Scotland, the Home of Golf

Greetings from the happiest Pro in golf! We moved to St Andrews on July 23 and love it! Carolyn and I watched the Open on TV in Calgary and then flew to Edinburgh after Padraig nosed my man Sergio off the podium. Upon arrival we (Fairmont St Andrews) were hosting the Vagliano Trophy matches between the top ranked women amateurs of Great Britain and Ireland and the top women from the Continent of Europe. This prestigious match has been played since 1931, and the original founder was in attendance.

the European team

Alan Carter, Director of Golf at Jasper was here helping out until I got on my feet, it was great to see him again. Thanks Pro! The first two practice days were 100% “won” by the UK team, great practice sessions on the range, matches in the morning and afternoon. The Continental team hit a few balls and toured St Andrews. Alan and I were amazed that 9 women from England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland had identical swings! Walking the line they all had the same set ups, same back swings, same follow throughs. Off the tee they all hit it comfortably over the 250 yard marker (in the air). The Europeans had 9 different swings and represented Germany, Spain, France, and Sweden. Both teams seemed to be going to school in the US on scholarships. One player was over 30.

Mary McKenna was the team coach of UK&I, when we mentioned Canada she immediately talked about Marlene. Poor Mary, after the first day her team was down 9 to 3 (lost all foursome matches and 5 of the 8 single matches). The Europeans out drove them on every tee shot and were magicians around the greens (cool and 35 mph winds). The Euro coach was a Spanish lady with a super name, Macarena Campomanes and she had a really talented team that included Anna Nordquist, at least 6 foot 2, attending Florida State.

Final standing Europe 15, Great Britain & Ireland 9. To Alan and I both teams won, some splendid golf. Good introduction to golf in Scotland. The spectators were a who’s who of golf over here, including Sir Michael Bonallack and other R&A and LGU icons. I needed Sandra Post over here to tell me who they all were. At dinner I sat with Dr. Steve Otto. When I asked him if he was a GP I found out he was in charge of all testing for the R&A, he’s the man who measured every ball used in the Open at Carnoustie and loves getting his hands on professional’s clubs. He not only measures and tests equipment, he has a machine that measures fast and firm conditions, it “thumps” fairways to measure proper conditions. I told him not to take it to the US as he’s need a different scale, a “splat” rating instead of his firmess one.

Did I mention the great fish and chips here!

Then there was Tom Watson winning his 9th major in Britain, the Seniors at Muirfield. And last week the Old Course hosted the Women’s British Open (not the women’s Open, the Women’s British Open). Once again the Old Course proved who is the #1 golfer, Lorena Ochoa managed her game for all 72 holes. Tiger has also won there twice while being #1, the first Tiger wood Jack NIcklaus won there, I guess the only exception might be John Daly’s win. To me it proves he could have been number 1.

Of course while all this was going on I was working, my wife told me about it.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • Nice to see your column back. Look forward to hearing about you description of the courses at Fairmont St. Andrews


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