The hospitality of Wall Streeters has helped a pair of New Zealanders overcome thunderstorms and a broken-down van on their quest to play golf at a different course every day for an entire year.
Michael Goldstein and Jamie Patton, both 25, are more than midway through their golf odyssey after recently spending three weeks in the northeastern U.S., where they were welcomed at clubs such as Pine Valley, Shinnecock Hills and Winged Foot. They’re now in Scotland and took in the British Open at St. Andrews.
The pair trusted fate — the Kiwi axiom “she’ll be right” — to guide them on their golf tour. Fellow golfers, including former Jefferies & Co. Vice President Rory Corrigan and Lenox Advisors Senior Vice President John Miller, were among the people to lend them a hand.
“You couldn’t go to a golf consultant and arrange or purchase this kind of tour,” Corrigan, 55, of Morristown, New Jersey, said in a telephone interview. “They’ve done it on a shoestring and with a smile and a handshake. One introduction leads to another and it’s been a fun thing to share in.”
After completing a swing through the northeastern U.S. and being welcomed at private clubs such as National Golf Links of America and Merion, Goldstein and Patton flew to Scotland last week. They took in the British Open and met Tiger Woods’s New Zealand caddie, Steve Williams, who gave them tickets and made plans to play with them later this year.
No Trust Funds
“We fly by the seat of our pants,” Goldstein said in a telephone interview. “We’re far from trust-fund babies. The story of our whole trip is actually the people from the golf community. They find out what we’re doing, offer to put us up for a night, take us out to their golf course and share the way they live their lives for a day.”
The pair, lawyers who left their jobs back home, have played mostly private courses not available to the weekend duffer. They get invited to play rounds by sharing their story with course owners, head professionals, superintendents and members.
Corrigan heard it from a friend. He passed it along to Miller, a college buddy who was fascinated by their adventurous spirit and effort to raise money for First Tee of New Zealand, a charity that tries to teach children values through golf.
Miller, 55, hosted Goldstein and Patton at his course, Plainfield Country Club — site of the U.S. PGA Tour’s first playoff event in 2011 — and the father of 11 also welcomed them to stay at his seven-bedroom house in Warren, New Jersey.
Along the way, the duo also met Robby Krieger, guitarist and songwriter for The Doors, and played a round with him at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.
Their first stop was Kauri Cliffs, a course overlooking the South Pacific built by Tiger Management LLC hedge-fund founder Julian Robertson. The journey ends Dec. 31 at New Zealand’s Cape Kidnappers, which Robertson also built.
Goldstein and Patton decided to try something adventurous after working as junior associates at corporate law firms in New Zealand. They’re blogging about their odyssey on the website puregolf2010. The most recent entry said they’ve played courses outside of Glasgow, including Glasgow Gailes on the Scottish coast.
The pair got some financial backing from a golf magazine in New Zealand, but have funded much of the trip with “several thousand dollars” between them.
They arrived in the U.S. on May 11 and bought a 1988 Dodge van for about $2,500. Nicknamed “Dodgy,” it would serve as transportation and lodging when they didn’t have a place to sleep.
Their golfing streak was almost interrupted on June 6, when thunderstorms plagued a drive to South Carolina from Sea Island, Georgia.
“Dodgy” broke down 30 minutes south of Hilton Head, leaving them stranded until a tow truck arrived. The streak at risk, the pair grabbed three clubs each, snuck onto a course at 7 p.m. and raced to complete 18 holes in the rain.
Other rounds have been less eventful, though equally memorable.
They played Pine Valley in Clementon, New Jersey, and Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, California, the top two courses in Golf Magazine’s U.S. rankings. They went to Shinnecock and the National Golf Links — both top 10 courses — on the same day on Long Island. Goldstein shot 74 from the back tees at Shinnecock, while Patton also broke 80.
The scores might be the least important part of their trip.
“We’re not trying to shoot the lights out every day, we’re out there to have fun, to meet people and see some new golf courses,” Goldstein said. “I guess you can say we just kind of open ourselves up to the golfing world and there’s so many cool people within it.”