It’s past midsummer already

And that’s a fact. It’s the 30th of June today. What’s going on with time? This is far too fast folks.

It’s maybe down to the fact that I am so busy and having a bit of a blast but let’s slow this down a bit please. The peonies have already come and gone, the club championships have been played, Glastonbury is in full swing, the chaff is on the wheat, Wimbledon lawns are being mown and people are pitching up in Troon for the 152nd.

I am enjoying watching some of the Euros except I can’t really get what football is all about. Obviously I know it’s about trying to get the ball in the other team’s net as many times as possible and all that. But it all seems that most of the time it’s an incredibly dull game to watch and there seems to be an awful lot of foul play going on and commentator’s using the word ‘quality’ which is most tiresome. Anyway, I fancy underdogs Georgia because they play with a lot of flair and a bit of panache. I am all for a lot of flair and a bit of panache.

I suppose this was typified in golf by the late Severiano Ballesteros who really brought a lot of life to an ostensibly dull spectator’s game. Not helped on the box nowadays by having the likes of Nick Faldo as one of the major commentators in the game. Goodness that man is awfully dull. Painfully dull.

I am loving my wee club back home in Edinburgh the MCBA (Mortonhall Casual Barmy Army) made up of about 20 characters at Mortonhall Golf Club who have been playing together for about the last 40 years. Goodness we have fun. There is of course a competitive side to our golf but the main thing is the entertainment of it all, the crack, the highly amusing WhatsApp chat and all that. It’s quite wonderful. And good, good people too. I am very lucky to be a part of it all. Not quite sure that they feel the same in the quid quo pro though?

And quite a few of us golfers have similar clubs and golf groups who all become great friends and love the game of golf. It’s a wonderful thing. I see this all the time with my tour guiding in St Andrews.

My Mexican tour client last week told me about his group at his club back home. They are all retired and play about 3 times a week and enjoy a few cold beers and tequilas afterwards. Why not? In moderation of course. I think he said they only have 3. Perfect!

So I will raise a glass to golfing fraternity and brotherhood and cold beer and tequila!

Quality beer and quality tequila of course. Nuevo!

Whey hey oh!

A Perfect Day

Woke to a beautifully sunny St Andrews morning and walked down early (6.30am) to the Castle Sands which was idyllic. No one there but just the lapping of gentle waves upon this stunning wee beach.

I headed then to Taste for a coffee and chat with Scotty and Lucy. We sat outside in the sun and shot the breeze for a bit.

I then headed to the Fairmont for a little bit of practice (I can luckily use the facility for free as I work there a bit as a caddie and they are most relaxed).

I had an incredible session on the range and something clicked shall I say. It was something to do with the light and the angle of the sun. But I saw my shadow at the top of a practice swing and as I say something clicked big time. I will enlarge upon this Damascene moment at the end but can I just say that I was drilling 4 irons like I’d never drilled 4 irons before. The golf ball doesn’t lie (ancient East Neuk proverb)

I then strolled back along the coastal path back into town in the sweltering heat. I found a little rock pool and undressed and sank into the wonderfully cold but refreshing sea water. First time in the sea this year.

Back then towards home I picked up a few lovely stones to finish my path off in the garden. I passed by the harbour and met John who owns The Spindle B&B and had a chat and we got talking about the Harbour Cafe and he informed me that they do a very good fish and chips there and lobster too! I was most curious and had a chat with the two lovely girls who were serving and they said yes £9 sit-in for fish and chips and £8 takeaway and the lobster has to be ordered with 24 hours notice, but it’s £20! (with chips!)

Wow! And it will be straight from the boat too!!

I’m in.

Anyway I then sauntered back to the flat and put the lamb on for dinner on a slow cook and now I am presently slow cooking in a deck chair in our back garden.

Rather bliss all said.

Now for the very curious golf afficiandos the Damascene moment is just about getting the feel of the right hand at the top of the swing. Now I have been getting hugely out of plane here for ages and I just need to feel the my right palm is kind of pointing towards the sky and then the club is parallel at the top and I can then drive from the inside and not come over the top.

But what a transformation in my strike and the ball flight, which was low! My ball flight has never been low!

This is huge guys.

My 3 tour day

It was my first Edinburgh New Town and Dean Village tour as well. I woke up at an unearthly time, 2.50 am as far as I recall (it was a big day ahead. I don’t sleep on big days ahead unfortunately), and got up at 4am.

I was on the first train from Leuchars at 5.40 and arrived in Edinburgh at 7am to just allow me time to grab my bacon baguette (with extra bacon, no sauce) and tea from Greggs before meeting my clients at the Virgin Hotel in Victoria Street.

The tour went swimmingly and I left Mark and Marilyn in Stockbridge at 11 to make my way back to Haymarket for my train to Leuchars and to get to St Andrews to meet my clients for a wee walk around the Old Course, arranged by the Old Course hotel.

I met Fernandez and crew from Puerto Rico who were just off the Castle Course and seemed in great spirits. We whisked around the Old and I showed them the important sites in town ie the Dunvegan and Auchterlonie’s and the St Andrews Golf Club and the Jigger Inn.

I then piled back to the flat for a quick coffee and went down to the Rusacks at 5pm to meet my golf tour clients for their food tour. This went equally well. Again lovely folk. I meet incredible people on my tours. Some are most inspiring.

What a day. I finished off at about 8pm and wandered back with great memories again from my new career which I am kind of loving. This beats work all day.

I had a wonderful tour the day after when I took a great fun American family of 17 from Garvock House in Dunfermline to St Andrews and Crail and then fish and chips in the Wee Chippy in Anstruther. Again a wonderful day out with some amazing people.

So this is not a bad gig altogether if I may say. Long may it continue and let’s just see how it goes. I am a go-with-the-flow kind of bloke (probably more flow than the go if the truth be known).

I am wanting to develop the food tour business for sure as this is such fun. I have been pretty inspired by Phil Rosenthal’s and Netflix’s ‘Somebody Feed Phil’ and am wondering if I can push a golf/food tour around Ireland or something like that.

This would be a no-brainer for Netflix for sure. And of course it would indulge me in my two passions, food and golf. It would also allow me to get one back on Tom Coyne for beating me to the line in writing and accomplishing ‘A Course Called Ireland’ in which he walked and played golf around Ireland.

But well done Tom for this massive achievement.

Of course I wouldn’t be walking as Tom did and indeed as I had originally intended, because that is entirely bonkers. An electric bike would do the job fine.

It’s just getting my head round this one and freeing up a bit of time for it I suppose. Simple really.

Anyway, any Netflix execs reading this please give me a call and we can grab a coffee, talk it over and all that.

Now, also wish me luck tomorrow guys in the St Andrews Golf Club Spring Prizes. I am off on the Old at 11.50. It’s one of our clubs majors to be honest and let’s say I am much happier with my golf now. My new swing is very much curtailed let’s say and stops me looping around like a Jim Furyk demented octopus at the top where it can all go badly wrong. Strange it’s taken me 40 years to sort this out though!

Well let’s face it, it’s taken me 40 years to sort my career out! (my life out?!)

Stop Press: Phil Rosenthal just liked my post on Instagram about his Kyoto visit on ‘Somebody Feed Phil’.

There is a God in heaven.

Fare forward passengers.

Woeful and most woeful

Yes it’s been a disaster on the golf front the last week. It started off with an absolute collapse in the Seniors Championship qualifying at Mortonhall where I hit the turn in 41 and was well within the final qualifying score and then I just had a swing failure of the most epic dimension.

Further, I had to concede my Jock Hutchinson match to Andy on the 12th (albeit he was 1 up and playing better) as I had stupidly accepted a tour booking from the Old Course Hotel at 11.30am and I just thought that I could squeeze in the game. But no. So that’s the Jock for another year.

I also got emphatically beaten by Alan Hogg in the Seniors knockout. But I met a lovely gentleman as a result. Golf is wonderful for this. As I met Fraser Walker also this week who turns out to be an alumni of the uni here. Small world what?

The only saving grace of my golf this week is that I scraped through in my Mortonhall singles tie but again I played some highly erratic golf.

My swing like my life is a long-term work in progress and highly unstable. It’s been a huge journey with my swing to be honest and indeed my life come to mention it!

But as the title of Beef Johnstons book rightly declares ‘Golf is hard’. Yes it is. As is life. But golf brings comraderie and that is very important in life. Very.

Anyway, on a very positive note the old tours are going most swimmingly and I got a lovely mention on Kevin Fogarty’s Scottish Golf Experience review as ‘HIGHLY recommended’. The kilted caddie food tour is up and running. Capital.

So there is life in the old dog yet. Albeit I am 62 on Saturday! Ouch. 62!? Surely not? I feel 42, 22 even on a good day with the right wind, going downhill.

Not-out too.

But I am also feeling it sometimes these days. Albeit I can still hit it as long as most folks out there, when I hit it.

I am loving this chap Phil Rosenthal and his ‘Somebody Feed Phil’ adventure. He has cracked it for sure. I am thinking about approaching some cool dude who must want to sponsor me eating and golfing my way around the world. #philrosenthal#tomcoyne#anyonereallywithloadsofmoney

That is surely a no-brainer. What fun. Finding the best courses and the best courses. This could be a lot of fun. Just email me folks with your proposition.

Anyhow it’s been lovely in St Andrews today and I have sat lingering in the garden, had a coffee in Taste, bumped into a few friends, got my bread from Mellis’s, I also popped up town in the early evening and there sat outside the Cross Keys luxuriating in the evening sun, was Andy with his wife, having a quiet beer before heading up to their pad past the East Sands. Altogether living the dream.

It’s really pretty special here.

I mean Edinburgh is lovely too but in a very different way and I am now loving getting back to the bubble that is St Andrews.

Fare forward passengers.