Dinner at Adare Manor was on Jack, and I was only too pleased to run up the bill in every way possible. We finally called it a night at 2 a.m. and were all a little tipsy. It seemed as if we were the only ones in the castle, which was dark and a little spooky. Karen and I had to climb a spiral staircase to our room, and, man, I wondered how they turned the Ring of Kerry into a staircase. We had to stop and rest a few times, which proved enjoyably memorable.
By day six, Jack and I were golfed out and intended to hunt, but Jack learned that the castle had a Robert Trent Jones course, and he decided that we needed to play one last round. I'm sure it had nothing to do with my beating him the day before. We got up at 10 a.m. and were the only ones on the course. The pro was an Irishman who used to live in Orlando, and he set us up with two caddies who told stories nonstop. It was the nicest day of the year, they said, sunny, calm and an unexpected 65�. I had to pick up a short-sleeved shirt from the shop because I hadn't brought one. The USGA will love this part: We took five hours to play. We hit our shots and literally walked in slow motion, telling stories and soaking in the atmosphere, because we didn't want this perfect day to end.
I birdied four of the first five holes. At one point two huge swans took off from a lake, made a big turn and lazily flew right by us. I could almost reach out and touch them. It was poetic. I shot a 69, a course record, because no one ever plays the back tees. I smiled at Jack at the 16th. "You don't have to say it," he said. "I'm dormie."
We went out for a wonderful dinner, at Jack's expense. I ordered pheasant under glass, the best wine and multiple desserts. When we got back to the castle, the head pro was in the lobby trying to call us in our rooms. "You must come to the taproom," he said. "Everybody is expecting you."
When we arrived, my caddie, Ollie, was there, wearing a coat and tie. The pro said, "Brandel, you must allow Ollie to sing a song. He's f—-ing brilliant! Smoothest voice you've ever heard." Well, I got goose bumps when Ollie started to sing. The pro was right. I can't describe it except to say that he could somehow make his voice tremble like the melody.
The pro came up to me later, laughing. A few minutes earlier he had run into a group of Americans in the bathroom. They wondered who had been singing, and the pro said, "Have you heard of Brandel Chamblee, the first-round leader of the Masters?" They said yes. The pro said, "That's him!" He really enjoyed the prank. "Brandel," he told me, "people will be coming up to you for years saying, 'I know you're a hell of a golfer, but would you sing a couple of notes for me?' " I can hardly wait.
Karen and I flew home the next day. Jack and I agreed we should make it a rule never to play again unless we have the course to ourselves, like at Adare Manor. A few days later a heavy box came. It was a gold cup mounted on a marble base. On the brass inlay was engraved: TWO-MAN DORMIE INVITATIONAL RUNNERUP—BRADLEY CHAMBLEE. Jack spelled it that way because people are always calling me Bradley. He phoned that afternoon. "I hope you fell in love with the game again," he said. I had.
That evening I thought I'd relive the trip, so I bought some Guinness, poured a glass and, after admiring the rich, creamy head, took a swallow. It tasted completely different.