case you haven't looked at Day 7 yet, I'm not on my way to Paris tonight.
I missed my opportunity to play Troon yesterday because of traffic.
The next day that they allow visitors to play is Monday. That, combined
with the fact that due to changes in the plans of friends I was meeting
in Paris, convinced me that I'd enjoy 4 more days of golf (surprise)
more that I'd enjoy 4 days in Paris alone. Now I'm going to be able
to play Turnberry as well (a wonderful addition).
I got lost on my way to Prestwick. It's only about 3 miles from
where I slept, but I got caught in a roundabout trick that I had
never seen before. I needed to turn right (across traffic) on a
dual carrageway. There was a "turnaround roundabout" especially
made to make a U-turn. I was in "rush hour" traffic and
missed the exit for it. This meant I to go to the next exit to turn
around, which was about 10 miles. So my 10 minute drive turned into
a half hour, and I barely made my tee time.
Well, my luck
finally caught up with me. First, there was the weather. Just as
I hopped to the first tee still tying my shoes, it began to pour.
I pulled on my rainsuit and took the 4-iron that the caddy handed
me. Now I don't know about you, but hitting a four-iron off the
first tee in the pouring rain without a single warm-up swing and
the next foursome of members waiting (not all that patiently) is
not my idea of a perfect start. Thankfully, I didn't chunk it, but
I did hit it about 30 degrees left of the line I was given.
is famous for it's hidden pins and blind tee shots. The first hole
is an absolutely blind tee shot which requires any shot except the
one I hit. I ended up deep in the gorse, which is a prickely, evergreen
bush that will peel the skin off any appendage that is stuck into
it. That was the first ball I've lost in Scotland.
After a double-bogey
on the first, the rain picked up a bit an we moved on to a simple
par 3. Simple, that is, if you have any idea what to do - which
I didn't. My caddy, Chris, gave me a line and I hit a ball almost
perfectly on it - with the emphasis on almost. Chris said "Eye
theenk, thart may be shuort Danne." It was. In fact it was
in a 10-foot deep pot bunker in front of the green. I had to chip
out backwards - twice - and proved the saying that "par's so
nice, I shot it twice."
On top of all
this, I was playing alone, and still holding up the foursome behind
me. The rain and my triple-bogeys continued on the next hole, but
after that, I calmed down, put a little distance between myself
and the group behind me, and actually salvaged a decent front nine
which included a birdie and a par.
As we turned
for the inward nine, the rain stopped but my game only marginally
improved. All in all though, I had an acceptable round and a great
time talking to my caddy, who showed me the layout of the original
12-hole course which was first laid out over 400 years ago and took
a photo of me in front of the plaque designating the spot of the
first tee for the first ever British Open.
This marker shows the spot where they started the first British
Open. It's off to the side of the course, near the parking lot.
Only one of the original holes is still in play like it was
then - the 17th. The traditional green for the old first hole
is now the 17th tee.
is the view from the 17th tee. The marker above is on the far
right, just to the right of the white two-story building.
is the approach shot I had on the 18th. It finally shopped raining
on the 15th.
because I didn't have to rush to catch a plane, stopped in at the
local pub "Prestwick House" and had a pint. Then I took
a stroll down on the seafront in Prestwick. This is the view back
towards Troon from the coast. If you look closely, you can see the
Marine Hotel at Royal Troon on the horizon.
tomorrow night, I'm staying with Mrs Tweedy at "The Cherries",
another B&B in Troon. Continuing in the Mel Gibson therme, she
even sort of sounds like her namesake in "Chicken Run"
but there's no coup, so I'm pretty sure it's not her. This was arranged
by Geoff Russon from Advie House because he was booked up for these
nights, but I'll be back with him Sunday night. The place really
is a garden, you could putt anywhere on her lawn, but what impressed
me was the view out of my window which looks out on the back nine
of Royal Troon. I don't know if you can see it in this photo, but
the specks in the center of the shot are golfers.