My Own Personal Golf Driving Range in the Philippines!

A Genuine Mango Moment!

As many of my readers already know, we shipped most of our personal belongings to the Philippines when we retired. Golf clubs included. Because we live on the island of Samar, and the closest golf course to us would be in Tacloban, Leyte, some 3 1/2 hours away – hence, I have not had much of any opportunity to go golfing.

San Juanico Park Golf and Country Club

Along with my clubs, I did bring along a couple dozen golf balls. One day when the wife went to town and I had nothing to do, I thought I would take the opportunity to get my golf swing back in shape. So I grabbed a few clubs and took my bag of balls down to the seawall. The seawall in our village is just about 80 meters from my doorstep so I thought I could just sneak down there and whack a few balls out onto the sprawling sands during the low tide. One thing is for certain in the Philippines – you cannot simply sneak around anywhere without somebody noticing you. Especially kids. A foreigner with several golf clubs in hand carrying a bag of golf balls down any street in any rural village is going to garner many curious onlookers.

Village Life!

Anyway, in the time it took me to walk down to the seawall (about 60 seconds), I had about 5 curious kids following me. Not one of them speaks English so I didn’t even bother to discuss my intent with them. I reached the seawall at low tide and the exposed sands were visible for at least a couple hundred yards. Perfect! I could simply hit a couple dozen balls and then walk out and retrieve them.

My golf target on “The Sands” at low tide.

As I tee’d up the first ball, I could sorta hear the kids concocting something. I suspected that they were going to “fetch” my balls after I hit them. As it turned out, they were challenging each other to see who could collect the most balls. At least that is what I surmised. I know enough of the local dialect to understand when a little friendly wagering is going on. I approached my first ball on the tee (golf lingo), but not before warning the kids repeatedly to stay well clear of me and my swing, and to just stay put until I was finished. I proceeded to drive my first shot about 150 yards. Not before my shot even hit the sand were the kids off and running to snag that first ball (did I mention “no hable ingles?”  After all 5 of the kids reached the site of the my first drive, they just stood there and waited. I repeatedly motioned for them to clear out but they just sorta camped out there waiting for me to hit another ball! They had already sprinted over 100 yards once, they were certainly not going to do that again. It was much easier to just wait for the balls to come to them. Urghhh. I realized at that moment that this entire idea was a big waste of my time, so I gathered up my balls and clubs and walked home. I just couldn’t dangerously launch a bunch of golf balls into a group of kids waiting to pick them up for me. It was just not safe. I mean… could you see me screaming FORE” after each stroke? It would have done absolutely no good when they don’t understand English!

And would someone please shoot me for thinking that I could get away with this on a “school day!”

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