I wake up feeling a little delicate (must be the long journey not the drink) but am soon restored by a huge bacon sandwich and 3 large cups of tea. The weather looks ok – the forecast is heavy rain at some point – and after gathering ourselves we head to the course for what turns into one of the most important junctures in the story so far.
Jim has been singing the praises of his distance finder – the Bushnell and the huge difference it has made to his game, particularly his short game. I have seen him use it before but not given it much attention. I am a traditionalist – at present – believing that judgement of distance by eye is an integral component of the game. I am about to be converted!!
A long drive down from Ayrshire, the last part the worst with delays all the way along the M42 until Junction 3 which leads to the course. More and more excited as I approach Fulford – so many memories. The course my boys grew up playing. I remember taking them after work and in the evening at weekends. Great fun and hugely worthwhile as they matured into very good golfers. This couldn’t be a better timed return as Jim won the club championship last weekend.
I park and wander through the archway to the patio in front of the first tee. They are standing with their backs to me. It is so emotive to watch them. Worth the journey just for that moment, looking out at my second home in golf with my sons framed at the side of the tee (not knowing I am there).
Specially designed by the Almighty for playing golf (Old Tom Morris)
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.
Don’t Look Back in Anger
No one is quite sure when the course was first used but it has gone through 3 iterations since I played it in the 1950s. The course then had no official car park, just a rough road to some waste ground at the side of the first green. Very few cars. Virtually all the members walked from the town as I did all the years I played there.
No 1 – Deer Park. A true par 5 in the conditions. Bairds’ Burn on the left hand side coupled with rough trees and bunkers. So the shot is straight or up the right hand side on this right to left dog leg. Robert, a 20 handicapper, understands that and hits a very good ball, dead centre. (He only took the game up recently to give him a sport he could play with his teenage son.) I have played all my life and don’t. I pull my drive.
Amanda asks a slightly non-caddy type question. ‘Where did it go?’