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Friday, Dec. 13, 2013
Day Three at ScotlandPosted Thursday, July 16, 2009, at 7:29 AM
After a good night's rest, I was up early this morning, awakened by the squawking of sea gulls. That seems to be a daily occurrence around 4:30 a.m. Our lodging accommodations are nice, but very European in the sense that there is no air conditioning and the rooms are rather small.
The sinks have separate hot and cold spickets, so when I shave I try to evenly distribute water in the sink. The hot water here is scalding. You can actually use tap water to brew a cup of instant coffee in the morning- it's that hot!
There are seven rooms in the house we stay in. Four are occupied by the PGA of America and three by local residents. As I left the house this morning with golf shoes in hand, I was asked by a Scottish gentleman "if I was going out for a knock?"
Looking puzzled and my mind wandering to what he might mean, I asked, "What is a knock?"
To which he replied, "Golf".
So, we headed to Dundonald Links for "a knock" with the British PGA.
The trip to Dundonald was crazy. We got lost and the GPS malfunctioned, so it was another whacky driving experience in Scotland. We arrived right on the tee time.
Dundonald Links is a typical Scottish course with fescue rough and pot bunkers as the predominant driving obstacles. The early morning weather was stellar with bright sunny skies and little wind. The temperature reached 70 degrees and the wind stayed down.
This course had very undulated greens and the fairway bunkers were strategically placed in the landing areas. These bunkers were more penal than those yesterday at Royal Troon. If the ball was in the bunker, it was a definite sand wedge to get out. In some cases the shot had to be hit sideways to escape the steep faces.
Yesterday, we were told by the locals that Dundonald Links is one of the toughest courses in Scotland. It is a newer facility, only seven years old, and relative unknown by Scottish standards. However, it was a great test and I enjoyed it very much.
The Scot Rail runs along side Dundonald. This is the same train that passed Troon yesterday making the hourly roundtrip from Glasgow to Ayre.
Located on the other side of the railroad tracks was a course called Western Gailes, which had three Perry tour buses in its parking lot. According to our caddies, these buses contained Americans who are welcomed by the Scottish economy.
Today was an opportunity for us, as PGA leaders, to spend time with our British counterparts. Following golf, we had a couple of hours to discuss pertinent issues relating to the golf industry and both Associations.
One topic of discussion, sure to be receiving worldwide exposure is the possibility of adding golf to the competition at the Summer Olympics in 2016. British odds makers will take bets on the likelihood that this will happen. The conventional wisdom in the golf industry is that golf probably will be added to the Olympics.
The format of play will be 72 holes of stroke play. Sixty players would comprise the field, which will be filled by the World Golf Rankings. The biggest twist is that a country like the United States would have a maximum two players in the competition. Many in the sport feel that the global attention given to golf by the Olympics will be good for the game.
Tonight we head to Turnberry for a reception with the British PGA. Then it is onto another reception and dinner with the Royal and Ancient Golf Association later in the evening.
Tomorrow morning will be our last round of golf before the Open Championship occupies the rest of our week. Our destination in the morning will be Prestwick Golf Club, site of the first Open Championship in 1860 won by Willie Park. This is truly one of golf's sacred venues and it promises to be memorable.
The Open Championship tees off at 6:30 a.m. Scottish time Thursday and Friday. This is golf's largest field and the final tee times each day are slated for 4:30 p.m.
I look forward to walking the course and reporting back!
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