Legends of the links (part 3)

29 05 2010

Ireland + Scotland Golf Trip May 2010


From left to right: the Great Robinski, Glennie P, the Chief, Bagger Dave

Heroes and villains. Friends and foes. It all depends on who your partner is on any given day. Take the Chief, for example; splendid fellow on Monday when he was my partner at Cashen, pretty much beating the Evil Empire (Robin and Glennie) single handed, but turned into the devil incarnate yesterday at Kingsbarns when Glennie was now one of the good guys (i.e. my partner) and Robin and the Chief were wearing the black hats. I was lucky enough to hit a good drive on the tricky first hole. (The marshall’s comment after seeing my colleagues’ tee shots all disappear into the gorse: “Well, at least one of yous seems to have some kind of idea of what you’re supposed to be doing”). Anyway, my second shot was equally good – improbable, I know – and finished about 12 feet from the pin. As I lined up the putt Adrian said, with more than a hint of menace, “If you sink this, I’m going to put this flagstick where the sun don’t shine”. Needless to say I brookered it, leaving it at least two feet short. That was also the last birdie chance I had for about two hours…

It’s painfully clear by now that the true legend of the links on the tour is none other than Rockin’ Robin himself. An 83 at Kingsbarns after a tough day on the New Course leaves him so far ahead of the field on nett scores that I refuse to announce them out loud any more at the post match debriefing in the pub. My own typical hole has gone as follows: decent drive, poor approach, bad chip, two (sometimes three) putts = bogey (or worse). Adrian veers between brilliant and disastrous. Always long off the tee, it’s then a question of whether we can find his ball in a patch of the short green stuff or whether it’s skulking somewhere in the gorse. Glennie’s balls seem to have some kind of homing device implanted in them which seeks out any pot bunker in the vicinity – and, trust me, there’s plenty to choose from. (On re-reading that sentence I’m a bit concerned about a possible double entendre, but what the hey). One of my abiding memories will be of Glennie reaching out of a bunker with his club to poke check a ball that he’d just played out skilfully, that had reached the green but then caught the slope and was rolling right back to where he’d played it from. Robin just keeps rolling along. For the most part with skill, but the odd bit of good fortune too, which never hurts. On the short par three 13th at Kingsbarns yesterday he sliced his tee shot (understandably, as it runs right along the ocean) and narrowly missed a group of greenskeepers. Apologies were duly made and accepted and the search for the ball began. There was some pretty scary love grass around and it was looking as if Robin would have to make the walk of shame back to the tee. Just at that moment Adrian shouted out that he’d found the ball – it was lying on the floor of the greenkeeper’s cart. A free drop, a deft chip and a short putt and Robin walked off the green with a par. So it goes..

We tee off at the Old Course exactly two hours from now and I’m surprisingly nervous.  (Actually, given the state of my game, I think it makes perfect sense to be nervous. After all, it’s not every day you get the chance to embarrass yourself at the Home of Golf). I went for a walk this morning around the beautiful city of St Andrews to calm down a bit and took a swack of pictures. Hopefully, with Ben’s help, I’ll learn how to download them so you can see some of the better ones. I also have a slew of on- course pictures: Glennie in a pot bunker, Robin meeting a goat on the side of a mountain, Adrian far away in the gorse, that sort of thing.

I’ll give you an update after the round if I can, but in the meantime – wish me luck. On present form I’m certainly going to need it…

All da best.

Dave B.

Update (6 hours later):

Thank you, golf gods! 80 on the Old Course! I can pretty much die happy now. When I get back home I’ll tell you how it came to be that I was standing in a pot bunker on the dreaded par 5 14th, soaked to the skin, having to chip out sideways and thinking ‘It doesn’t get any better than this…’

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4 responses

29 05 2010
Martin

Hi Dave,
Enjoyed the post. Great to read that you’re all having such a great time! Keep up the good work on the posts. Thanks for the time and efforts. There’s a book in here somewhere.
Martin

30 05 2010
Bagger Dave

Hi Martin. Any book about my standard of play on this trip will be along the lines of a Shakespearean tragedy. Just ignore me if I start on about my round at St Andrews, though – I may prattle on for some time: “The day the golf gods smiled…”

29 05 2010
Bandito Juan

Hi Guys, just read all the blogs- great writing Dave. Sounds like you’re having unadulterated fun. Watching my septic tanks go in this week was more excitement than I could bear. Enjoy soggy and damp where you are as it’s the same here. I’ll contact Michael- Julie’s man. He’s in St. Andrews and I’m sure he can show you things there that will be beyond logic. Last day of the shoot out today, and I played with Mike W. We played well as there was not a pot bunker in sight. Speaking of in sight, when confronted with the prospect of a 8ft sheer wall of a links bunker, the moment does provide one with a most uncomfortable insight into one’s psyche.
Look forward to hearing your recount your adventures over a cold, frothy one. The bretheren of the pure ale you are sinking your teeth into over there.
Hay no dios en una pot bunker solo el diablo. Verdad!
Adios, Juan

30 05 2010
Bagger Dave

I’ll be seeing pot bunkers in my dreams (nightmares?) for some time to come, John. Your reference to the septic tank is in fact an accurate metaphor for the state of my game. Thank God for the Miracle of the Old Course…

Gotta go. Carnastie awaits…

Dave

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