The parking waypoint takes you to the limited parking at our GeoGolf Championship's virtual Clubhouse. (Note, this is completely different from the real Golf Clubhouse, so please don't blindly drive and park there!) The coordinates take you to Kingsdown House. It was formerly an asylum. My trusty local guidebook says that the designs on the outside of the garden wall are the result of occupational therapy for some of the former patients. From the parking waypoint, walk past the postbox and along the wall towards the coordinates of the first stage. Take a careful look at the wall as you go and you should spot these intricate hieroglyphics. In fact, here is your first task before your GeoGolf round starts proper.
Handicap – X marks the spot
Towards the northern end of the wall, look for a stone with a prominent row of crosses (X). You may notice an odd cross here or there along the wall, but I think the stone that you need is unmistakable. Also, if you stare too long at it, you may wonder if there are more crosses than I intend you to count. Please just go with your first impression – no tricks! Take the number of crosses and multiply by five to give you your handicap for this round: AB.
Now is a good time to introduce your scorecard, below. You may notice with some relief that there are not 18 stages to this cache; even I am not that devoted to multi-caches! As you go round the course, simply use the clues that you find to fill in the appropriate boxes. First, enter your handicap, which is labelled AB.
The Pro's Marker
Having calculated your handicap, proceed to the next clue. Course Pro and renowned GeoGolfer, "L. Austin Woods", normally leaves his lucky golf ball marker somewhere around here (for the non-golfers amongst us, this is a small disc that Pros use to mark the position of their ball on the green – any disc will do). Find Austin's marker, examine it carefully, and note the 4-digit number on it. Enter this number on your scorecard: CDEF. (Don't forget to replace the marker!)
An Iron to reach the Wood
Right, now it's time for your first GeoGolf shot! Don't worry, in GeoGolf you can tee off from anywhere, and you can land anywhere too – no greenkeepers are required! GeoGolfing borrows a few terms from its distant cousin, so make sure that you know your bogeys from your birdies. However, don't necessarily take me too literally: you may have to use some artistic licence in translating terms between the two codes.
You probably want quite a short iron for this one. Good shot, nice and high … head for the coordinates given on the scorecard. Look for a smallish container, which should not have to be removed; just examine it carefully before opening. It should contain an iGolf: this is Abanazar's latest gadget to aid GeoGolfers in their calculations. Start with the Handicap you calculated earlier. Using the iGolf's touchscreen display, apply the 3rd column; finally, add T. (What is T? Think carefully; it is part of the iGolf's external functionality, so please do not reconfigure the iGolf to confuse future GeoGolfers!) Got your final answer? Good, enter it on your scorecard: GH.
Tee with the Druids
You will definitely want a driver for your next long shot, which takes you through one of the oldest golf courses in the country. You will now be interacting with conventional golfers, so please be on your best behaviour! Try to minimise coughs, sneezes, and any form of revelry while they are taking a shot – they are much more easily distracted than their GeoGolfing counterparts.
There are several rights of way across and around this course, although they are not always well signed. I find that keeping to the edges generally works, but so long as you find sensible opportunities to get where you want, the golfers don't seem to mind. Just remember the following golden rules:
- Golfers do not randomly shout numbers at each other; "FORE!" actually means dive to ground whilst clutching your head in your hands.
- If you have any young GeoCaddies with you, please double check before they gleefully pick up all the nice white balls that they come across – the balls might actually be in play!
Apart from that, enjoy the walk, keep your eyes and ears open, and make your way to the Druids' Tee.
There's no physical cache at this spot. However, centuries ago, the local Druids used to tee off here. They used a typical druidic method to indicate the par of this ancient hole. (Go with the most obvious answer, which can be calculated from the safety of the rough; you shouldn't need to brave the precise coordinates – a modern day fairway.) Enter this value on the scorecard: I
(Actually I made this bit up. This is supposedly the burial site of I kings slain in battle – you can decide which is the more likely tale!)
The Captain's Date
Now make your way away from the course towards the coordinates given on the scorecard. It's another virtual: you have an interview with GeoGolfing's "Club Captain" (although he's had other jobs too!). See if you can discover his noteworthy year and record it as JKLM.
Now that you are getting the hang of GeoGolfing, the Captain raises the stakes a little. He concludes the interview by tasking you to look for his favourite ball, which got lost in the next hole, Bilbo's Bunker. If you ignored my advice in the introduction and still have that pastel golfing sweater on, you might want to read its washing instructions – we're now starting to put the geo into GeoGolf. Your reward for discovering the Captain's Ball will be some essential information: the formula for the coordinates of the next hole.
Once you've restored Bilbo's Bunker to its proper state, take your next shot. Choose a mid-iron and give it a good swing … FORE! Good grief, you struck that hard. Make your way to where your ball landed, using Bilbo's formula.
Only in GeoGolf could you get trapped up in this hazard combination. Once you have found your ball, record its single digit on your scorecard (N), and copy down any extra information that you might find.
The Championship Hole
Collate all your information, and make your way to the Championship Hole. Hopefully you will have a good idea by now of what is needed, but please take care (shame about your sweater's Dry-Clean Only label). As at all stages, please ensure everything is nicely tucked out of sight when you've finished.
Did you sink the final putt? Congratulations! You are a worthy GeoGolf Champion. If you are not too tired after all that, there's also a Bonus GeoGolfing Cache nearby: GC2BCCW Kingsdown Bonus: 19th Hole – The Hider Cup (although you will need to have researched some answers for that beforehand). Whether or not you go for that one, thanks for playing this cache and I hope that you enjoyed yourselves while playing as much as I and my two young GeoCaddies did while setting!
My intended classification for this cache would be: Family Adventure Multi. There's nothing here that I haven't sent my (willing!) two young GeoCaddies for, and hopefully it should be fun for everyone.
However, there are a couple of aspects of this cache that I should point out. Please carefully consider whether or not to attempt this cache if you are uncomfortable with any of the following:
- confined and restricted spaces (but not deep);
- darkness (more like gloom really);
- spiders (unfortunately, Abanazar #1 GeoCaddy discovered this slightly too late).
Extra clarification following a query from a potential competitor: GeoGolfing is a family sport, so I have encouraged you to involve small/young GeoCaddies at certain stages. However, this is not some throwback to Victorian days and child labour is not compulsory! An adult of average size and shape should manage all the GeoGolfing tasks just fine. Also, the cache can be completed solo, although it's much more fun in company :-)
If you have any queries before investing the usual couple of hours, please do drop me an e-mail and we can go into a more detailed risk assessment ;-)
And another thing: the GPS reception can be pretty variable in the "back nine", so you have the Tournament Director's blessing to use the hints early!
Residential Geocoin (August 2016)
Amberel kindly made one of his Top Cache geocoins for the combination of this cache and its neighbouring opencache Piddypug's Hole (In One). It is called Playing Around in Piddypug's Hole. I have chosen to hide it as a RESIDENTIAL geocoin, alongside the logbook of Piddypug's Hole (In One). Feel free to discover it, but please do not remove it, and please note the extra few metres between the two caches are quite challenging. Thanks.