My first blind date with Old Tom Morris at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland
Today I stand before you a changed man. Three days after my arrival in the UK, I proudly admit I can drive on the left side of the road and roundabouts are cake (but I didn’t say I agree with them…). However, I still never fail to walk to my car and start to open my left front door before realizing some bloke snuck in and switched it to the other side again. And without fail, someone is always standing by and looking at me like I’m a numbskull/American.
This morning I arrived at Prestwick Golf Club, original home of The Open Championship and my first ever meeting with Scot legend and designer Old Tom Morris. As someone more familiar with Fazio, Nicklaus and the the countless others who have followed the modern trends, I speak for all of us American resort golfers when I say, “Whatever this Morris guy was smoking, I want some…”
But seriously, this course is a mind-boggler for first-timers, just like his other course’s reputations like the unpredictable Cruden Bay Golf Club in the northeast. Blind shots are aplently and landing zones often difficult to identify. Never, ever bet money against someone who’s played it before and you’re a newbie.
But that doesn’t mean I dislike it. In fact, I think modern courses are shortchanging themselves removing the blind shot from the game. There’s a mental element blind shots add to a round. You must force yourself to make a confident swing despite the small chance a cluster of elves are having a picnic in the landing zone. And as you scale the dune or mound or whatever is obstructing, nervous anticipation runs through your brain. Is it on the green? In a bunker? In the hole? Two blind shots of mine ended up miraculously less than five feet from the pin, one was for birdie: a far more satisfying feeling than actually watching it drop to that close.
Who cares about lawsuits and being “player friendly”? Bring back blind shots to ‘pop’ modern golf design. Old Tom has me convinced. We’ll be meeting each other later at Royal Dornoch and Carnoustie…
Prestwick staff strongly encourage the use of a caddie or at the very least a yardage book for first time players. The yardage book helps but not nearly enough.
Daily snippet from the Metro (or: if everyone read this paper, then no one would be illiterate): A new study shows that going to the gym can often hurt male fertility. Scientists tested gym rats and then some couch potatoes and found that working out a lot decreases sperm count.
Could the consumation and child bearing process get any easier for us, fellas?
Prestwick Golf Club has many blind tee shots. Here, you can see just the tip of the flag from the right rough.
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I paid for it in some ways, and in some ways not.
I used driver first hole. Nobody uses a driver that hole, and a group of Scots mocked me openly when I walked up to the tee with it.
That pissed me off. Anger motivates me and I hit one of the best drives I've ever hit, though I missed a birdie putt, and if I ever play Prestwick again, I'll use a long iron. Still, that shut them up.
That was a trend I noticed in Soctland. Most of the Scots I played with were good golfers, but they didn't like to gamble with the driver.
They called me an ignorant American.
I called them girly-baby-Scots, and we would trade insults. We had two games going on: golf and insults. Every time they'd hit an iron off the tee and I'd hit driver, I'd flex my biceps, a formidable sight if I do say so myself.
In the pubs afterward, if we were still on speaking terms, the insults would continue and sometimes escalate, depending on how much Guinness we drank, for strength.
I think one or two fights broke out, but usually they'd back down, remembering those biceps.
On the first hole at Prestwick, I hit a beautiful, soaring 5-iron that drifted right, hit the top of the stone wall and settled on the railroad tracks.
Kudos for hitting a driver. It is "possible", although the Scots at the tee when I teed off said it couldn't be done.
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