4 mates play in St Andrews and meet… Rory McIlroy!

Editor: The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews will receive much more coverage on this blog than what you will read below. The account below is that of four good friends enjoying a couple of days in the most magical and venerable golf region of the world.

Every golfer dreams of playing a round on the Old Course at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews, Scotland. Anyone who has played there would say that they have played on more difficult courses and more attractive courses.  But the R&A, founded in 1754 is undisputedly, the home of golf. Hey, it’s where they make the rules!

The course features 7 double greens! Huge greens that seem to be 150 meters wide… You hit a great shot into the green and find yourself a sand or pitching wedge away from the cup.   And use your driver with caution – and reserve. Otherwise your might see your ball disappear in a pot bunker or out to sea.

We organized the three-day trip in October (Scotland in October?) and happily the weather was with us for two of the three days – almost balmy. But boy, we were pleased we brought our rain gear. The third day we played at Crail (a course a few kilometers from St Andrews) and it rained “horizontally” freezing rain. On the course that day, there was a group of brave-hearted Americans playing in shorts. Another group headed out as we were ploughed our way back uphill to the clubhouse from a shortened round.

In St Andrews, we stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast overlooking the ruins of the Castle and the rugged, gray sea. We over ate – and over drank.  St Andrews is a university town with pubs and shops a’ plenty.

Rory McIlroy and Jo

Rory McIlroy and Jo

After your daily round, go for a beer at the Dunvegan. As their slogan states, they are only a “nine iron away from the Old Course”. You’ll meet golfers and celebrities. Rory McIlroy came in to eat something with a friend and he was gracious enough to let me take a picture with him. He is as hospitable in person as he is great as a golfer. This is a level-headed 20 year-old with a bright future.

The list of golfing dignitaries (and other celebrities) that have raised a glass at the Dunvegan is impressive; Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Retief Goosen, Lorena Ochoa… but also Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner – I suggest strongly that you have your camera ready!

The population of St Andrews is young, the university is the oldest of Scotland and the third oldest in the Britain. There are around 8600 students for a city with a total population of 15000. Be ready to party.

And when you make the trip to St. Andrews, plan to play other courses in addition to the Old Course, Head twenty minutes south and play Kingsbarns (a must) or Crail. Crail is the seventh oldest club in the world (1786). You will be within an easy drive to dozens of excellent and challenging courses.

Links (golf courses by the sea) can be very tricky to play especially     because of the wind conditions. The day we played Crail, the wind was so strong that my ball blew off of the tee!

But it will be the golf trip of a lifetime.

4 mates

4 mates

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