You won't find championship tees at golf courses in Scotland
Even the worst of duffers get the urge to play the championship tees from time to time. Sometimes it’s because you’re lucky enough to play a course the pros play on TV, and you want to see just how far off you are from competing in the Open Championship yourself.
Not one course I’ve been to has had their tournament (or ‘back’) tees set up. It makes sense. With temperature in the 50s, rain and wind swirling added to a layout full of tight fairways and pot bunkers, you might not make it around before sunset playing from back there.
In the summertime, this move seems geared toward moving full tee sheets around in a timely fashion.
It’s funny how most courses in America usually state their championship yardage as one of their first selling points in their marketing campaign. “This Tom Fazio design plays 7,200 yards from the championship tees…”
On the contrary, Scottish courses for the most part boast the tournaments they’ve hosted - no matter how local or obscure - to what role Old Tom Morris or James Braid had in the design, when the club was originally founded (even if the course barely resembles what it is today) or what views can be seen from the course.
If you’re really stubborn, you could go to the abandoned back tee box and tee off in the middle (and hope you aren’t reprimanded for it), but once you’ve played difficult courses like Prestwick, Royal Dornoch or Royal Aberdeen, trust me, the white tees look pretty good…
Rough is also mowed down pretty good, especially at Turnberry. Again, you’ll thank them for it afterwards.
Ladies…I don’t think Braid or Morris or the other old school architects had you in mind. Most courses’ red tees are just in front of the white tees. If the hole is a long par 4 for men, its simply made a par 5 for you. Many clubs have a ladies par of 75 or 76. At Turnberry’s Ailsa course, the 6th hole’s red tees are actually behind the men’s tees and plays a par 4.
On any of these links courses, expect a yardage between 6000 and 6400.
Royal Aberdeen features an incredible front nine playing on the dunes beside the North Sea.
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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.