Just a few holes into playing the new Bahia Course at Punta Mita, Nayarit, Mexico, the director of golf set me straight.
“What did you have yesterday?” Phil Ferrari asked after I just double bogeyed the difficult par-3 fifth hole.
“Eighty-five,” I replied, referring to the previous round on the Nicklaus-designed Pacifico Course at Punta Mita.
“Not your score. I don’t care about that,” he said. “What did you have for lunch?”
That’s when you suddenly realize – once again – that the only person who truly cares about your golf score is you. Yet, we often approach the game as if when we get we’re done, our score will be plastered on billboards all along our route back home.
Ferrari wasn’t serious, of course, although he really did just want to know what I had for lunch the previous day. After all, the food here is about as good as the golf – depending on how you’re playing. The answer, by the way, was shrimp fajitas at the breezy palapa restaurant overlooking the golf courses.
In retrospect, I’m sure what Ferrari was trying to do was loosen me up a little by needling me. Often, when we play with the pro – and Ferrari is a fine player and teacher – there’s a little added pressure not to embarrass yourself.
It turned out to be one of the more enjoyable rounds I’ve had in recent memory. Ferrari gave me a couple of very helpful hints, but more than that, he was great company. He talked about how truly wonderful the game is, how he’s taken up surfing since he moved here and how wonderful the local people are.
He also showed a genuine interest in my background and even complemented my “action.” (Always good to stroke the writer’s ego.) Then we had lunch at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. Ferrari had the fish tacos, the best he had ever had, he said. I had the chile relleno.
As for what I shot at Bahia – well, I never totaled the score.