Notes on England and Wales golf & travel from Manchester Airport
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – I just couldn’t wait before I got back across the pond. I had to order some Burger King here at Manchester Airport. So this England and Wales recap blog before I head home is brought to you by a double cheeseburger from B.K.
- What’s with golf clubs in the U.K. charging 20p for little pencils? Yes, it’s not included in the green fee. At one club, I mentioned pencils are generously included in the green fee in the States. “They are???” one bright-eyed member said overhearing me. It’s true. The U.S.A. also has free refills on soda and all-you-can-eat crab legs.
I should point out however, that many clubs keep a spare box of generic pencils behind the desk and those are in fact, free, you just have to be willing to sacrifice the club’s name inscribed across the shaft. It’s money-saving tips like this that makes my blog priceless to any golf traveler.
- I was driving a little Fiat during my time here, a little two-door hatchback. It cost 57 pounds to fill it up with about 43 liters of diesel. That’s over $8 a gallon if my metric conversions are accurate. It’s a shame cars can’t run on cheaper commodities per liter like milk or Boone’s Farm.
- Play a round with gentlemen from the U.K. and the most used word, bar none, is “unlucky". Every poor shot is “unlucky". At first, I thought this meant “bad break” or something of the like. Then I realized cold shanks, putts left short, blocked out tee balls were all labeled “unlucky". Even the commentators calling the Irish Open used it liberally. Turns out, it’s just a little British dry humor. “It means the shot was ‘rubbish’, really.” said one of my partners.
- Golf shot of the trip: I know there is nothing worse than someone detailing their own round of golf, but check this out: We’re playing Holyhead on the isle of Anglesey. On the 7th, I duck hook a tee ball into the gorse on the left. I play three from the tee conservatively into the right rough, about 165 yards from the pin. From here, I hit a running 8-iron onto the green and it finds its way into the cup for a par 4. I think that’s the longest shot I’ve ever holed (155-yard ace in 1998).
- This was the first trip to the U.K. where I didn’t play any “medal” courses that host international events like a British Open, Walker Cup or Ryder Cup. While I think every itinerary should include at least one (Royal County Down, Old Course at St. Andrews or Royal Porthcawl, especially), it’s really worth your trip to play some local clubs that don’t get all the ink. They’re usually only 30-40 pounds, the conditions are usually top notch and you’ll see some things on these links you wouldn’t see on the championship courses. St. Enodoc’s Church Course, Royal North Devon, Nefyn & District and Bull Bay especially stick out this trip.
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