St. Andrews . . .

Trip Start Sep 03, 2007
Trip End Sep 14, 2007

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Where I stayed
Garfield House Bed & Breakfast

Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Friday, September 7, 2007

I woke up at 4:30 without an alarm, like a kid on Christmas morning.  Unfortunately, I had no stack of Garfield cartoon books to pass the time, so I went ahead and got ready.  I drove into to town around five, and parked the car at 5:10am.  To get on as a single to the Old Course, you have to get in line and hope that plenty of people don't show up.  The odds were against me, though.  The weather had been perfect, and it was again supposed to be beautiful today.  Also, the Royal and Ancient Club was holding their meetings over the next week, so many of the tee times were taken by the members of the R&A.  I got to the Starter's building at 5:15, only to find out that I was 20th in line.  It was freezing cold, and completely pitch black, but I was 20th.  The first in line had arrived at 3:45am to get their place.  Although I wanted to play this course, I was not that crazy.  Keep in mind I went to bed at about 12:30am, so on four hours sleep my game would not have been in tip top shape. 

I hovered around the building until 6:40 when the starter showed up, took my name, and put me on the list.  With that, I left and went back to the B&B for breakfast, knowing that I would not get on to the Old Course this time.  There were only six open slots all day, and with the weather being as good as it was, I had no chance.  Breakfast was the same - brilliant and bloating.  After I unbuckled the pants and shoehorned my way out of the chair, I changed and walked around town.  Although I am shamed to admit it, I know I had a more enjoyable day walking the the town than if I had played golf.  My game has been in the tank and I was working on 4 hours sleep, so the day off helped.  The sun was out in force, so I walked along the beach to St. Andrews Castle.  After that, I made my way to the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral, which has been in existence since the 1300's.  The ruins are impressive, and they give you signs to where everything would have been.  I had to laugh as the only churches I ever go into are the ones that are completely destroyed!  Probably one of my ancestors went in this one and that's what caused it to cave in on itself.  (Side note:  actually it was a number of sieges that laid waste to the Cathedral, but . . . )

Inside the ruins were the gravestones of many of the town's prominent citizens - the most visited would be the grave of Young Tom Morris who died of pneumonia at 25, but everyone knows he died of a broken heart.  He passed away three months after his wife died while giving birth to their first child.  The child did not make it either.  He was THE best golfer in the world by age 21 - Tiger Woods before Tiger Woods' parents were born - he was the first to win three consecutive Open Championships, after which they retired the red leather belt given to the winner (hence now the reason why there is a Claret Jug - they had to find something else to give as the prize).  I climbed up St. Rule's Tower (100+ ft.) for awesome views of the town.  After lunch, I went down to the Old Course once again and simply sat in the sun and watched golfers finish the round.  A sense of quiet settles over the entire place as the lucky few stride up the fairway of the last hole, hoping to see a special shot (or a duffed shot perhaps).

I poked around the area, then went into the British Golf Museum which is a very interesting 40 minute trip through the history of golf.  I left feeling very good about the whole situation - not depressed at all at not being able to play - I know I will be back.  I actually went to the practice area on the way out and hit some balls to try to work a couple things out.  Don't know if they will work or not!  After that I drove on through Dundee over the Tay Road Bridge which was very long over very deep water.  I didn't stop in Dundee, but it was a very bustling, industrial city.  I will certainly try to swing back through on my return journey to Edinburgh.  The drive from Dundee took me through Coupar Angus and on to Blairgowrie.  This is the lower foothills of the Highlands, and it shows.  Very brilliant terrain.  Landed a B&B near town, walked into Blairgowrie for dinner.  Got a three course meal for 9.95 pounds ($20) - breaded mushroom app., lamb with mash, caramel creme.  After getting up at 4:30 and walking all day, it was definitely time for bed. 
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