree scenery was absolutely spectacular -- it's the first time I have ever used snow on distant mountains as an aiming point for a shot. But walking 18 holes, even relatively short holes, was an exercise in endurance. On some holes, I found myself stopping part way up the steep slope to hydrate and catch my breath. And it seemed as if every hole was uphill -- even the par 3s where the tee and green were about the same level required a hike down a hill then back up to the elevated green. My clubs often came in handy as walking sticks.

These were the "steps" up to the 7th tee box
The bottom of the course, the spectacular 187-metre 16th, is 1000 metres / 3000 feet below the summit.
My kilted partner nails a 6-iron on the green at the precipitous 16th.

The occasion was the annual playing of the Scottish Golf Cup, sponsored by InterNations, a group in Geneva which encourages people from different nationalities to get together for various social events. There were plenty of kilts and plaids.
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As it happens, our group won the low gross. I think we were 2 or 3 under par. Earned each of us a can of haggis and assorted other goodies.

The highlight of the day was a bagpiper suddenly appearing at the top of the mountain, playing tunes to which some of the golfers sang the lyrics.

Memorable day.