I have a friend who maintains that nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. Monday showed that is incorrect. A round of golf at Carluke GC with my older brother Archie followed by The Eagles concert at the Hydro in Glasgow at night. Two strands of my earlier life clasping each other.
I get a great view down into the Clyde Valley as I cut across the moors and come out of Strathaven. A sepia picture from years ago. Dark rain clouds gathering from all of Lanarkshire and converging on my home town! So another round at Carluke in bad weather!! I had phoned my brother on the way to confirm he still wanted to play. Archie was keen to see me. It was the correct decision.
Over the years I have been lucky enough to be able to combine two of my sporting loves, Motherwell Football Club and golf, by playing with some of the Clubs legends. Starting with Ian St John (a fiftieth birthday present and another chapter) and more recently, 2008, in Dougie Arnott’s testimonial day at Carluke Golf Course. Dougie is still, I think, the only player to win cup medals at amateur, junior and senior level in Scotland. The scorer of two great goals in the cup semi-final against Celtic in 1991. The year we won the cup again!!
Peter Alliss – Eric Brown – Marcel Proust – Swinley Forest
I can find no evidence that Marcel Proust was a keen golfer, or indeed ever picked up a club. Pity!! If he had been, one of the seminal novels of the 20th century, would have found a much bigger audience. Instead of the protagonist’s memory being awoken by the smell of a madeleine biscuit, it would have been triggered by a golf shot at Combray June 1907. Last hole of the monthly Stableford. A five nett four for the two points needed to pick up the sweep money. But a badly sliced drive into the bank of rhododendrons by the clubhouse, a futile search for the ball, 3 off the tee and in the end an ugly 7. One of the great masterpieces of world literature have had a much more inclusive theme – ‘A la recherché du balle de golfe perdu’.
Yaya Toure and Machrihanish
The area of the 13th green at Machrihanish on which it is possible to land a ball and get it close to the pin is smaller than?
1 Yaya Toure’s birthday cake
2 The moral compass used by Yaya Toure’s agent
3 Yaya Toure’s weekly pay packet made up in £10 notes
A course set out initially in 1876, extended by Old Tom Morris to 18 holes from the original 10, and later slightly amended by Open champion J H Taylor and Sir Guy Campbell. In an era when virtually all courses have face lifts, tucks and liposuction Machrihanish remains its own self. Proud of its lines, wrinkles and creases – Machrihanish is driving Miss Daisy.
I am tired after Gailes but excited about playing this iconic links course. Consistently voted as one of the top 50 in the UK, a place of pilgrimage for Americans, one I haven’t played.