I have never been a fan of Lou Reed. A vastly overrated songwriter and performer in my view and, from most accounts, not a particularly pleasant human being. He also suffered from not being a golfer or Motherwell supporter so, all In all, not the sort of chap my pals and I would have been keen to hang out with!!
But he did write two decent songs and one is playing as I switch on the radio in my car on my pilgrimage across Central Scotland. It proves to be the perfect theme for a perfect day.
I haven’t planned my itinerary well. Spent last night in Edinburgh and am now having to return to Irvine for my regular dental check up with the hygienist, Liz Paterson, so not an ideal start. But I get chatting and find she is an avid golfer who plays at Loudoun and was involved in a ‘Ryder Cup’ match at the weekend at the club. (She was Jim Furyk). We are soon exchanging favourite courses and stories -well as best I can with a probe in my mouth – and the whole process goes from a (painful?) chore to good fun. Never enjoyed a trip to the dentist as much. We end up talking about Silloth-on-Solway which I am hoping to play this month. Liz tells me she and her husband were down walking in the lakes recently and had just started a march round the coastal paths which run beside the course when they spotted an old friend playing the first – Bill Lockie the former pro at Kilmarnock Barassie. (See the previous blog. I met him with my brother and son when we played that course. Spooky or not? No. Not really.)
I drive from Irvine to Carluke Golf Course in glorious sunshine, along the moors between Darvel and Strathaven to meet my brother Archie and my son John. What a contrast in the weather from the last time (Carluke and the Eagles post). I have a really good feeling about the round.
I am correct. What a fantastic time and family gathering. Archie still plays most week days and is delighted to be out with John and me. That is reflected in the quality of the golf. Haven’t seen Archie play better in years. He gets it away from the tee and although he is not long manages to put together a lot of good holes and some pars. Rattling the ball into the cup just like he did at his peak. (Archie was always a better putter than me and his short game generally was also a notch above mine). John drives well, sacrificing some distance for accuracy and pitches solidly. I have my best round since my renaissance. With a bit more accuracy I could have threatened 70. Miss the green at 1-3-4 with nine iron, wedge and eight respectively and don’t get up and down on any of them. But I hit it really well and card a 73. Admittedly we are playing from the yellows so the course is only 5700 from those tees but it is still gratifying and I feel great as we march round. I whisper to Archie and John that I now have a new handicap (I am semi-ashamed to admit to 13. That is a separate narrative) but it does mean that my birdie putt at the last is for a nett 59. I ram it 10 ft past in my excitement and just manage to get the next one to trickle into the side of the hole. Shades of my past and a previous 59 when I was a young teenager. (Posted in Glasgow Gailes Medal 18 May). This is as good. With Archie and John, in sunshine on a course in great nick. Finish with a drink sitting outside the clubhouse at the side of the 18th green. Talking about how marvellous it was. How much we enjoyed playing and seeing Archie as energised. Pint of lager, bag of crisps and a dime bar!! Perfect aperitif for my evening meal – in Edinburgh at a fantastic Thai – Passorn. I saddle up. Back on the road again – but no dog for company!! A perfect cameo of golf and family that keeps me smiling all the way through.
Greens in regulation 10/18=55% – good
Fairways 12/14= 85% – best yet
Putts 31 again best yet
3 birdies 9 pars 6 bogies. No double bogies no sixes. Lowest round so far!!
Par 70 from the yellows. Shot 73