Before I put my bags away in the basement and begin to make the transition to fall I want to highlight one more aspect of our trip to Scotland this summer. One that can not be forgotten. The golf.
If you are not a golfer you may not understand the significance of Scotland, St. Andrews and the Old Course. It is where golf began, the birth place, the homeland. And there is a certain reverence and respect you feel while you play. Maybe I feel that way because my husband loves the history and story of the game as much as he loves to play and all that has not been lost on me. But I sensed it from the cashier at the starters building and the caddy to the fellow players and shop keepers in town. Each round of golf was special and meant to be savored, shared through stories at the 19th hole and relived in the retelling the following days and weeks.
The Old Course at St. Andrews is “the home of golf” and has seen play for over 500 years. It is ancient. It is “sacred” in the golfing world. And yet played on every day. Except Sunday and then it is open to everyone as a park to walk and enjoy. Most ancient historical sites and venues are kept in view but untouchable to the masses. The average person might get a view, a guided tour or limited access to a treasured historical site. Not here. You are welcomed and encouraged to participate and contribute to the rich history of The Old Course. That alone brings a certain magic to it.
Now add playing the same course where the Open has been held (the British open for most of us, but not so in Scotland. It is THE Open Championship) multiple times, with memorable shots, historical finishes and each hole has a name, not just a number. This brings a sense of personality to the course. And not just The Old Course, all the courses we played had names for the holes. A little like naming your children I suppose. Golf is that personal in Scotland.
And then add the caddies. My favorite part, playing golf with a caddy. A Scotsman who was rolling his own cigarettes, sharing his sharp wit and humor and had my game sized up by the second hole. Not only did he help me enjoy the round, he helped me keep perspective on the experience instead of my struggling swing that day. Ok, my swing struggles most days, you’re right. We were a team, together we were playing, enjoying and challenging the Old Course and it’s 112 bunkers, massive double greens with Himalayan like peaks and valleys, wind and gorse. I could get used to playing with a caddy.
And lastly, watching my husband fulfill a life long dream. He played golf as a boy, began to caddy at 12 years old, loves the history of the game and players and has made the game his profession. His delight and enjoyment of the day was palpable. There is a rich satisfaction in watching someone you love enjoying a long-awaited gift or experience. Felt a little like Christmas morning, I was more excited for him to open the gift than for my own. I think when you love someone you care more about their happiness than your own. That’s what the day was like for me. It really had nothing to do with golf.
A few pictures to remember the golfing holiday.
And a few more if you want to live vicariously through my photos :) here.