Postcard From Streamsong

On a recent buddies trip we had 16 guys spend four invigorating days at Streamsong, the destination golf resort in central Florida.  Streamsong has it all, three supreme golf courses, a couple of happy hour extras in a 6-hole approach and putt course as well as a massive recreational putting green,  a wonderful upscale hotel with all the accommodation elements you would expect, and food that far surpassed our buddy trip standards.

Streamsong sits in the middle of nowhere on thousands of acres of what used to be a major phosphate mining operation.  The owners realized that, with the insight of the game’s top design teams,  the sandy soil along with the topographical remains of the mining operation could be made into a bunch of very unique walking golf courses that are anything but Florida typical.

Typical vista from the the Black Course…..Dorothy can you believe this is Florida?

In 2012 the placed opened with the first two courses, the Blue Course by Tom Doak and the Red Course by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw making an immediate splash to rave reviews.  Having clocked over 30,000 rounds each of these two layouts, the owners opened the Gil Hanse Black Course in the fall of 2017 and it may just be the best of the three of them.

The hotel has everything you want in a destination resort-fine restaurants, health club, spa, swimming pool, clay shooting, fishing, hiking, and some pretty good golf.  The added bonus, a very casual atmosphere where you don’t need much more than golf casual to do anything you want during your stay.

Howard with the catch of the day…..there is a big story to go with this of course!

This wide mouth greets you at the end of the hall near the Health Club and Spa

The dining covers all genres with great aptitude-supporting libations as well

The golf is what you come for and there is plenty of it.  Set up for walking you better come with your golf legs fit for action because these are not your typical flat Florida tracks riddled with man-made water hazards.  The caddies are a must because all three of these tracks have a wide, tactical character, similar to what you would encounter in Bandon Dunes or across the pond.  It is way more than just knowing how far it is to the pin.

Doak’s Blue begins off a precipice tee box-climbing up takes your breath away

So will the stunning view once you turn around

World Wide Weber, The Mish, A.I. Minkie, and The Koach strike the pose

More kulprits-Chop Stix, Billy B, Pete The Grass Maven, and Sol The Hunter

The rugged natural look that Doak reclaimed for the mining remains

You could swear you are in Ireland when you take in the pure drama from the high tee to the green nestled in the dunes on the Par 3 7th Hole

Once safe in the landing area of the Par 4 12th, it is anything but a simple approach across the hazard to stepped green complex with plenty of static

One last savory look…..the approach to the 443-yard finishing hole on the Blue

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw are known for the minimalist approach of designing golf courses.  They really did not need to move lots of earth here to get a wild and natural look for the Red Course.

The Red opens up with a stunning look at the dunes and the waterways created in the old mining crevices

The green complex on the cape style Par 4 5th is set against a Wailing Wall of sand behind.  If you end up there you might as well leave a note in a crevice to your maker because up and down from there is highly unlikely

A 54-yard long sprawling green on the Par 3 6th has many pinable locations.  This day it was in the Clark Kent phone booth front behind the encroaching dune

Wildlife on a stroll….not an indication of pace of play issues……

Delectable provisions available at BBQ Shack at the turn…….

The postcard hole of the Red features this dramatic forced carry to the 16th

What you don’t see from the tee is the Biarratz dip in the middle of this 72-yard green which makes for an even steeper challenge with the pin in the back section

They opened the Gil Hanse/Jim Wagner Black Course in the fall of 2017 which added another dimension to what was already a fabulous selection of links-like courses.

As we have seen at other resorts they added a couple of Golf Happy Hour facilities to occupy the masses apres round.  At the Black you will find a 6-hole Approach and Putt Course as well as a massive recreational putting green called the Gauntlet.  It is not the Ladies Putting Course at St. Andrews but, with an adult beverage in hand, it does provide great entertainment possibilities.

Acres and acres of extreme putting challenges….with beverage holders

The Black is a long walk, almost seven miles, because of considerably more distance between greens and tees.  The caddies will tell you, it is actually an easier walk because the terrain is much more tempered then it’s Red and Blue Cousins.  The bunkering and sandy fairway surrounds on the Black have a very natural feel and, with a wee bit of wind, you could swear the Atlantic is just over the next rise.

Uphill approach to the short Par 4 second has full sand features

Devil’s orifice is the lone bunker in front of the 6th green…it is a doozie!!

As you come up the Par 4 9th, the signature windmill behind the green, which was reclaimed from the mining days, becomes your aiming point off the tee as well as into the blind punch bowl green.  It can be seen throughout the front nine and can be very helpful for ascertaining wind direction, which can be enigmatic considering there are very few trees along the way.

Driveable 14th….don’t go long of this extreme green or a 5 will be a difficult score to make…..

A meditative moment for The Mish before pulling the club on the 15th…..

The #1 Handicap Hole 16th presents multiple challenges…not the least of which is the carry over this mini Sahara to a sharply tilted green from the left

The finish on the Black is a stunning cape hole with all the fixins…..

Equally spectacular looking back up once you are done……

The Streamsong experience is one that all golf addicts should experience.  The quality of the courses makes it well worth the effort of getting there.

28 Shades of Cute

The Keepers held our 8th Annual First Tee Mentoring Outing at Woodmont Country Club with 28 delightful kids from every background you can imagine who participate in the programs of the First Tee of Greater Washington D.C.   We had 17 volunteers from our club along with the professional golf staff as our guides doing golf clinics, a picnic lunch, and a couple of hours of course time with the kids.

These kids come every type of background you can imagine and they have gleaned from their First Tee experiences self-confidence, poise, and grace as well as being introduced to the game of golf.  It is a wonder to witness the etiquette, course awareness, and basic skills of these 7 to 14 year-olds who attend this event each year.

The almost 50 staff, volunteers, and kids that made this day so special.

Our volunteers provide the smiles, reassurance, and support to help these kids understand how much this game has to offer.

These guys and gals get as much out of this outing as the kids.

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Sometimes the mentoring is as simple as a hug or a pat on the shoulder.

Kommander Keller mugging with Quinn

Marlyn with Sophie and Amanda

Marlene with Nahyun and Hannah

Amanda, Avery, and Hannah with Dale watching over

The mentors share their knowledge and experience of how they have earned their crack handicaps.

Arthur helping Amra with her grip

Andy and Daniel discuss proper takeaway

Jackie gives Carina a little thought on direction

Eddie shares with Dhira the importance of face alignment

Best part is just kickin’ back and watching these amazing kids do their golf thing.

Gail and Bonnie chillin’ on the range

All the kids went through the rotation of three clinics-range, short game, and putting-led by our professional staff.

Konnor and his guys explain the program for the day

Proper technique is proper technique…even if it is on the wrong side

Konnor explains some of the do’s and don’ts of exceptional putting

Some of it was group drills……

….and group observation as well

Then the kids get to show their stuff….as well as their individuality and style.

Akil has no breakdown of the wrist..nice extension in his pitching

Quinn and Isabella observe each other’s technique

Peter is looking for a little clarification or is it reassurance

Skyler has it down as Delana, Iris, Yaphet, and Peter get ready to launch

Hannah, Nahyun, and Sumi are in a high level conversation

Delana, Iris, Yaphet, and Peter are grinding away at proper technique

Obviously satisfied, Daniel is working on this celebration dance

Marlyn and Konnor are appraising the work of Eugene, Sean, Hannah, Nahyun, and Sumin

Anticipation across the line as the balls are off in the lag putt drill

You can work up an appetite at these clinics so they are followed by a break for a picnic lunch where we got to just sit and chat…..healthy sandwiches, real chips, fresh fruit, and some chocolate chip cookies for the big kids.  We were all single digit eaters.

Starts with an orderly line….followed by a choice….Tuna or Turkey…..

Circling the wagons….lots of mouths to feed both kid and adult

Amra and Isabella just hanging out and having fun

Quinn and Jayden with the old tomato sandwich trick

Carina, Sophie, and Avery….are these kids cute or what?

Then it was out to the big course to put what they learned to work.  It is amazing how these kids handle themselves on the course.  Fixing ball marks, raking bunkers, marking their ball properly, and respecting the efforts of their playing partners.

Amanda and Evalyn head out with Kaptin Keith

Dale with Sumin and Hannah are not far behind

Amanda, Evalyn, Sumi, and Hannah setting up approach shots with Keith and Dale

Randy is helping Nahyun and Hannah plot some course strategy

Arthur, Jayden, and Quinn are all smiles on the way out to their designated hole

Akil, Skyler, and Iris on the 11th Green with John and Moe

One last bit of business to thank the volunteers, the golf staff, and the organizers for putting this together.  And most important, thanking these adorable and talented kids for being part of this beautiful day, sending them away with a participation certificate and a few goodies to commemorate the event.

Special thanks to Connor Farrell, Steve Keller, John Friedson, Moe Dweck, and Alexandra Uduk and the professional golf staff for all the hard work in assembling this event.  Thanks to Woodmont Country Club for graciously hosting this and the First Tee of Greater Washington D.C. for hooking us up with these awesome kids.

First Tee Greater Wash LogoRespect-Perserverance-Honesty-Integrity-Courtesy-Responsibility-Sportsmanship-Confidence-Judgement

August, 2017

(Photos provided by Steve Keller, Arthur Blitz, and Melanie Padgett Powers)

If you have any corrections to the captioning please email them to moedweck@comcast.net

Oasis at Rancho Park

When people talk about playing golf in L.A. it is always the posh private places like Riviera and L.A. Country Club that get mentioned.  But right in the center of town, just off West Pico Blvd above Santa Monica is one gem of a municipal course called Rancho Park.

The fountains are period pieces…reminder of a less posh time in L.A.

Rancho Park FountainThe current course at Rancho Park was designed by William “Billy” Bell in 1949 on the site of an old Herbert Fowler design that preceded it.  The course was the home of the L.A. Open back in the 1960’s and has the distinction of being the first place Jack Nicklaus won a check as a professional….around $33 and change.

It also has the infamous distinction-memorialized by a meditation bench and a plaque behind the 18th tee-where Arnold Palmer made 12 of the finishing Par 5 in the L.A. Open after splitting the fairway with his tee ball and then hitting four balls O.B.

The meditation bench behind 18..chill while waiting for the driving area to clear

The meditation bench..chill while waiting for the fairway to clear on 18.

Original plaque details Arnie’s 12 in the final round of the 1963 Los Angeles Open-two into the range and two on to Patricia Ave.

arnie-plaque

The updated bronze memorial put up in 2017 after Arnie’s passing

PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, and Senior Tour events have all been held on this track.  The list of winners in the L.A. Open  at Rancho Park during the period from 1956 to 1972 is a who’s who of great players from the era.  They include Lloyd Mangrum, Doug Ford,  Frank Stranahan (amateur), Ken Venturi, Arnold Palmer (3 times), Bob Goalby, Dow Finsterwald, Charlie Sifford, and Billy Casper.

Wall of Winners in the hallway to the Rancho Park Restaurant

In spite of it’s municipal conditioning-it’s location means it gets over 100,000 rounds a year-this course has the bones of a championship layout.  The back nine in particular has some incredibly cool holes that will challenge you skill set.

Three putting greens out front…you can lose serious change to a hustling local

putting-greenThis was recommended to me by a number of guys who have played the best L.A. has to offer as a place well worth spending an afternoon of adventurous golf.  They were not wrong….it is worth letting your hair down, renting a hand cart, and walking this most enjoyable track in the middle of Los Angeles.

September, 2016

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First Tee Celebration 2016

Welcome SignOur annual celebration with the First Tee Programs of Montgomery County and the Greater Washington D.C. was a day of high energy and fun for over 30 kids and the 20 volunteers who were part of this. The emphasis was volunteers and professional staff supporting the nine principles that are the bedrock of the First Tee Program.

Respect-Perserverance-Honesty-Integrity-Courtesy-Responsibility-Sportsmanship-Confidence-Judgement

These kids come from diverse backgrounds and make it evident by their poise, grace, and self confidence that golf can teach valuable life skills and they “get it”.

Group Shot With Everyone

Smaller Group ShotOur volunteers ages 14 to 85 provided exactly what these kids needed-smiles, reassurance, and support of the development of their understanding of what the game has to offer.

Adult VolunteersFrom our youngest to our seniors our volunteers were charming and gracious.

Our Youngest Volunteers

Our Senior Leslie and GeneThere were those mugging for the camera…..

Volunteers HammingThumbs Up….but all had rapt attention to the proceedings.

This Big

Putting Oversight

Volunteer and Chipping Result

Girl TalkThe day’s activities began with some proper stretching and warm-up drills.  Stretch the hammies and work the hip flexors.

Warm Up 2Warm UpHammy StretchHip FlexationAll the kids went through the rotation of three clinics with our professional staff.  At the driving range with Geoff they covered the basics of grip, stance, takeaway, and follow through.  Some needed firm direction while others needed us to stand back appreciate youthful talent.

Geoff At RangeGeoff ClinicGetting A GripAlexFelix Follow ThruThe second rotation was a clinic on green side skills with Trillium like pitching and chipping. It was about working on technique, visualizing the shot, and listening to the brush of the grass that indicated the proper result.  She even gave them some drills they could take with them to work on their own.

Chipping ClinicTrill ExplainingChipping DrillTrill DrillChristina ChippingThe last stop was a clinic on the Zen of putting with Connor.  This included stroke fundamentals, speed control, and reading direction.  Some cool competitions were included as well as proper celebration techniques.

Putting ClinicPuttingPutting2Thanking the fansA break for a picnic lunch where we got to just sit and chat…..healthy sandwiches, fresh fruit, and some chocolate chip cookies for the big kids.  We were all very good at eating.

Chowing DownThen it was out to the big course to put what they learned to work.  It is amazing how these kids handle themselves on the course.  Fixing ball marks, raking bunkers, marking their ball properly, and respecting the efforts of their playing partners.

Felix On CourseSabrina On CourseMaking A PuttCheck out this awesome video of one of the kids making a clutch putt.  The group celebration speaks volumes about how much these kids understand about playing golf with your friends.

One last bit of business to thank the volunteers, the staff, and the organizers for putting this together.  And most important, thanking the kids for being part of this beautiful day, sending them away with a few goodies to commemorate the event.

Presentation SpeechThanks for ComingParticpation CertificatesSpecial thanks to Connor Farrell, Steve Keller, Moe Dweck, and Alexandra Uduk for all the hard work in assembling this event.  Thanks to Woodmont Country Club and their professional staff for hosting us and the First Tee Chapters of Montgomery County and Greater Washington D.C. for hooking us up with these great kids.

First Tee Greater Wash LogoFirst Tee Montgomery County

August, 2016

(Photos provided by Steve Keller, Moe Dweck, Michael Pius, Binsar Siahaan, Alexandra Uduk)

Heritage of Golf Exhibition

If you are at Gullane Golf Club and are looking for a “diamond in the rough” experience you should call ahead and make an appointment with Archie Baird to see his wonderful Heritage of Golf Exhibition.

Young Archie and another interested golf historian

Archie and a StudentArchie, at the sprite young age of 92,  is someone worth meeting on his own merit.  A former Secretary of the Gullane Golf Club, a proper Scotsman with a wonderful sense of humor who still has a youthful glint in his eye.  He has an enormous amount of golf history in his head and, despite a few pregnant memory moments, he is willing to share it all with you.

His Heritage of Golf Exhibition is a cluttered room next door to the Gullane Golf Club Pro Shop.  It is like going through Archie’s attic, full of folkloric pictures, old clubs and balls, and assorted other memorabilia from his personal collection he has accumulated over a very engaged golfing career in the East Lothian area.  This collection reminds us that East Lothian, with one of the most robust collections of early links courses in the British Isles, had a long and storied rivalry with St. Andrews as to the epicenter of golf in Scotland.

A smattering of the lineage of original clubs from the way back machine

Wood shafted clubsThe coolest part of this is, as Archie says, unlike any other museum of golf history you walk through you can actually pick up, touch, and feel all these historic treasures.  You will be amazed at how just holding a feathery ball or an ash shafted spoon  in your hand tells you so much more about its role in golf history.

Just pick one, any one, and give it a waggle

Seasoned ClubsA ball library along with the menu at the turn

Ball LibraryThe original kick-stand club carrier-you can actually pick it up

First club carrierArchie’s story begins with how the Dutch, not the Scots, invented the game.  He has a print of an Adriaen Van de Velde painting from 1668 to prove it.  The story moves on to Scotland and the eastern coastal towns near Dunbar, North Berwick, Musselburgh, Leith, and St. Andrews.

Depiction of North Berwick Links then….does not look much different now…

North Berwick LinksIt includes the earliest rivalries from the mid 1800’s covering the stories of the early Open Championships at Prestwick and the Red Leather Belt that was bestowed to the champions.  Old Tom and Young Tom Morris and Old Willie and Young Willie Park had turned it into a family rivalry in the early years.

Old Willie Park had his own stature in the history of the game

Old Willie ParkYoung Willie followed in pop’s boot steps

Young Willie ParkArchie then gets to the whole development of the ball thing….from Feathery to Guttie to the Wound Haskell ball at the turn of the 20th Century.  He covers the development of clubs from ash to hickory to steel in the late 1920’s.  These technological changes made it more affordable and allowed the game to be embraced by more and more people…it was critical to the development of golf in those early years.

It took half a day to stuff a hat full of damp feathers into this hand-sewn leather cover….not a cheap enterprise….they could only make about 3 balls a day

Feathery BallThe Guttie, molded from a gum-like material, was more durable and cheaper to produce

The GuttieThe device that allowed them to wind hundreds of feet of rubber bands around a solid core to make the first Haskell balls

Wound Ball MachineYounger Archie with the fisherman’s version…a reshaped fish hook with a hemp grip and a rock surrounded by cork for the ball…..golfers will try anything to play

Fishermans GolfThe rest is just an eclectic collection of all sorts of odds and ends that will fascinate you.  Delivered with a bit of wit and lots of common sense knowledge Archie gives this stuff a life all it’s own.

The proper “Members Only” outfit…

Members Only Attire

Friends in high places..signed Masters flag and personal note from Ben Crenshaw commemorating his first win at Augusta

Crenshaw Masters WinHis registry list of all the great links of Scotland

Scottish Course RegistryPotpourri…this display case reminds me a golfing grandmother’s living room….

Memorabila of the AgesIf you are at Gullane to play golf take the time to call ahead and arrange for a half hour walk through Archie’s attic…you will not be disappointed.

 

Contact Information:

The Heritage of Golf Museum

Gullane Golf Club

East Lothian, Scotland EH32 2BB

Contact: Archie Baird  01875 870277

July, 2016

Postcard From North Berwick

Golf has been played at North Berwick for centuries but like a number of the small towns in East Lothian it is a unique place with a character all it’s own.  Today it is very much a suburban enclave for professional people who work in Edinburgh, the train connection which is under a half hour makes this an easy place to bring up a family in an environment with all the perks of a big city without the urban anxieties.

The West Links Golf Club dates back to 1832 and the place has all the attributes of a old school distinguished Scottish links.

North Berwick Clubhouse….handsome sandstone weathered to distinction

Clubhouse 2Trophy cases in the members bar glisten with pride

Bar Trophy CaseWood paneled member’s board room has tradition coming out of it’s pores

Board Room Fireplace (1)The original members lockers are incorporated into the decor

LockersList of the club Captains, as well as men’s and ladies champions, adorn the walls

Berwick CaptainsThere is no getting lost……

Directions to Golf ShopThe golf shop….a simple understated building for such a famous links

Golf ShopStarter’s Lodge is somewhat updated

Starters PlaceEven the weather vane has a themed message to it

Weather Vane (1)

There were volcanic eruptions in Scotland creating notable land forms

NB 11Lest you forget the course shares the shoreline beach with the locals

The BeachBass, Lamb, and Fidra rocks may be the most iconic visuals of North Berwick

The RocksThey lord over the links and present convenient aiming lines for the players

Bass Rock Through ReedsThe ghostly appearance of Bass Rock behind the 17th for example

NB 17 approach

Then there is the kitchy course…you got this approach shot in your bag?

NB 3 Wall Approach

North Berwick is so much more than the Old Links, it is a quaint country town.  First class hotel, inns, kitchy shops, new age restaurants, and all the fixins.

The Marine Hotel has lavished visitors with high end service for generations

Marine HotelIt sports a Children’s Pitch and Putt Course…you must be accompanied by a kid

Childrens Course 1The town bulletin board buys into the golf tradition of North Berwick

Community BoardThey do remember why many folks come and what they need

Golfers RestNarrow winding streets are full of local upscale shops and restaurants

Town StreetIt’s not without it’s rules, though apparently some don’t heed the promulgations

No ParkingLike a good family place all creatures are welcome and treated with dignity

Dog Friendly

Even those without house training are accommodated in the public square

Lighthouse with birdTrendy clothing that fits the young population’s vibe

FatfaceRestaurants for all tastes

Pauls Yard DeliNew age establishments….like Zitto’s Italian Wine Bar and Tapas

ZittoEven has an asymmetric new age business card

Zitto CardAs it should, in the end it all comes back to treats for all ages

GelatoNorth Berwick…come for the revered links golf..but take time to borrow a child and play the pitch and putt, stroll the town for some shopping and a gelato,  or make time for  a tasty piece of Scottish salmon or a fine plate of pasta.  North Berwick is a special place….take the time to enjoy all that this lovely community has to offer.

July, 2016

A Walk About St. Andrews

For a golfer a visit to St. Andrews is a spiritual golf experience. The Old Course, the R & A Clubhouse, and the ghost of Old Tom Morris are images in the mind that convey solemn golfing history.

Royal and Ancient Golf Club dates back to 1754

R and A BuildingReminder that the R & A had been quite exclusionary until just recently

Members Only Chair
British Golf Museum houses a detail history of golf in the British Isles

British Golf Museum
The Old Course begins and ends in the center of town

Old Course SignTom Morris Golf Shop still peers over the 18th Green

Old Tom Golf ShopWithin you find his old workbench and his locker

Old Tom's LockerA stroll around to the Himalayas for some recreational putting is a unique St. Andrews experience. Follow the road a little longer and you are at The Links clubhouse the terminus for the New and Jubilee golf courses. This building has it’s own pieces of St. Andrews history on display.

Old Tom, the face of St. Andrews, regales the hallway in front of the pub

Old Tom 2Along with Seve, one of it’s most iconic Champion Golfer Of The Year

SeveBut a walk through this town, richly layered with 600 years of academic, religious, and cultural artifacts, one cannot help but feel that St. Andrews very much represents the soul of Scotland far beyond it’s reputation as the home of golf.

Heading back up The Scores one sneaks up on the vast presence of the University of St. Andrews University, the third oldest university in the English speaking world, that was founded around 1410. An all male institution until the late 1800’s, St. Andrews started offering a limited Masters of Arts degree for women in 1876 and by 1892 had become the first Scottish university to enroll female undergraduates on the same full time basis as their male counterparts.

The central quad looks like every other university…..distinguished yet tranquil

St. Andrews QuadAll kinds of beings matriculate there

MetriculatingAnd some of them were soon-to-be Royals

Where Kate Met Prince WillamReligion reverently felt in St. Andrews at the St. Salvators Chapel since the 1500’s

St. Andrews Univ ChapelA short walk up North Street brings you to the remnants of the old cathedral

Cathedral Bones 2Eerie reminder…religious persecution rerouted Scottish history……

Catherdral BonesTime and again

St. Andrews CastleThe final resting place of Young Tom Morris ….

Young TomAnd Old Tom Morris tie it together…

Old TomBut as for most others it always seems to conclude at the 18th of the Old Course

Kathy at 18th OC

Moe at 18th OCJuly, 2016

British Golf Museum

Right behind the 1st tee of the Old Course and the Royal and Ancient Club Building in St. Andrews there is a must stop for all serious golfers at the British Golf Museum. In less than an hour you can take in the full history of the development of the game in this part of the world. Early clubs and trophies, period attire, and iconic images of the “Champion Golfers of the Year”-this place is just oozing memorabilia to prod your golfing memory.

British Golf Museum SignThe toil of stuffing the feathery ball made the game expensive to play

Feathery Ball MakerUntil the introduction of the molded Gutta Percha in 1848

Gutta Percha Ball MfgWhich prompted major changes in club design

History of ClubsSome were very innovative……………..

Asst Old ClubsSome were adjustable….and eventually illegal

Adjustable ClubThen there were accessories…the first “kick-stand” club carrier

First Kick Stand BagChallenge for the Silver Club began at St. Andrews in 1754

Silver Club Trophy SA 1754 onThe silver cup from the Musselburgh Challenge dates back to 1774

Musselburgh CupOriginal red Moroccan leather and silver Challenge Belt for The Open Champion

Open Challenge Belt
Replaced by the Claret Jug at the Open Championship in 1872

Claret JugTribute to golf course architecture’s Golden Age of 1920 to 1939

History of GC ArchitectureHonoring Bobby Jones’s connection with British golf

Bobby JonesAnother British golfing favorite son…name is Bond..James Bond

Sean ConneryOpen Championship programs dating back to the mid 1950’s

Open Championship ProgramsAppropriately ends with some wee bits of golf wisdom

SayingsThe R and A has done a marvelous job composing this museum to maximize your understanding of the pivotal role the British Isles have had in the development of our sport.  Much like the USGA Museum in Far Hills does for American golf, you will walk away from this visit with a much keener understanding of the history of golf in Britain.

July, 2016

The Himalayas

It is not unusual in your travels around Scotland to stumble across a large crowd gathered at public putting green in the center of town. In many small towns and villages these are popular hang outs where old folks, kids, families, and friends can meet and greet or get together for a little afternoon competition.

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The most famous of them all is in the center of St. Andrews right next to the second tee on the Old Course across from the Old Course Hotel. It is called The Himalayas, a.k.a. The St. Andrews Ladies Putting Club, created as a private club back in 1867. It is open to the public daily for a nominal fee but still reserves select times during the week for the members.

Him SignOriginally laid out as a nine-hole Cleek and Putt Course by Old Tom Morris in 1867 on a rough piece of ground north of the Swilcan Burn it eventually grew to it’s massive size as more land was acquired and the course transitioned to putting only as the ground became smoother from all the play. The competitions date back to it’s origin and the ladies still maintain a regular Wednesday afternoon game for trophies and monthly medals and a Thursday morning Shotgun that can attract over 50 people.

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The Clubhouse was built in the late 90’s

Him Clubhouse.

Sits conveniently across from the Road Hole and the Old Course Hotel

Him Old Course Hotel
People and best friends que up and pay a few quid to play this awesome venue

Him Dog Sign Up
A patron at the first of the more tame 9-hole Course

Him Kathy 1st
Putting in view of the whole town

Him Kathy Putting 1One serious transition to negotiate…..pick your flag

Him 2 FlagsAs close as could be managed on a 60-footer with 10 feet of break

Him Moe Putting
Attracting players of all sizes for a wee bit of afternoon fun…and no windmills or clown noses are needed

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It has taken a while but golf resorts in America are finally getting their arms around this idea and adding entertaining facilities like this for the enjoyment of their guests.  Bandon Dunes opened their version called The Punchbowl just last year.

July, 2016

Cruden Bay Golf Club-Revisited

As has been a tradition for people on holiday for over a century Cruden Bay was one of our first stops on a recent trip to Scotland. Always a fan favorite the members enhanced Cruden Bay golf course with a couple of changes that please the eye and the competitive balance of the course.

Cruden PosterPicturesque view from the clubhouse…remains of Slains Castle on yonder ridge

CB OverviewA driving range in Scotland? Who’d a thunk it!

CB Driving RangeControlling enthusiastic folk working on their games

Bump n RunThe 1st and 2nd holes would feel right at home at Royal Dornoch

Cruden Opening HoleAfter the cardiologists hike up from the 8th Green the players are now greeted with a refreshing look of the coastline from the new 9th tee perched atop the highest dune ridge on the property. This view reminds me of Bandon Dunes.

CB The CoastlinePlay is exposed to the wind breezes as the 9th works its way across the ridge

CB 9 th TeeWhat follows is a long approach into a green complex canted left to right

CB 9th GreenTwo more changes..they moved the tee on the 10th hole to the right of the 9th green (shown above) to force the tee shot to be played over the shoulder of the gorse laden dune on the right. Puts a little fright into a spectacular view of your ball free falling to the fairway floor five stories below.

On the blind par three 16th they realized that the hill that obscures your view of the green was expanding over time from sand blowing up from the beach. They were kind enough to shave it down enough so you can at least see the top of the flag behind the ridge.

Happy campers….albiet a bit wet but still happy to be at Cruden Bay
M & K 9th Tee

(Click to see the full Cruden Bay Golf club course review)

July, 2016