Wednesday, August 7th
Up before 8am for an early tee time on the New Course. Now new is relative as it was built in 1895 by none other than Old Tom Morris. Grab some breakfast to go, sling the clubs over my back and trek down the hill towards the links eating on the way while watching the fog burn off the North Sea. It's the little things like this that are just so cool.
Very little going on at the New, we were free to tee off at our leisure. Great course, technically better than the Old, but just not near the magic. The weather was absolutely perfect, maybe 60 degrees with little wind.
Tough lie on the front nine.
One of the better views from a tee on the New.
Shot 70, 1-under with a nice little 3-under 32 on the back. Decide to have lunch at the clubhouse overlooking 1 green on the Old as well as the Himalayas, the incredible putting course. That's a story as well, there are actually putting clubs that have events on this course. When we were there I think a round cost one pound.
During lunch we run into the couple from Heathrow Airport and East Texas, they had a great time in the Ayrshire area but were looking forward to St. Andrews. After lunch we were walking back to the hotel but I had tons of energy and it was our last day in town. I made the impulsive decision to put my name on the walk up list to play the Old Course again. Knew there would be spots available but had no clue as to how many walk ups were on the list in front of me.
Walked around town for a spell before heading back to wait. Grabbed a Coke and a Snickers and sat between 1 tee and 18 green to take it all in, another near-perfect moment. After a while, an American came strolling by and was informing all who would listen that he was canceling his tee time because him and his buddies had played the course the day before and hated it! We kind of thought he was joking, but he wasn't. Walked up to the starter's shack and canceled his time. These are the kind of things that cause me to make fun of Yankee golfers even though I am one. But who cares? Immediately four spots just opened up for walk ups! Sure enough, 60 seconds later my name is called! Paired with two guys from Oregon and one from Finland who spoke little English.
With all of us carrying our own clubs we set out on the oldest course on the planet with the sun shining brightly over us. Now the Fin wasn't the best golfer, but he played fast and took it seriously. Had trouble on the par 4 2nd and was in the back greenside bunker in 5 or 6. He was up against the lip so was forced to play out backwards. With the heavy sand in Scotland you have to take a bigger swing in order to get the ball out of the bunker, and he took a near full swing just in case. Unfortunately he caught the ball clean and sent it at least 100 yards away from the green and down 16 fairway! The rest of us nearly toppled over laughing while the Fin sprinted down the fairway to recover his ball and finish the hole, which he eventually did in approximately 15 strokes according to my notes. And all the while muttering to himself in Finnish. It was awesome.
Wasn't playing my best through 6 holes and was 1-over with a birdie and two bogies, but then the magic happened. Pitched on #7 and made a short putt for birdie. Hit a good shot to the par-3 8th and made the birdie putt. Another short putt for birdie followed on the short 9th. Once again drove the par 4 10th to the surprise of my playing partners. A monster putt awaited me and I needed the pin tended as I could not see the hole at all. Gave the putt a firm rap and await the result, the pin was pulled and I couldn't see the hole again. Suddenly my ball disappeared! OhwowIjustmadeaneagleatthehomeofgolf! I swear my dick got rock hard and was dragging on the green as I went to retrieve my ball.
Probably got way too excited as I bogeyed 11, didn't birdie 12, and bogeyed 13. Calmed down by the time we got to the par 5 14th. Bombed a drive and then crushed a fairway metal which we found in the middle of the green once we got down there. A 30-footer awaited, but not for long. It dove into the hole like a scared rabbit. Holy****IjustmadeasecondeagleontheOldCourse! Once again did a tripod walk to the hole to get my ball grinning like a maniac.
Birdied 16 and then once again faced the Road Hole. Another perfect drive over the sheds leaving a good look at the green with the pin in the back. Didn't want to leave myself a monster putt from the front of the green so took an aggressive line over the Road Hole Bunker with a 7-iron which found the edge of the putting surface. A risky shot but it worked out. So of course you know what's coming on this magical day. An firm putt misses the hole and rolls past, and then I miss the comebacker. Mother****ing****I3puttedthisholeagain! So to this day I still haven't parred the Road Hole.
By this time by Dad has ambled down the hill after a nice nap and inquired how I was playing. His eyes bugged out when I gave him the quick details. A good drive and a pitch to the last left a makeable putt but I just couldn't get it to fall, but it did make for a good picture.
The final total was 68, 2 eagles, 5 birdies, and 5 bogies. Plus a lifetime of stories. I just played 36 holes of golf at St. Andrews with absolutely perfect weather. Wow, just wow. So awesome. I was starving however and we had an excellent dinner. I devoured a huge steak and probably one of everything else on the menu. Needless to say I slept soundly that night.