Day 51: The Inaugural FTFE Mongolian Golf Open

6 September 2010

Location : Terelj to Choir. Mongolia.

High point: Playing the inaugural FTFE Mongolian Golf Open. Now who would have thought it, that in the middle of nowhere in a stunning national park, that resembled the Rockies more than Mongolia, we would stumble across the one and only golf country club in this country. Not planned according to James our route planner and pro golfer! Hmmm.

Low Point: James forgetting to buy tees and only realising when Steve was standing on the tee with the crowds awaiting in anticipation of the opening shot. Don’t forget this was Mongolia’s first FTFE open!No point: Forgetting to add a tin of sweet corn into our evening dinner Vestey packs. We need our vegetables.

Big shout to: Massive thanks to Universal tyres. They have performed magnificently on some of the world’s worst roads. Every single person we have spoken to has had a puncture, oh no not us, and I can assure you it’s not because of stage 2’s careful driving. Cheers chaps.

Author’s comments: Having to really put our foot down and clock up the miles to get to UB in time for various flights, and then to spend four days essentially sleeping to finally be back on the move again is a great feeling. It’s quite hard to change the auto pilot once you are used to constantly being on the move. For a couple of days I think Steve and I found it particularly hard as our daily routine was some what disturbed. I personally really wanted my own bed, a bit of home cooking, and to give mum a big cuddle. PS Get well soon mum. xxxx

Ailsa our newest crew member has christened this part of our journey (UB to Beijing) as stage 2.5, and it is great to be on the open road. Martha is purring like a cat after her fantastic service, and I think even Steve is looking forward to a bit more border action. However, nobody expected a golf course, or did they….James.

It was agreed it would be foolish to miss such an opportunity and and a quick nine holes had to be played. Eighteen was out of the question as we really had to push on towards the border. Tee off time was agreed at 8am the night before, however in true FTFE style even the best laid plans can come a little unstuck. After much goading over a very late breakfast, the ger camp we were staying at had amazing beds, we arrived at the country club at 11am. Caught in two minds about lunch or play we decide to have a pre-tournament feast. Basically I think Steve and my plan was to delay the start so the pressure would mount on James, and thus hopefully watch him implode at his own beloved vocation. Handicaps were finally agreed, and James kindly gave Steve a shot on every whole and myself two shots. By the half way point the game was exceptionally even with Steve one hole up on James and myself, I think we were all getting a little nervous. Day52 - Location - Choir to Sainshand (6 of 17) To be fair to Steve here, I think he had really held his game together well considering that every time he teed off our two 18 year-old female caddies giggled at his swing. Personally I don’t know who was embarrassed more, Steve or his professional teacher James. The game could have turned on its head on the 15th when after a very acceptable drive from Steve, a bird swooped down plucked his ball from the fairway, only in Mongolia! Even James wasn’t too sure of the rules here so we had to consult the experts, our very knowledgeable caddies. Steve took it in his stride well and the game progressed on a knife edge. The stakes and banter were reaching untold levels. I will now take you to the penultimate hole, the notorious world famous Mongolian death trap the 17th. We were all within a shot of each other, the camera came out and predictions were made, James said he was quietly confident, I said I was determined to finish mid table, remember it’s not about winning, it’s all about not coming last. Steve’s prediction was true to form quite simply, “I’m going to win.” Twenty minutes later, James had claimed victory by two shots after some truly world class driving, I had achieved my life’s golfing ambition to be mid table, and Steve has now quit the game for life!


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