Guest post by Adrian Walker, “The Snake Whisperer”
For an Amazon lodge hunter the search can become frustratingly slow and accordingly one seeks diversions whilst waiting on responses to offers and the like. One such for a sporting naturalist is the Amazon Golf Course, a splendid place for bird watching, animal seeking and of course, knocking a few balls around.
Cricket and tennis were the games of my childhood but when my brother married the daughter of a golf professional the game became of interest and my first club was given me by my parents; a 10 iron! With this adaptable club I learnt something of the artifice of golf and gradually progressed to hiring full sets of left handed clubs and playing irregularly around the plethora of golf courses that are found in southern Australia’s sandbelt.
Breaking the magic 100 was the first challenge but when I had mastered this I felt a true golfer and perhaps should have played more but a combination of travels, non golfing girlfriends and studies saw me drift away from the game. It would be 10 years before I resumed the occasional round, this time at a small course in Queensland where Kangaroos were more common than birdies! A friend was a keen player, also left handed and so we would share clubs and enjoy a quiet 18 holes usually early in the morning before the sun got too high to make the 19th hole the most attractive element. Travels and further studies would again interrupt this pastime and once more golf fell into hibernation mode. In My fiftieth year work found me transferred to South Queensland and once more a new acquaintance showed me the return path to golf and its byways. This time the course was unusual, a 9 hole, entirely organic golf course complete with resident pro!
My new friend was not left handed so club hire became essential but the flame had been rekindled and my first 9 holes were shot in a rusty 52 or so. A challenge presented, namely a restoration of more youthful form!
Within weeks and regular play I was cruising around this admittedly short course in the low to mid forties and feeling that none of my youthful skills had been lost. In fairness the pro helped considerably!
Further career moves saw a further 10 year gap until I arrived in Iquitos and met Mick Collis, proprietor of the Amazon’s best and only course. He insisted upon a visit and an opportunity to strike a few balls once more, an offer far too tempting to decline.
And so on a warm Peruvian morning I headed for the first tee, oozing the confidence of Tiger Woods but lacking the skill as I would quickly be reminded of when the first ball I struck sailed not towards the intended green, but instead the second fairway. A second shot fared a tad better and my air of assurance slightly returned. Down in a less than respectable 5, conversely a double bogey on the par 3 hole, I strode to the second with hopes high, determined a wood was required for the longer hole and accordingly struck a fine shot which sailed arrow straight down the fairway before landing with an audible splash in a distant drain. Mick had previously informed me that the course contained piranhas which diminished my desire to fish the lost ball out of the water and the Amazonian sun was climbing higher. The 19th was attractive and my performance there far exceeded my level of talent on the course.
Despite all of the above the course is a haven for wildlife and unique in the region, making it a MUST visit for any aspiring or practicing golfers or naturalists on an Amazon excursion; And the beer is always cold!
Golfing The Amazon
Guest post by Adrian Walker the author of Diary of a Snake Whisperer, Birds of Mission Beach, and several books of fiction.
Hi, this is Bill Grimes reporting from Iquitos Peru. Welcome back for more of the story. Adrian Walker and his family have moved out of our apartment. They are still considering their options to purchase or rent, or build a lodge. Adrian has been kind enough to write this series of articles for my Captain’s Blog and the Iquitos Times. We hope this is Chapter Eleven of his new book, The Road to Iquitos. Click the links below to read chapters 1 – 10. Thank you.