Banter back between golfing buddies

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United again at the Ashburton Golf Club were (from left) Adrian Hopwood, Gaby Jansen, Paddy Bradford and Perry Hunt.

Golfing buddies, separated from their course and each other for the past eight weeks, made the most of sunshine and Alert Level 2 restrictions at the weekend to return to the Ashburton Golf Club’s regular Saturday play.

There were happy greetings and plenty of banter about grey whiskers and the unhealthy consumption of scones since their last rounds together.

Teeing off at 12pm were Paddy Bradford, Gaby Jansen, Adrian Hopwood and Perry Hunt. The latter three have played golf together for the past 25 years, and welcomed Paddy to the fold when he emigrated from the UK 17 years ago.

They have enjoyed many rounds since, as well as annual golfing holidays to destinations like Napier, Auckland and Dunedin. A trip to Australia in August may yet be affected by Covid-19 if a trans-Tasman bubble is not operational.

They say they missed golf and each other while the sport was off the table during Covid-19 restrictions.

Paddy, past club captain at the Ashburton club, said he had been looking forward to getting on the tee on Saturday.

“I had a great first drive, then shanked the second out of bounds to ruin the first hole.

“Then I had a great drive down number two and shanked the second. So after 15 minutes of play, the first ‘for goodness sake, what am I doing here’ comes out.

“Then after a par on hole number four, the universe was in balance and all was great in the world again.”

Paddy said he had missed the up and down emotions of the game.

“What I also missed in mates is that three and a half hours in our four then another two hours in the bar with another group. We can talk utter garbage … but I know that I smile and laugh a lot.”

He said the golfing gods had a way of ensuring everyone had great days and not-so-great days, and good mates enjoyed teasing about both.

“Roll on next week.”