Day 6: Brutalized
Woke up after a good night's sleep. For the next couple nights our home away from home was a guest house in Prestwick, about 30 miles south of Glasgow. Oh, and across the street from Prestwick Golf Club, where early Open Championships were played ...
Another great place to stay. Can't recommend the guest houses highly enough, really nice people, reasonable rates and very, very comfortable.
We had a late afternoon tee time so we played tourist for most of the day, driving down the coast. We stopped at Culzean Castle, which is very cool. It's an estate and run by the National Trust.
Very much worth the visit. You can't take pictures inside (probably because you'd want to take pictures of everything and it would cause all sorts of problems) but it's pretty amazing. Some of the random things that impressed me - the 30'+ ceilings, a kitchen with hundreds of copper pots hanging on the wall, the enormous portrait of Napoleon brought back from the wars against him by one of the historical owners of the place, lots of stuff.
It also has an amazing walled garden:
Plus a deer park and lots more. It was definitely worth the stop.
"But what's all this non-golf crap," you say? Okay, fine. After grabbing a quick lunch it was back up the road to play golf. The day's destination: Western Gailes
Holy cow. Hardest. Course. Ever.
You know that wispy stuff you just saw at Muirfield? Well this course has that in abundance, except at the bottom the grass is lush, green, thick as hell and you can't find your ball. Hit it just a bit off line? Goodbye ball.
Add in some blind or semi-blind shots and the crummiest yardage book of the trip (seriously, why not put obvious landmarks or some commentary on there?) and it was incredibly, incredibly hard. I mean it when I say it was the hardest course I've ever seen.
We paused for a minute on the 8th tee. At that point I thought I was down to 2 golf balls remaining ... after losing them at about a one per hole pace.
And I realized that I was tired. This was not so good.
Western Gailes had more bunkers with stairs than anywhere else. By far.
Hard. I don't know what I shot -- the scorecard was an inspired work of pure fiction -- but I'm reasonably certain that playing by the rules I would not have broken 100.
I am not complaining. I would LOVE to play this course again. Several times, in fact. Next time, though, I would be rested, take my vitamins and be prepared. On this day, I was not. Whew. By the time we were finished I felt like I'd been run over by one of the trains that runs frequently along the boundary of the course.
4 hours and 45 minutes, way slower than pace and a slog. I was glad that we went off as a 2 ball -- we left the 4 ball behind us (with caddies) in the dust, slow as we were.
Still, it was another picture perfect evening and a relaxing pint on the deck made it all better. We had the place to ourselves - other than the manager and the bartender - until the group behind us finally came in.
I somehow managed not to lose another ball on the last 10 holes but it was nerve-wracking - I have never, ever been in a position where running out of balls is a possibility. My companion was losing them at a faster pace than I was, so no chance of getting more there.
Another amazing day. Short drive back to town, a lasagna dinner and I crashed hard. Glad to be able to sleep in.