Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Jube!

The first thing you notice about the driving range at St Andrews is the fact that there are many different areas. But all of them have to pass the R&A equipment testing facility. A little block building at the edge of the range, unassuming, but you know that every piece of approved (and many non-conforming) equipment has ventured through those doors and hit ball onto the very same range as you are hitting to. There is a teaching area. A video room. Another room with gadgets. A room where an older gentleman is teaching a 20-something the proper positioning during the swing. Two Callaway equipment rooms, with a larger than life Phil plastered on the wall and more Cally clubs than you can imagine. All the range balls are Cally. And the covered hitting bays are just immaculate.

After hitting a few to get loose, we head over to the Clubhouse. As part of the trip, they covered lunch overlooking the first tee of the New Course. When in Rome....so Fish and Chips it is! Yes, it was swimming the day before and fresh as it can get. A perfect lunch before the round.

Time to putt a few before teeing off. If you look at the greens, you might think them to be a little slow because of the length of the blades. Wrong. they were rolling a good 11+, and hard as a rock. Time to spend a few minutes here figuring this out...

I skipped getting a Caddie for the Jubilee course because I figured at worst, I would be paired with a few locals that would help me find my way around. I'll just get a trolley and stroll along. I gave the wife an option to come along, especially after being up for 24+hours and the very large soaking tub in the suite. She wanted to walk along, so off we go. I was paired with 2 cousins from Northwest Canada. Like north of Alaska. Like 14 hour drive to a decent airport to get to another airport Northwest Canada. Owen and Greg. They were touring Scotland, and had already hit Turnberry, Prestwick, Gleneagles on their way to the east coast. They both had caddies, and one even had a trolley for his caddie. Jamie was looping for Owen, and Greg for Greg. Cool, I might get a little advice from a few seasoned Scottish Caddies after all.

First hole, push it a little right, but nothing to bring any trouble. Just a wedge from here....to here:
First hole in Scotland, and a Birdie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's go!!!!!!
When we teed off at 2:48, the wind was probably steady at 25mph. Ok, no biggie. I AM in Scotland, this is to be expected. The Jubilee runs out to the northwest, and back in to the southeast for the most part. The wind was out of the west-south-west. Across on nearly every hole. The thing that makes the Jube different is that nearly every hole is its own stand alone hole. There is no cross-pollination between the holes. No bail out areas. No playing to that fairway for a better angle. Just bang it down the alley you have, and chase it. Sounds easy, right? I managed to chase and find every one, except one which just wasn't worth looking for. It was the 4th hole, and only 5 yards off the fairway, but in a gorse bush. Owen and Greg were on the opposite side of the fairway, so I took the cursory look and dropped. That was my only casualty of the day. Not too bad. 

The other two guys struggled in the wind and tight fairways, and by the end, I was completely drained. The wind typically dies a little around 6ish, but on this day it decided to find another notch. By the end of the round, it was blowing 40. I did manage to get a few reads from the caddies, and even hit a few good tee shots that brought "great golf shot" from them. Nice little pat on the back! (They did wave a club AND the flag on the 10th hole to another group of caddies, so that wasn't so great...) I was extremely proud that I had worked my way around the course and not found a single bunker....until the tee shot on 18. I hit a decent ball up the right side, that took a wicked left turn and found the sand. Chunk it out, play it up the fairway, find the green, two put....take my bogey, post my 83 after being up for nearly 30 hours and head for the beer!

I am extremely proud of my wife. This was the first round she had ventured out on the course with me, and she was a perfect on-looker. No talking, no "in-front" of the other golfers. She even had a little banter with the caddies, especially after 16 and 17 when the caddies were finishing the holes for their golfers (with a pint on the line, of course.) Greg missed a 12 footer for a pint, but made up for it on 17!

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