Golf, golf, golf, night and morn­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - FEATURE - By DAN DAL­GETY

It’s not ev­ery day you get the chance to play a round of golf in Lon­don with for­mer All Black skip­per Sean Fitz­patrick.

Wellingtonians Jamie Pat­ton and Michael Gold­stein got their chance af­ter Fitz­patrick heard about their quest to play a round of golf some­where in the world ev­ery day of last year.

While swing­ing their clubs with Fitz­patrick at the New Zealand Club in Sur­rey, he of­fered in­sights into life as an All Black and one of his cur­rent jobs as a com­men­ta­tor in Bri­tain, and told how the All Black cap­tains gath­ered be­fore each Christ­mas.

Gold­stein said af­ter play­ing golf for more than 250 days, it was good to play against some­one from the same coun­try.

‘‘ It was good to be around an­other Kiwi,’’ he said.

Dur­ing the round, Fitz­patrick, who de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion within the All Blacks for not be­ing averse to the odd bit of games­man­ship, gave his team-mate Pat­ton a pep talk to try to sort out his game – but they ended up los­ing any­way.

Fitz­patrick is sched­uled to be in New Zealand for the up­com­ing Rugby World Cup and men­tioned the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing some in­volve­ment with Pat­ton and Gold­stein’s cho­sen char­ity, First Tee of New Zealand.

The meet­ing with Fitz­patrick was just one of many high­lights of the un­usual golf ex­pe­di­tion.

Their tour be­gan at Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay, on Jan­uary 1, last year and ended at Cape Kid­nap­pers Re­sort, Napier, on De­cem­ber 31.

In be­tween, they played golf in Aus­tralia, the United States, Scot­land, North­ern Ire­land, Ire­land, Eng­land, Wales, France, Bel­gium, and the United Arab Emi­rates.

Pat­ton em­i­grated from Scot­land to New Zealand in 2000. He and Gold­stein be­came friends af­ter at­tend­ing high school and law school to­gether in Christchurch.

Their grand travel scheme was de­vised be­cause they had grown tired of their jobs as cor­po­rate lawyers and wanted to do some­thing fun that would be a bit dif­fer­ent, Pat­ton said.

‘‘We wanted to chal­lenge our­selves, so we threw around sev­eral ideas with friends . . . [It was a] huge step into the un­known,’’ he said.

De­spite the con­stant diet of golf, they never tired of their sport. Pat­ton said the golf was awe­some be­cause it be­came a part of their rou­tine, and they were in a new place and meet­ing new peo­ple ev­ery day.

He said some of the great cour­ses they played in­cluded the Beekman Coun­try Club in New York, Cy­press Point in Cal­i­for­nia, Royal County Down in North­ern Ire­land, and two fa­mous Scot­tish cour­ses, St An­drews, of­ten de­scribed as the home of golf, and Turn­berry. Get­ting to play at St An­drews, which has a mas­sive wait­ing list, was for­tu­nate.

The two New Zealan­ders were of­fered a 7.30am tee time by a friend of a con­tact they had made while at the Bay Hill club in Florida.

In Dubai, the men played a round of golf af­ter mid­night, the plan be­ing to then rush to the air­port, catch a flight to Aus­tralia, and play a round of golf there the fol­low­ing day. Dur­ing their round in Dubai, a course of­fi­cial fol­lowed them, pro­gres­sively turn­ing off the lights af­ter they com­pleted each hole.

Pat­ton said he and Gold­stein were in­spired when play­ing along­side for­mer Aus­tralian pro­fes­sional golfer Jack New­ton, who now plays the game one-handed af­ter an ac­ci­dent in 1977 when he walked into an aero­plane pro­pel­ler at Syd­ney air­port.

They also played with for­mer world No 8 Hen­rik Sten­son of Swe­den, The Doors gui­tarist Robby Krieger, for­mer Aus­tralian crick­eters Doug Wal­ter and Brad Hodge, and New Zealand pro­fes­sional golfers Phil Tatau­rangi and Steve Alker.

They kept a blog through­out their in­ter­na­tional trav­els called Pure­Golf 2010. Dur­ing the tour, they raised up to $40,000 for First Tee of New Zealand, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that aims to pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for young New Zealan­ders to learn char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment and life-en­hanc­ing skills through golf.

Golf mates: Jamie Pat­ton, left, and Michael Gold­stein flank their new friend, Sean Fitz­patrick.

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