Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Masters Augusta, Georgia 30 March 18 April 2009

This trip was effectively in four legs.
• San Diego seeing my sister’s family.
• Playing three rounds at Pinehurst, North Carolina known as the St. Andrews of North America
• Going to the Masters in Georgia and staying in Aiken, South Carolina.
• Hiring a car and staying in Savannah and Charleston.

If you are a golfer, (and my wife and I are) this is said to be the closest you will ever get to heaven. The annual trip is organised by Teed-Up
Teed Up are the managers of Club 19 of which I am a member.
There were around 80 people on the trip; everyone agreed it was fantastic and worth every penny.

Pinehurst is an unbelievable complex with 8 golf courses. The day that you play Pinehurst #2 where they hold the US Open with caddies is one you will never forget.

For the Masters we stayed in Aiken in a fabulous apartment above Malia’s which is regarded as the best restaurant in town. However Aiken itself is beautiful town with a number of excellent restaurants. The Masters is an incredible experience. We went on the practice day and the Par-3 day, the second day and the fourth and final day. On the first and third days we played golf.

You can take your cameras on the practice and Par-3 days. The practice day was very cold and few golfers were out except for one, Angel Cabrera, who must have taken at least 40 putts on every green and having his caddie write everything down. Cabrera, nicknamed El Pato or the Duck for the way he walks around the golf course won in a very exciting match.
I have written about Cabrera’s win in my other blog but it is my firm belief his time spent on practicing putting on the treacherous Augusta greens made a difference.
Don’t do what we did and forget your camera on the Par 3 day. That day you can get really close to the golfers. We were three yards away from Greg and his caddie Chrissy (that is why she divorced him) and the famous trio of Nicklaus, Palmer and Player.

We adopted the strategy of letting the field come to us, as recommended by Bobby Jones. On the second day we went to Amen Corner. On the final day we went to the 16th. By then the weather had really warmed up and I am now a Golf major junkie.

We were also very lucky that we caught up with Bill Reynolds and his father. We had met Bill and his wife Russi on a wine cruise trip in Burgundy. Bill and his father were Gallery Guards at Augusta and they took us for dinner at the Augusta Country Club after spending the practice day watching the players. It was a fantastic dinner. Full length minks were the order of the day, while we were all dressed in cold weather spectator gear.

After the Masters we drove down to Savannah. We stayed at the wonderful and historic Eliza Thompson House. Do the tours as the town is a wonderful place to visit. It has 22 squares. Also the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil tour is terrific.

We drove up to Charleston which is another historic town and great to visit.
This is where the Civil War started and you should do the Civil War tour. We stayed at the French Quarter Inn
On Bill’s recommendation. Another terrific place.

Another highlight was a visit to Magnolia Plantation.
While we were there I saw a plaque saying it was here that the American’s suffered their greatest defeat when 4,650 of the American army of 5,000 men was captured and the rest were casualties. The British suffered 0 casualties. Unsurprisingly this battle which occurred on 12 May 1780 gets little airplay in the US history books. I had never heard of it and I went to school till I was 13 in the US and the history of the American Revolution was drummed into us annually.

The loss was a severe blow to the colonies. It was the greatest loss of manpower and equipment of the war for the Americans and gave the British nearly complete control of the Southern colonies.

General Clinton, the victorious British General, was subsequently recalled to London to report. General Clinton's one order to General Cornwallis before he left, was to maintain possession of Charleston above all else. Cornwallis was not to move into North Carolina if it jeopardized this holding. Of course, in May 1781, British Lt. General Charles Earl Cornwallis decided to move north into Virginia where he was ultimately defeated at the Battle of Yorktown. This is probably one of the best examples of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the history of man. If Cornwallis had followed orders and stayed put the course of American history would very different. The US could have ended up as a small country sandwiched between the British Colonies of Canada and the Carolinas.

Chris Golis
Australia's expert on practical emotional intelligence
mobile: +61-418-222219

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