|Practice Round with Bernard on Wednesday|
What can I say about a great week at Carnoustie? My play was just ok. I thought I was ready to play some of my best golf because I felt great about my swing, playing in the wind, and all the elements of scoring seemed in place. A couple of miss judged tee shots where the wind was stronger than I anticipated moved my ball across the fairway into pot bunkers. On the 5th hole after ending up in the bunker I proceeded to misjudge my shot to the fairway, then, misjudged my layup, promptly carding a 7 on a relatively simple par 4 missing the cut. Very disheartened at the time, however, I knew I was playing well enough to finish the tournament strong. My putts were very good, all around the hole, however, came up empty. I learned a lot from playing a practice round with my friend Bernhard Langer. I was amazed as to how he charted out the course, playing 3 irons off the tee on some of the longest holes leaving him with 3 woods into very difficult greens. He has ultimate confidence to play the course with what it gives him, respecting the trouble, while reducing the risk for high numbers. I truly enjoyed playing with him. Also, I enjoyed his caddie Terry Holt, whom I saw a couple of times at daily Mass at the local Catholic Church. They make a great team, just as Chris Frame and I do. Congratulations to Bernard for a great tournament. He started the first day with a four under on the front nine and never looked back.
I had my first experience driving on the left side of the road all around Scotland, to the course every day, also, to and from the airport. I must say I only had a few problems that I handled with grace and a quick turnaround. I think Chris enjoyed my driving as he shouted, “there is a Yank in the driver’s seat,” every time the police were looking at us funny. We enjoyed Indian food at Ganges, lunch at The Nineteenth Hole, Chinese’ food at Imperial Restaurant all right on High Street, which was within a few miles of our Bed and Breakfast, The Seaview. We enjoyed the hospitality, friendships, and simpler way of life, which encourages us to get back as soon as possible.
Carnoustie is a wonderful links golf course, that has so many variables to consider as you play different shots under different wind conditions most every day, and from day to day the course is never the same. For instance we had a northerly wind on Thursday, which was chilly but sunny. Then on Friday we had an entirely different wind that was from the opposite direction. For example the 6th hole, Hogan’s Alley, Thursday was into a right to left wind making it a three shot par five. Then on Friday it was downwind left to right in which I hit a five wood over the green in two shots. All the subtleties make for different, challenging golf shots every moment, and I must say keeps your interest no matter how many times you play it. I played it for most of a week and every time experienced different conditions on every hole. Make it a choice to play all the great courses in Scotland in the near future and I’m sure you’ll truly enjoy your time there, while also learning to appreciate links golf at its finest.
So until next time, keep your chin up through all the challenges that golf and life send you by remembering it’s not so much what happens to you, but how you react to what happens to you that counts. All the best, Chip