It was my first time as a competitor in the Handiskins Championship week at Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast. This fast growing event has become a favourite on the amateur golfing circuit. Having qualified as a winner at my club, Bribie Island GC, I took the plunge to come along and try my luck at this national event. My arrival at Royal Pines Resort was my inaugural venture out of COVID lock down and its associated mentality. Suddenly, I was surrounded by bubbling excitement embodied by scores of golfers from around the country. People of all ages and a myriad of backgrounds coming together via their love of golf and a good time.
Good Times on the Handiskins Menu
Having a good time is a big part of the Handiskins and Peter Lehman Wines events, with wine dinners firmly on the menu. Imbibing and golf have a long and fruitful history, with winding down after a round all part of the grand plan. On the Wednesday evening all participants met at Tees Clubhouse for a buffet meet and greet. The anticipation was tangible as I chatted with some of the attendees, and we heard from the organisers about the scheduled qualifying rounds to be played on Thursday and Friday. Good food and booze accompanied lively conversation tight around the room.
My First Time Playing Royal Pines
I was paired with golfers from Cowra NSW, Hurstville in Sydney, and another Queenslander for my first round on Thursday morning. We shared a couple of golf buggies, as Royal Pines is a non-walking course. I had never played Royal Pines before and had only seen it on TV via the Ladies Masters and Australian PGA televised tournaments. It is a beautiful 27-hole layout and we played the Green and Gold combination of nines. The greens were smooth and challenging in places. The course was well designed with some well bunkered shortish par 4s. Shot placement was pretty important if you weren’t going to run up some big scores. I managed to birdie two of the par 5s, but could not consistently get the speed of the greens, which resulted in too many 3 putts.
The three guys I played with were top blokes and made the day a real joy. Having a good time and not getting too caught up in the result usually ensures camaraderie on the course. One of the three was a scrambling wizard getting up and down from all sorts of lies around the greens. He putted the spots off the golf ball as well. I think I only lost one golf ball during the round despite the bodies of water meandering their way around Royal Pines. Helpful directions were proffered by those in my group who had played the course before. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s round of the Handiskins Championship of 2021.