Four! Scotland, the Home of Golf
Trip Start Aug 02, 2010
12Trip End Oct 22, 2010
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I say semi-cross because I still want to golf at St-Andrews, the legit home of golf, but for now, at the end of my backpacking journey, broke as a joke, I will settle for Prestonfield Golf course, nestled in the city of Edinburgh.
Just because I love the game of golf, and this has been the most exercise I have gotten while on this journey (if you don't consider carrying a 40 lb backpack across Europe exercise) I would love to share some details with you all.
Before I begin, yes, I am writing a blog about golf. But what do you care. This is my blog. You're lucky I'm not talking about that Habs vs. Senators game from Saturday night, which I watched, the first one of the year. So take it in stride, or go back to work. See if I care!
This course actually has some history to it. You see it was established in the 16th century and it was actually a haven for Mary, Queen of Scots, herself an avid golfer. It definitely doesn't have the history behind it like the Old course at St-Andrews, but history none the less. History and golf. My dream!
Started off with me taking a 10 quid cab to this course. I had to get there fast as my tee time was at 3 pm, and well, the sun doesn't stay up much longer passed 6:30.
I arrive and head to the pro shop and am greeted by Old Tom Morris himself. He gets me fitted with some clubs. Some old Ben Hogan's. Not unlike my fathers first set he purchased back in the 20's, and a 1983 Ping Putter. OK, clearly I made up the date, but you get the point. They even hooked me up with some Dunlop golf shoes. I at least looked the part of a Scottish golfer. No kilt though... it was a tad too cold, otherwise, why not. No glove though. Would have been nice, even to just keep my left hand warm.
The wind was angry that day my friends. Something like 100 mph gusts at some points. I even hit a 4 iron on one par 3 that was about 120 yards long, and still fell much short into a pot bunker which took me two tries to get out. But I got out nonetheless.
First tee. A little nervous. They have paired me up with an old Scot named William (go figure) and he is only playing 9 holes today. I'm a gentleman of course, and he tees off first. A nice solid slice, that he plays nicely, in the middle of the fairway. Oh shit, my turn, can't let this old fuck show me up. I do my routine, not as slow as I used to be, and absolutely crush the ball. As if I was using Tiger Woods' driver. OK, perhaps not Tigers today, but let's say Rory's club. As the ball lands, a wee bit to the right, William, or Bill as I called him, says, oh, forgot to mention, the first green is a temporary green today and its much closer than the 300 yards its listed at. At least that's what I think he said. If you want a linguistic adventure, go golfing with a Scotsman.
Walk up the fairway, smiling ear-to-ear, afterall, I am golfing in Scotland, you can't help but smile. Yes, me smiling while golfing. It was not glowing quit as much as it was when I shot a 74 with my old man before this trip however.
As I'm frantically looking for my ball, should be here on the fairway somewhere, I notice that there is a tiny white spot at the back of the green. I begin to walk towards this white figure, and low and behold, I over-drove the green. What a good feeling (even though it wasn't more than 250 yards or so away). I make a decent chip, to within, say 10 feet, and drain the putt. Man oh man, first hole in Scotland, birdie. Didn't even have my own clubs, and I birdie the first hole.
Alex - 1, home of golf - 0.
Now I'm excited, but, yeah you guessed it, the excitement didn't last for long when I went double, double, bogey, par, par, par, bogey, par afterwards. Still not a bad front nine... surely if I had my Scotty Cameron putter, I would have drained a few more putts I tell myself.
I make the turn with a cool crisp 43. And no mulligans, afterall, I'm golfing with Bill, a true Scotsman golfer.
The wind has died down a little bit for the back nine. William, decides that he is going to
keep playing with me. We have some good conversations between strokes, even though, at times, I don't understand a word he's saying. I few smile and nods here and there. Is he even speaking English?
But he only lasts for 3 holes on the back nine.
Anyway, blah, blah, blah, I shot a 40 on the back nine (37-33). Funny, 4 par 5's on the front nine, none on the back.
So I end with an 83. No mulligans... OK, one mulligan, only because in the middle of my set up, I start coughing uncontrollably, probably from God damn Amsterdam (kidding mom). Still I try to hit, and complete dough the ball within 10 yards. Ah, that deserves at least one mully I say. Who gives a shit, I'm golfing in Scotland. I just hope that the Gods didn't see and that this haunts me for the rest of my PGA Tour career.
Just had to go in depth there a little bit as I just got back, and am still beaming about my first round in the country that invented this most frustrating, yet incredibly gratifying sport.
At one point, my dad was William in my eyes. Not the same, that's for sure,but would have loved it if he were out there with me. We would have had a great time.
The sites were brilliant. The scenery, stunning. Got a few nice pictures, and even a video, of what turned out to be my best drive of the day. Sculled the next one, but still salvaged par.
Anyway, this is surely to be my last blog, unless of course the striking in France doesn't let up and I am stuck there for a few more days. Ah shucks! What a shame that would be. (Send money!)
I miss you all, and will be seeing most of you and will bore you to death with more stories such as this. Oh, and get the popcorn ready, I have something like 2000 pictures.
Golfing was a nice way to end, what has turned out to be the trip of a lifetime.
Thank you to all that have been following this. Its not easy writing these, especially with limited access to the internet, but I sincerely thank you. The feedback that I have been getting has been great, and very unexpected. I just wish I had more to write. That this adventure could continue, but as in life, all good things must come to an end.
But the adventure continues, and I hope to show you a nice, fresh, clean shaven Alex very soon.
Until next time. Keep fit, and have fun!