As soon as Judy is out the door for school, I start checking the internet for another golf course. There are several “members-only” courses, and some others that are way too expensive. I finally find one that seems to be pretty nice, and reasonably priced. I call to schedule a tee-time and no one speaks English. At least yesterday, someone spoke enough English for us to struggle together. I manage to get a tee-time scheduled (I think), and then I start trying to figure out how to get to the Beijing Huangguang International Golf Club.
The internet is not helpful with the address today due to slow speeds. I finally use the iPad on 3G (not wifi), and find the course on the map. It’s a little further out of town than I was expecting. I pack up all my stuff and head out to find a taxi. Using my iPad map, I convince a driver to take me. Half an hour later, we drive up, and a new golf experience begins.
My clubs disappear when I get out of the taxi (swarmed by several caddies) and I’m given a small leather wallet with an expense ticket. I go into the clubhouse, and they point me to a locker room. It’s huge, and nicely decorated, with leather benches and a huge “bath” and hot tub. I change into my golf shoes, and head back out to the desk. They direct me outside. A female caddie walks up, takes my expense ticket, loads my clubs on a pull-cart, and starts walking really fast. I have to push my pace to keep up with this little girl.
Same as yesterday, I hit the ball really well, so the golf is fun (not frustrating). The caddie thing is nice. She is cleaning my clubs after each shot, marking the ball on the green, fixing divots, and tending the pin. She has the same limited “caddie” vocabulary of English phrases. Since I’m playing a longer course today, she does have to try to be more descriptive. There is lots of water, and bunkers, and I’m enjoying trying to understand what she’s saying. My “Golfshot” app is working on this course, and her yardage is the same as the app, so I’m beginning to trust her course knowledge.
It’s a glorious day. I started out with a light windbreaker, but took it off after the first hole. Once I started walking, it warmed up nicely. The wind is only slight. The leaves are beginning to change color, and it’s really pretty. On CNN this morning, they were discussing the pollution. The index had reached 371 (highest since July) around 2:00, but a cold front had blown in and by 7:00 am, the index was at 50. It can change that fast. There are only a few people on the course, and they are quick to let me play through, when required. We finish the round in three hours. I began to realize I was tired around hole 15. I end up shooting 86, 14 shots over par. It’s a respectable round for as little as I’ve played, and I’ve walked a long ways today.
It had occurred to me when I arrived that the golf course was out in the “boonies”, and there were no other taxis around. I just figured they could call a company when I finished. Apparently they didn’t know how to call a taxi, and didn’t have a procedure for it. They kept asking me about my company private car? This took about 15 minutes. Finally, one of the receptionists showed me her phone and there was a listing for “private car”. Like an idiot, I asked “how much”, like I had a choice (I did, I could walk). I got a reasonable price after a phone call, and 10 minutes later, my clubs are being loaded in a car while I try to show the driver where we’re going. The drive home was without incident, and I’m home by 2:30.
Judy has a night out with “the girls” at Pete’s Tex/Mex. When she gets home, we get to trade stories. She learned a lot more about the people she’s working with and about job searching internationally. Plenty of intrigue exists about “who might be going where”, and everyone must declare by Monday, Nov. 4. It’s going to be an interesting personnel week at BISS.