Monday, March 16

On My Bucket List: The Home of Golf


The finishing hole at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.
(Maedi/Flickr)


THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS I’ve been able to cross off my golf to-do list. For starters, I’ve been to many tournaments, including a few majors. Last year was an especially huge year for me. I finally made it to Augusta National Golf Club for the Masters. And I was very fortunate to attend the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in Louisville.

So what’s left? I’ve always said I wanted to play Pebble Beach. (It still hasn’t happened.)

But here’s a big one: I want to attend The Open Championship. In addition, I want to set foot on the Home of Golf, St. Andrews, the Old Course. It’s on my bucket list. I need to get there.

I know there are many amazing golf courses in the British Isles − and I could happily tour all of them if I had enough time and money − but it seems to me that St. Andrews is the destination for those interested in serious golf holidays. After all, it’s where this crazy game started.

My dad went in the 1990s − or was it the 80s? He bought me a cap. My brother-in-law went a few years ago. He bought me a cap.

I don’t need any more caps.

I need to see the Road Hole with my own eyes, walk across the Swilken Bridge toward the Valley of Sin, and try to hack my way out of one of those insane pot bunkers.

If you have played and watched golf much of your life like l have, then you’re nodding your head. This makes perfect sense to you.

I fully expect to accomplish this goal. When I do, I’ll know I already have a friend at the Home of Golf. You may know him. His name is Andy Brown, formerly of the European Tour, and now the proprietor of Home of Golf TV, among other golf interests.

Andy lives in St. Andrews. He films episodes in and around the Old Course for Home of Golf TV and freely shares them with anyone who has an Internet connection. Andy even recently strayed far from home, shooting an episode in Orlando with three-time Open champion and golf commentator Nick Faldo.

But back to St. Andrews and my list.

The Old Course isn’t always love at first sight. The great Bobby Jones was not impressed the first time he saw St. Andrews. Nor was Sam Snead. Scott Hoch called it “the biggest piece of mess I’ve ever seen.”

And a former Tour pro told me, “I felt like Bobby Jones the first time he saw it. Thought it was a cow pasture.”

Yet, the Old Course won over Bobby Jones, and Bobby Jones won over the Scots, returning again and again and winning three Claret Jugs.

As for me, I’ll be glad if I can just go once. When I do, maybe I’ll buy someone a cap.

−The Armchair Golfer

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(Swilken Bridge photo: Tiarescott/Flickr)

5 comments :

Heather said...

A cap! That's what I needed on my last golf outing. I've been dreaming of Scotland too. Wrote about my "Scottish" experience right here in Ohio. But I didn't have a cap!

Seriously, Hubbie's dad always wanted to take his sons to St. Andrews. Unfortunately, he never got the chance. I think we own him a pilgrimage one of these days.

Golfer's Delight said...

A friend and I turn 40 next year. And we agreed that we'll make ourselves a present and make a trip to St. Andrews for a round of golf. So we fully understand your need to go and play there!!

The Armchair Golfer said...

Heather: That would be a fun pilgrimage, if you can make it happen.

Golfer's Delight: Good for you and your friend. That's a perfect gift for a 40th birthday.

The Open Championship will be played at the Old Course next year (2010).

Jeff Goodman (Goods) said...

It's a public course (I believe), and with most public courses, maintenance can and will fall to the wayside... or in this case, the North Sea.

PureGolfJourney said...

I just Tweeted earlier today how bad I want to go to St Andrews! I was actually watching Andy Brown's videos and promised myself I will plan a trip there...I really hope I can do that with my father one day..would be awesome!
I really wonder what the turf is like...whether its all hard and crispy the way it looks on TV because the golfballs seem to run forever...oh well, I hope I get to find out one day!