I found it very interesting that Paul Lawrie was ‘gutted’ after he hit a marshal in the recent British Seniors championship. And interesting only because he said that ‘he always shouts fore’.

Because he didn’t in this case and the said marshal got hit. I posted this on Facebook and no one commented on it. And that is strange.

I also find this interesting because it’s quite a hot topic at the moment and one that should have elicited some response, especially amongst caddies.

Remember, at the last Ryder Cup, when a poor French lass got blinded in one eye when the pro golfer didn’t shout ‘fore’?

The glaring reality is that a lot of professional golfers have not been in the habit of shouting ‘fore’ for whatever reason. And this has to change, for it’s manifestly their responsibility and indeed they are the best judge of their own shots.

It certainly should not be left to a marshall on the tee, as I think might be the ongoing presumption among some pros.



what a palaver!

I’m in the habit of getting the 7.50am bus into Edinburgh at the moment.

Yesterday, a very interesting thing happened.

A lass got on at Ferrytoll, sat on one of the side seats at the front and proceeded to apply her make-up all the way into Edinburgh (20 minutes).

Now, this was particularly fascinating from my male perspective, as I hadn’t quite imagined that so much could go into the female visage (and I do mean this both literally and metaphorically). But I also think this display was fascinating for the rest of the full bus too. In fact we were all rather captivated by this pretty, self-absorbed lady, who really acted like she was all alone.

Anyway, there was much intermittent powdering and the administration of creams and sprays and brushes and pomaders (I think they are called pomaders?) and puffing and pouting and squinting and hare-eyed staring, the most careful attention around the eyes and the neck and the forehead and several, regular, dramatic, still-camera pose moments of maybe not quite self-admiration, but certainly junctures of deep self-reflection. Kind of Picasso mid-paint like. But, I’m not sure Picasso had the want to update his self-portrait on a quotidian basis. However, maybe with such a captivated and attentive audience he might have?

I was slightly irked as I had to get off at Blackhall and couldn’t see the finale. At this stage the lipstick was being very carefully administered, the Chanel 5 was wafting, not unpleasantly, through the bus and the face was a fine and deep, smooth rouge.

The couple behind were having a wee chuckle and informed me that the procedure had started in the bus station at Ferrytoll.

God get me a train!

Apart from that highlight to the week I saw the one and only Cologne Tom out on the Old, which was cool. In years to come people will rue the fact that they came to St Andrews, saw the castle and the cathedral, Hamish McHamish, stepped on the Swilcan Bridge, posed next to the R&A, had fish and chips in Anstruther, a pint in the Jigger, but never met the most wonderful man that is now the Old Course caddie, Tom Stevenson.

He is a delightful one-off. I have never met a person with such charisma.

I once wrote an article for HK Golf decrying the powers that be in the Links Trust, and more particularly the incumbent and present caddie master, for not putting Tom on Obama’s bag when he visited a couple of years back.

That was a massive missed opportunity. It would have done wonders for the image of the St Andrews caddie and immeasurably enhanced our international relations in one fell swoop. I mean stuff all that Downing Street and Chequers nonsense. This would have been enormous and everlasting. Tom would have had Barack eating out of his hands.

I mean even that buffoon Boris Johnson would have grasped that one.

But alas not the Links Trust.

On the golf front I have scraped into the final of the Jock Hutchison over the Old. After a massive collapse with consecutive out of bounds on fifteen and sixteen and a nervous three stab on seventeen, I just held my nerve to hole a Doug Sanders on eighteen.

There is goff in the old dog yet.



a minor miracle

I’m into the semis of the Jock Hutchison and this is now verging on a minor miracle. Again, I won at the twentieth as darkness fell over a most beautiful mid-summers’ evening on the Old Course. Poor Ken Hodge must be left in a state of minor shock at having lost a game he pretty much had in the bag. For, bar the first hole, he was one-under on the first nine, which is rather handy for a nine handicapper. However, a missed four foot putt to go five up on eleven seemed to unnerve him and appeared to be a momentum changer.

Funny old game goff!

Well not that funny sometimes. On my last visit to Mortonhall I hoofed a drive well left off eighteen and heard the most enormous crash. It transpired that I had hit full toss into the side of a Subaru Impreza. The car park in the club is covered by some trees but not quite large enough, yet, to provide vital cover. Rather shocked at what could have happened (I mean it could have been a Fiat Uno for example) I apologized to the rather serious looking Subaru Impreza owner (he was not overly impressa!), exchanged numbers and had a few wee worrying thoughts about large body work repair bills. I reported the matter to the club manager who claimed she had never heard of such an incident in thirty years. I was going to chuck in the idea that it may be wise for the club to put some netting up, but decided that it may not be the opportune moment.

The upshot was that it was covered by the club’s insurance. However, like the nets at the end of the practice area, erected recently at the St Andrews Driving Range, I would now suggest that the same be carried out at Mortonhall. Although if I may say, the net in St Andrews is in my opinion not quite high enough. Legal team at Links Trust take note.

Then the kilted caddie will be able to proudly say that he has made two significant contributions to the world of golf. Unfortunately, my swing is not one of them.

We are just back from France where we stayed with Prof Kennedy who worked in psychology at Dundee for thirty odd years. A lovely and talented man. He and his endearing Polish wife, Elizabeth, put us up in their rather nice pad in the rolling hills near Marciac, with views to the high Pyrenees. It is a stunning spot and far away from most things, apart from the odd distant motor vehicle that you could hear once or twice a day. We had lazy days going to local markets, eating and drinking in the garden and generally being seduced by this pretty and special part of France.

But things are going to change soon and fast here. The bistrot is near complete. Leftbank should be open by mid July. It’s rather daunting to say the least if I’m honest, but the key issues of staff and suppliers have been sorted and we have had the benefit of using a very talented interior designer in Paula Murray of Supertonic, as well as it being most efficiently project managed by Isabella Chaussy of the Norman Gray Partnership, alongside a huge contribution from Dave Cockburn on the finance side. However, it’s really now down to us to make this thing roll.

On the political front I’m really at sea. Brexit has rather undone us has it not? God it looks like we are set to have bumbling Boris as PM for a while. I say a while because I don’t reckon he’ll have a long tenure and I think he’s got about as much clue about the ramifications of a no-deal as I have of the workings of string theory. Yes he can talk and pontificate and Bertie Wooster for England. But has he any real substance and does he really care? I fear not. His ‘abundant, abuntant’ claim about the technical fixes for the backstop were not abundantly convincing to my mind. We will see.

The students have graduated this week and what unnerves me is that a lot of my friends kids are amongst them! This means that I’m getting old and it’s rather disquieting as it’s come around awfully quick. Where did all that time go? A haze of stuff that I think happened to me but I’m not too sure about now. Yes I remember the friends and work and some landmarks. But it all very strange.

What reassures one is a reunion of old friends. We had this a couple of weeks ago when a Mr Buchan returned for a week with his now grown up son, Henry, and we all went out to the Apartment for dinner. And it was fabulous, as we laughed and teased and reminisced and drank and cried and acknowledged that we were still the same. Albeit for a few grey hairs, challenged hirsuteness and some odd and sometimes significant portliness.

But it was wonderful. And I am very glad and lucky in this respect.

So I will finish on a positive note. We are most bullish about Constantinople in the St Leger as he just got pipped at Ascot by a much lighter weighted nag. I’m most keen on a Federer win at Wimbledon, Matt Wallace in the Open, a Trump impeachment, and an honorary R&A membership awarded for my services to caddying.

Surely one has to come in.