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Ernie Payne has played the hole lot

20 October, 2006

Ernie Payne has played the hole lot - 20th October 2006

Golf-mad granddad Ernie Payne putted his way to a place in history – by becoming the first player ever to complete every course in Scotland.

According to the Daily Record, published on Friday October 20th, golf-mad granddad Ernie Payne reckons he's putted his way to a place in history – by becoming the first player ever to complete every course in Scotland.

Ernie, 60, has tackled 578 courses in 15 years - teeing off everywhere from the Old Course at St Andrews to the new layout on the Orkney isle of South Ronaldsay.

And yesterday (19th October 2006), as he walked off the 18th at Kingsbarns in Fife, he declared that he had finally reached the end of his golfing grand tour.

Ernie said: "It was an emotional moment on the last green when I finished. Once I started out on this, I wasn't going to give up. I've got score cards for all the courses, and I challenge anyone to find one I haven't played. I'm so confident that I'm offering 12 new golf balls to anybody who can name one. And if they can, I will play it."

Sales executive Ernie, of Johnstone, Renfrewshire, plays off 11 at his home course, Cochrane Castle. But since 1991, he has been crisscrossing the country with his clubs on his quest for the record. Ernie said: "Golf is in my blood. My father was club secretary at Lochwinnoch and obsessed with the sport, and my brother is a professional. When I got serious about trying to play every course, the first thing to do was to find out where they all were. I found a guidebook which was helpful but not completely correct. It listed 563 but I've found another 15 since the beginning of the year."

Ernie estimates that he has spent £60,000 on the record bid, including £20,000 on green fees. But he insisted: "The money's not important. It's about doing something I love. Loch Lomond was the most expensive course at £185 a round. At one point I was considering skipping on from a boat. But I eventually managed to get on for far less than the full price because I knew a member. Carnoustie is also expensive at £125 a round. But again, I had a contact up there.

I've found that people have been really generous over the years. You can get on to most courses at a discount if you go at the right time and have the right connections. Golf courses are generally very friendly places. Some can be a bit stuffy and awkward but I don't want to name those. The most friendly club was perhaps Whalsay up in Shetland. The weather was terrible but I came across some men cutting the greens who were also local fishermen. They gave me loads of help and were a great laugh. Westray on Orkney had loads of great characters. When the club secretary heard what I was doing, he let me on for half price and asked me to present some awards to members in the clubhouse. One of the most difficult courses to get on to was Muirfield. I got a phone call from some people I'd been working with to say they were taking clients but one man had dropped out. I said I would cut my arm off for the opportunity to play there and jumped at the chance to go with them. After Muirfield, I got really serious about collecting all my score cards and playing every course."

Ernie gave a quality rating to every course he played, ranking them from "albatross" to "double bogey". He said: "There are a lot of very good courses out there. But taking all factors into account, including layout, condition and scenery, I would have to say Loch Lomond is the best. I don't want to say which was worst but the most difficult without a doubt was the one on the Isle of Coll.”


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