We had a relatively early tee-time booked at Villamartin so we got up in good time and made breakfast that we enjoyed on the balcony. The place was strangely quiet and we were quite clearly the only occupants of the thirty-six apartments that surrounded an immaculate garden and pool area.
The weather was good with a blue sky and just a few high billowing white clouds and after breakfast we prepared for golf and set off for the course and the clubhouse check-in. The place looked good as soon as we wandered through the entrance gardens that were complete with fountain and statue of an athletic naturist lady golfer.
At the office I received the disappointing news that we were to play with two others and I wondered just how I should break this news to Richard who first tee nerves might not be able to cope with this arrangement. He wasn’t best pleased but he settled down quickly and when we were invited to lead the way he strode confidently to the tee and cracked a beauty down the middle of the fairway. It was my turn to worry now but I managed an adequate shot to the left of the fairway and then we stood back and waited for our playing companions to show us what they could do.
John, the tall athletic Dutchman teed off first and despite some impressive practice swings pulled an ugly shot onto the practice green next to the tee, that relieved the pressure no end, and we were both secretly pleased about that but we were equally impressed with the shot of the Englishman Joe who powered it down the fairway and out of sight. Richard played the hole like a scratch golfer, two more perfect shots to the green and then a perfect putt and a satisfying plonk, plonk, plonk of the ball bouncing to rest in the bottom of the cup. I was so proud of him!
We played the next few holes without any major drama and then for some inexplicable reason Richard talked himself into a crisis of confidence and he scratched his way up three fairways and it began to look as though we might have to call it a day after half a round. Joe, the exceptionally good player, was very patient and John, who turned out to be an ex-professional footballer who had played three times for the Holland national side, was most supportive and gradually Richard rediscovered his touch, settled down and we continued without further incident.
John could hit the ball a long way but was very inconsistent so we were both comfortable playing along side him but Joe was clearly very good and I was beginning to suspect that he was a bit more than a club golfer on account of the fact that he complained out loud to himself whenever he played anything less than what he considered to be a perfect shot. At the fourteenth I asked him and he owned up to being the golf professional at the nearby Campoamor golf club, it was a good job that we didn’t know that when we teed off at the first!
We had a really enjoyable round of golf, Richard showed how to use a boundary wall to best advantage a bit like a squash court and I had a blinding tee shot that thumped into a tree and stopped its certain progress to the green, and then a three hundred yard tee shot at a hole where Richard made his second par. It finished with a spot of hilarity on the final hole.
It was a very short par three that should have been over some water but the green was closed and was replaced with an exceptionally short seventy-five yarder with a tee-off position next to the water but certainly not requiring a shot over it. This was so easy that you could conceivably have used a putter but Richard was determined to make it as difficult as possible for himself and slashed a tee-shot at an impossible angle into the water on his right (actually almost behind him), a shot that scattered the bemused ducks and reduced our playing companions to tears of laughter.
We had a couple of cold beers in Villamartin and then went back to the apartment for lunch and a chill. Richard cooked some food and I opened the bar and after a satisfying lunch we took the patio furniture out to the garden and were straight away spotted by the British ex-pat home guard captain who moved in immediately in a Dad’s Army sort of way to establish our residency rights. I was sitting minding my own business when I was subjected to a grilling about who we were, where we were staying and what were we doing there but he was only doing his job I suppose. I satisfied him that we were legitimate temporary residents and he moved on and disappeared into the shrubs around the garden.
After lunch and a swim in the pool we went for a walk around the Las Ramblas golf course where first we watched some men scratching around in an incompetent style and then some women who seemed to be clueless about the game and were making progress along the fairways at only twenty metres at a time. The course looked a bit tough for us with some difficult tee shots over gaping gorges that looked certain to say hello to my ball as I said goodbye to it from the tee, so we decided it was not for us and dismissed any thoughts that we might have had about doing a quick nine holes.
We finished the day in Villamartin again and found a nice little restaurant in the corner of the courtyard. It was an Argentinian steak house and remembering a wonderful steak I had once had at a similar sort of place in Amsterdam I was sure that this would be a good choice. It certainly turned out to be so and we both enjoyed a really good meal washed down with a couple of San Miguel’s. After a long day we walked back to our apartment and after an hour on the balcony we finished for the day with a warning from Richard not to get up to early in the morning.