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Editorial: Finding common ground on the golf course

Friday November 08, 2019 Written by Published in Editorials

I got the golf clubs out at the weekend.

When I opened the dusty green leather bag, I found some old score cards from courses in New Zealand and the UK, a pair of very dated wrap-around sunglasses, and a blue baseball cap that I think belonged to a friend I used to play goat-track golf with, back in the madcap days before kids and mortgages.

I’ve lived the past 11 years in Auckland, and those clubs had sat in the back of the shed that whole time. I didn’t play once. But my wife and I do now have three sons who are about old enough to start caddying …

My golf is bad. I’m not just saying that, like other people do to be humble. It really is bad. Mostly, the ball grubs along the ground like a crab looking for its burrow.

But just two or three times, I got under the ball and when it took flight in the direction of the green, that feeling was glorious. Enough to keep me coming back.

I had been invited along by five very, very patient blokes for a round of Ambrose – a brilliant version of the game for hapless hackers like myself.

One far better player, Royle, had a speaker on the back of his golf trundler and we marched up the fairways of our own paradise city to the booming sounds of Guns’n’Roses.

Another, club captain Ali, hit a hole-in-one on one of the shorter holes. The best thing about Ambrose? The whole group takes the best score, so we all get to claim that hole-in-one!

As I talked with these people from different walks of life, some born here, some who had lived here for many years, it reminded me how important opportunities like this are – opportunities to meet new people, to get outside our comfort zone.

As this country finds itself immersed in heated social and political discussions, it’s worth remembering that: the importance of talking with others, of listening to others, and importantly, being open enough to allow the views we hold dear to be challenged.

It may be that we can find common ground where we least expect it.

Certainly, my golf ball found the ground a lot at the weekend!