Friday June 7 The Old Course
The Old course at St. Andrews Links (18 holes)
Almost a week in Scotland and finally after many years of dreaming about this, I wake this morning to a dream come true. Today I have the honor and the privilege of teeing it up on the Old Course, arguably THE most famous golf course in all the world. Nothing in my golfing life to this point can compare to what this moment and this experience is going to be. Anyone who loves this game like I do knows how influential and significant The history of the Old Course is. It’s considered by many to be the “home of golf” because the sport was first played on the Links at St. Andrews in the early 1400s. The course evolved through the years from 22 holes to 18 holes, with that becoming the traditional number of holes for all future courses. Old Tom Morris designed the 1st and 18th holes. The Old Course is synonymous with The Open Championship, hosting this major 28 times since 1873, more than any other course. The Open is still played there every five years. There is rich history all around this hallowed ground. Every significant golfer from the past and present has walked these fairways and greens. Interestingly the Old Course is still closed on Sundays to let the course rest. On Sundays the course turns into a park for all the townspeople to come out for a stroll, picnic and otherwise to enjoy the grounds. I know what I am doing on my first morning in St. Andrews.
The great Bobby Jones loved this course and this town. There are two quotes about St. Andrews and the Old Course from him that will forever resonate with me. Firstly Bobby said of the Old Course “If I had to select one course upon which to play the match of my life, I should have selected the Old Course.” In 1958 the town of St. Andrews gave Mr. Jones the key to the city, becoming only the second American to receive the honor. After he received the key, he was quoted saying “I could take out of my life everything but my experiences here in St. Andrews and I would still have had a rich and full life,” which is a testament to the pedigree of the Old Course and to the people of St. Andrews. Can you say anything nicer than that? I think not.
That being said, standing on that first tee friday morning will I be nervous? Will I stripe it down the fairway on #1 with all those tourists and townspeople that gather around behind the first tee looking on? Will I be able to pull the trigger and make a nice, smooth swing? You bet I will. I’ve waited a long time for this moment and I’m going to enjoy every second of it. It’s not every day of your life you get to cross off a “bucket List” item. Today I do. 18 holes of pure heaven. I can already see that picture of our group taken on the Swilcan Bridge that crosses #18 hanging on my wall at home. Sadly after the last putt drops on #18, and the customary handshakes between playing partners and caddies are exchanged, our golf journey in this historical Kingdom will come to an end. I can think of no better way to end our golf journey through St. Andrews and Scotland than on this precious land where golf began so long ago. That is perfect symmetry in my mind. Wouldn’t you agree? However a hole-in-one would work too, but that’s just wishful thinking huh?