Now, I love to ski. But rarely do I enter a town on a golf trip, steeped by the golf on offer. A ski town is usually defined by the towering mountains above, and the sliding to be had. When you arrive of an evening, you drink it all in. Sensing the adrenaline starting to course, at the prospect of boarding that stationary and alluring lift system the next morning, and reaching impossibly up into the distant and majestic massifs. To plant some turns.
Soon, you will set off for that expectant and anticipant sleep. If you can. But the adrenaline is flowing now, and the pulsing town nestling in the valley, has its soul intrinsically throbbing with the sport, and pulls you into the intoxicating revelry, spurred on by your wide eyed friends.
So it is, that St Andrews is similarly alive with Golf. Its beating granite heart, is fed by the links just steps away from the main street; and ably supported by some terrific supporting courses you can’t see. You might happen upon the links by accident. By an unassuming alley, ambling between humble Victorian terraces. As you tumble down to the sea. The shimmering metaled road, giving over to that iconic timeless lawn, bordered by white picket fences. They can't contain the aura that draws us all from the world over. This is our town.
Playing the Old Course is a visceral and unforgettable journey that you won’t recall for the holes of golf. Because it’s a swirling enigma. A chameleon that you won’t recognise from one outing to the next. It’s a shape shifter that is beguilingly familiar, yet starkly idiosyncratic and strange. It’s a joy that will disorientate and leave you swirling. It can combine the plain with the absurd. It can flatter you and it can annihilate. Every course you have ever played has this DNA running through it.
We played in the dying days of this awful medieval winter of child saints, plagues and tempests. The scaffolds were up on the Royal and Ancient, and out on the links itself, in various ways. The few fairways we hit, we played from matts. I counted 6 shots played from my rug, out of 70 blows. The long shots were infinitely less impacted than the diggy short shots. But for half the price you are still here. On the old Course. In St Andrews. Bliss.
Date: March 11, 2020