Appropriately, the final leg of this Scottish Tour brought us to a nostalgic Old Tom Morris course ten miles south of St. Andrews called the Crail Balcomie Links. The Crail Golfing Society was instituted in 1786 and is the seventh oldest golf club in the world.
In 1895 Old Tom was commissioned to lay out the Balcomie Links on the high bluffs above the beaches of Fife and what he produced was a tightly configured set of wind blown links and vistas that are drop dead gorgeous.
A simple and functional golf shop will facilitate your Crail journey.
As opposed to a much more lavish club house for the members with hallways full of historic memorabilia and an incredible view of the links and shore line below.
The shore vistas from these high promontories show the wedding of sand, grass,rocks, and blue waters as only nature can present them.
Walking over the hill from the teeing ground at seven the fairway flows briskly down to the sea.
The rocky shoreline which appears and disappears with the daily tides must be a laboratory for the local ecosystem.
The sixteenth green, totally exposed to the winds, stands in sharp contrast to a crystal blue horizon created by the North Sea.
The thirteenth at Crail is thing of lore. There is little doubt that in Michael Murphy mystical book “Golf In The Kingdom” this is the hole on which the master teacher Shivas Irons makes his magical hole in one in the middle of the night. It can be driver into the wind to traverse this grass covered stone wall to a green sprawling on the high bluff next to the golf shop.
The face of the bluff has huge stone quarry presence which would also provide a home for the cave of Seamus Mcduff seer/mentor to Shivas in the book.
Quite an inspirational view for Seamus from one of the caves overlooking the beach.
How about this view from the high tee on 17…. the hole just seems to flow right into the seaside environment.
Golf was actually contemplated this day….
Holding the pose as the strike was pure and true….at least in the mind of the beholder.
The final three par crosses a hedge of gorse at the foot of the quarry bluff….the stone wall that frames the green is just a perfect accent feature.
The perfect epilogue to our tour of Northern Scotland was a visit to St. Andrews including some fine Scottish-American cuisine at Ziggy’s.
One has to pay respects to the elders……
The R & A headquarters looms over the first tee and last green on the Old Course.
Auchterlonies is one of the most famous club makers at the home of golf… whose presence dates back to the era of Old Tom.
One final set of smirks at the tee box of the Road Hole after a walking review of the Old Course. Can you tell whether we had a good time or not?
(some images provided by J. Polsky Sportography)
For more detail click to see the Crail Balcomie Links Review