What a delight yesterday to caddie for John and his young seventeen year old son Chris from the USA. Not only was their golf of a very high standard, they were lovely company and Hannah and I had such a fun time.
John a CEO in a pharmaceutical company regaled about the intrinsic merits of our national game. How it exacted character and discipline and how he wished he could conduct job interviews out on the golf course. How indeed you get to see the real person over a four hour round.
And this is so true. The more I caddie the more it opens my eyes to this very valuable insight. In fact we see it all the time: the cheats, the chancers, the rude and moody types.
And then, some very, very good human beings. And how uplifting that is.
I had heard the stories about people rising early to get their name on a waiting list in order to play The Old Course. But only this week friends from Korea had to result to this option after being unsuccessful in the ballot.
As a last resort, dedicated golfers have to pitch up at the starters box on The Old Course and wait for cancellations or no shows on the day. Now I thought about 4.30 am was a pretty early call to get high up on the waiting list, but my friends went there on Wednesday and found themselves behind twenty other enthusiasts! They didn’t get a game.
So yesterday they arrived at 2.30 am and found nine people before them! I’ll call that commitment and am wondering whether the R and A shouldn’t offer all night shelter and free coffee and bacon rolls for these determined individuals.
Unfortunately, the starter yesterday was of the officious type and was requiring evidence of their playing ability by wanting to see their handicap certificates, which were in Korea! I’ll call that a bit harsh. If a guy flies across the world and gets up at one in the morning to travel from Dundee to play golf you have to assume he has more than a passing interest in the game.
Anyway the evidence was duly faxed from Korea and my friends were delighted to get to play together, at midday, on a glorious summer’s day.
I am not caddying this week and am enjoying lazy days and a few drinks while catching up with some old friends and meeting new.
We wandered down to The Old Course last Sunday and somehow found ourselves in Ham’s Hame which is the new pub next to the eighteenth green. I ordered a Dalwhinnie of the double variety. I was informed by the barman that I would not have to pay for it as some lovely American chap, having lunch with his two sons, had covered it! And I will say that was very nice of him.
It was a lovely evening and we strolled down the 18th and had something to eat, while sitting outside, at The One Under Pub and watched the end of the practice round. Got talking to lovely Elaine Stewart from Glasgow and an American lady whose son, Oliver Sniederjans, is an amateur playing in The Open and was just coming in. We had the privilege of meeting the lovely young man and wished him well for the week. He actually started The Open like a rocket and got four under after eight which was a bit of a dream.
Anyway on the way back and feeling a tad on the merry side, I got interviewed by the Callaway Golf crew and was somehow able to have a degree of verbal coherence. This surprised me. And more surprising was the fact that they later described me as a gem.
Decided to get in touch with my pal Kate McKeag who works for the Beeb and is up for the week. We had a chat on the phone and it turns out she works alongside another old friend Peter who I have known since a kid. Small small world.
Anyway we met up last night at their lodgings in town where I met producer Steve and Maureen who does the on course commentary. Steve made a superb meal and we downed a few glasses of wine and had a very interesting and entertaining evening. Peter still can’t get his head round my floral interests and I can’t get my head round the fact that he works with Kate, and that he forgot about the time he had to retrieve a hot roast potato from a woman’s cleavage that summer when we were students working as silver service waiters.
And there were lots of other questions left open about bed sharing in Royal County Down and the toilet habits of crane camera operators and a marvellous unanswerable quiz question. What did Sevvy do in winning his last Open that will never be done again?
And I think I know the answer. But Maureen has the gift of the blarney.
We had a Chinese party the other day who barely spoke a word of English between them. And so their tour guide presented all the caddies with a wee booklet of pertinent words that he felt might be useful. It was really quite sweet as it listed about ten words including good shot, bunker, left, right, wind etc and were spelt phonetically in English. As such ‘good shot!’ was ‘How Cheuw!’ which soon became to everyone’s amusement ‘achoo!’ and there was soon a lot of amused caddies practising their pronunciation (Scottish wit thing) going on, some pretty perplexed looking Chinese visitors (not getting the Scottish wit thing going on), and a general feeling that this wasn’t really going to work. However they were soon all saying ‘Good shot’ in wonderful east coast dialects.
My chap was an amiable looking guy who had the best English. He looked at me with what I thought was a slight mix of concern and puzzlement, and then asked, much to my surprise, ‘How old are you?’ I replied that I was 53. Anyway this seemed to be a good thing and he kind of clasped his hands together, in that Buddhist way and sort of bowed to me. And I must admit it was all quite bewildering and marginally (if only deep down subconsciously) disturbing, as I was sure he was older than me.
But I think that is an age thing.
It is a sign of the times when two Old Course caddies were seen sloping into The Cross Keys at 10.14 am this morning. The Old Course, New and Jubilee are shut for the impending Open and these are lazy and long days for our caddies. Of course one of the caddies was not me as I work at The Castle Course. And of course I would never consider sloping into a bar at 10 in the morning. Hic!
The kilted caddie is now on vacation and is endeavouring to undertake the Herculean if not unworthy task of reviewing the restaurants, pubs and coffee houses in the auld toon. This is not an unpleasant task, but will take time and money. Could everyone please donate a million pounds towards my victuals and decided needs. Thank you.
I am on Trip Advisor under the ‘the kilted caddie’ and will list the places I have already reviewed under ‘My Reviews’ on this site. Any places not listed on Trip Advisor will be described there.
I thank you for your patience.