News rifled through social media today that NZME journalist Guy Heveldt had been picked from the ballot to play the Augusta National golf course after The Masters.

That got Andrew Alderson thinking of venues where the average fan can compete on a par with top sportspeople.

1. St Andrews Old Course
For those who tense up at the thought of what might go on behind closed doors at Augusta's Butler Cabin, how about a $157 (£88) round at the home of golf, St Andrews Old Course, in the November to March low season?

You have to book well in advance - think months if not years - but the links are unsurpassed for raw rather than superficial golfing beauty, and provide a challenge on a relatively short course, especially when the wind whistles. Depending on your budget, consider hiring a caddie or clubs and trundler. You'll need a disability exemption to take a buggy.

2. The Basin Reserve
You can have a crack during the lunch break of tests but what about a proper match? The Wellington men's club final was contested at the venue recently when Eastern Suburbs defeated Karori in a three-dayer, and last week Raroa Intermediate defeated Evans Bay Intermediate to secure the year 7 and 8 girls' title. The players' names on the scoreboard helped enhance the atmosphere in an aspirational end to anyone's season on arguably New Zealand's most hallowed cricketing turf.

Similarly, if you can play for a team that competes in England's Village Cup, the final is played at Lord's.

3. A Tour de France stage
You could opt for a leisurely "saddlebags" approach over a couple of days meandering through the French countryside, complete with picnic, rug and thermos. Alternatively lycra-up for a battle on the likes of Mont Ventoux. That's the mountain which, alongside an upset stomach, heat exhaustion, alcohol and amphetamines, killed Tom Simpson on July 13, 1967. Pay tribute to Simpson's memorial as you pedal to the summit.

4. The Hong Kong Tens
On the weekend of the Hong Kong Sevens - still the world's premier tournament of its genre - it's worth noting the curtain raiser is the Tens played across town at the Hong Kong Football Club earlier in the week. Despite a number of ex-internationals featuring, it tends to be more social, and sometimes teams are desperate for players.

This writer happened to be loitering around the periphery in 2001 and was asked to fill in for HKFC in a 64-0 trouncing by an Australian side from Coffs Harbour. I'd like to say I touched the ball in a two-minute rugby mercenary cameo but, after calling for a pass, a Roger Ramjet doppelganger caught wind of my request and intercepted the ball at terminal velocity in the dying moments.

5. An Olympic pool
A troupe of Radio Sport reporters traipsed to the Water Cube in Beijing to witness one of their group don his speedos and complete a couple of lengths under Chinese Communist Party supervision following the 2008 Games. The venue has since been renovated into a water park with rides, slides, a wave pool and a spa area.


Alternatively, hike up Montjuic Hill in Barcelona to the Piscines Bernat Picornell for a dip at the 1992 Olympic pool and sample some of the best city views along the way. Just out of interest, you can also sleep there under the stars... if you miss the evening's final train to Girona.