Golfing Odyssey Part 2 – original post 28/6/13

This will be my last blog post for a couple of weeks because we are off to Majorca tomorrow for a couple of weeks proper holiday. Will be a bit weird when I get back and don’t have to set the alarm for a flight to London on the Monday but for now just looking forward to a break and hopefully a good few miles with the sun on my back.

As promised (or threatened) I wanted to use this post mainly to update on my various golf trips. Last odyssey posting ended with the Alba trophy at Woking on 8 June. I was back on Caledonian Club duty for the match against the East India Club at the Berkshire on 11 June. This was great fun as I was partnered by Ross Gibbons who I found out a few months ago (at a dinner in the East India Club as it happens) was at school with my dad. Ross is a larger than life guy and fun company. Unfortunately, our golf was not up to the task and we lost our match – the team won though so hey!

The second trip that week was very special. A group of six of us eventually played at Sunningdale Old on Thursday 13 June as part of my retirement celebrations. It was fantastic to be with such close friends and the golf course is truly magnificent. Over and above, Sunningdale is a proper club and so the atmosphere was very warm and welcoming. I especially liked the small touch of putting a sheet on a lectern at the entrance welcoming all those who were bringing guests to the Club that day. It was made even more special because the top name on the sheet was the PGA of America. Not often I have been named on the same list with this body! The golf was followed by a curry with an expanded group of 12 in the evening and we proceeded to Huw’s media club for many a nightcap. All in all perfect way for me to sign off.

Onto the next stage and the quietest week of June golf wise with only one game that being at Royal Troon on 21 June. Again a group of 6 this time being those members of the Susan Boyle Society who managed to put the date in their diaries for the day. Messrs McKellar, Moultrie and Smyth were excellent hosts although there was a slight risk that Mr McKellar’s hospitality might overwhelm any prospect of golf. As it was we had a beautiful afternoon an one of the great classic links and despite some tiredness a wonderful and enjoyable game.

Finally onto this week and the Caledonian Club summer tour which took in the Jubilee, both Crail courses and Kingsbarns. I missed the Jubilee because I was at my first meeting of the advisory group I have joined at Stirling University. This did mean I had time to fit in a very nice 15km run from the Fairmont St Andrews Bay to Kingsbarns and back before joining the tour for dinner at the Rockies in Anstruther on Monday night. This is one of my favourite restaurants and it turned into a memorable evening with much singing and laughter. The highlight being a recitation of a poem by John Summers of Wurzels fame (but attributed to Pam Ayres) called Fifty Shades of Grey. Lyndsay Simon delivered this beautifully although even he struggled no to laugh and I think the two waitresses serving us were about to explode by the end.

Tuesday we played fourballs on Craighead followed by 14 holes of foursomes on the Balcomie. Thanks to some excellent golf by my partner Andrew Thomson we were victorious in the afternoon and amazingly my putter actually started to work. Anither evening at the delightful Forgan House, an R&A building overlooking the 18th on the Old Course with a truly splendin first floor function room and a balcony which was stunning on a perfect evening. Despite these exertions, we made it to Kingsbarns the next morning and I finally managed to play this beautiful links. It is a great and challenging layout but above all the visual aspect is simply breathtaking beating even Turnberry for its selection of views and vistas. I actually played really well for the first 12 holes as well before the elusive rhythm disappeared again.

Over these weeks, the quality of play has been decidedly mixed but the quality of the experience has been exceptional and the collection of golf courses and playing companions truly memorable. I am unlikely to have such a sustained and varied stretch of golf again for some time so my thanks to everyone who helped set it up and make it special. For the rest of you, I promise this will be much more of a running blog in the next few weeks. However, I will not post from Majorca so look forward to talking to you in a fortnight hopefully with many miles of good running to report.

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