Friday, July 06, 2007

Jugando el Golf

Nearly two years ago, we packed up everything we own and shipped it to Guatemala. Much sporting equipment has languished in our "maids' quarters"/sporting goods graveyard since that time. Somehow, the skis just didn't come in handy. But as the final weeks of our engagement in Guatemala tick away, your correspondent finally found an in to do some vital research on the links of the Land of Eternal Spring.

My co-worker Carlos's family is now a member at the tony San Isidro Club Campestre, which is a really old-school country club. I would guess that they would allow American diplomats of any shade into their clubhouse, but I'm not sure that there has been a test case.

They have a full locker room with wood-paneled lockers and complimentary shaving cream.

They have a bar that is actually, literally called "The 19th Hole," with a sign and everything, and, as near as we can tell, no women allowed. (Women are allowed to be members, and to participate in the primary 18 holes of the facility, but I guess men need to be able to tell sexist jokes in peace over a drink. Maybe there's a women's 19th Hole that we didn't see, decorated in pink or some such.)

They have caddies. Our first trip out, one of the caddies told us we had enough time to play out holes 1 and 2, and then play number 18 back, and then it would rain for the rest of the afternoon. We did as he advised, and literally as we were walking off the 18th green it started to pour. Smart caddie. And since we carried our own bags, he wasn't even getting a tip out of it. The downside of the caddies were a few holes where we saw literally 10 people milling about one green, as four or five guys and their various attendants all shuffled about -- and they had golf carts to carry the bags. I guess the caddies are really just there to let people know how many more holes before it rains.

On the 4th of July, we actually made it out early enough to get in a full 18 holes before the rainy season's afternoon storms ended our day. Of course, daily afternoon downpours left the course in middling condition -- I had a couple nice drives into the fairway that plugged into the dreaded fried-egg formation in the rain-softened ground. No matter; the course was beautiful, set in the rolling hills above the city (which city you can see over the horizon in the above picture), and while our host was not an excellent golfer (which you can see by him missing the ball in the above picture), he was an excellent host.

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