I overheard a lovely story in Drouthy Neebor’s the other day as regular Old Tam was talking to a visitor about golf and St Andrews. It was quite sweet as this other older gentleman had got the bus up from Edinburgh, which he does a few times a year, to spend a bit a of time in a place he loves and has many happy family memories about. He was having his lunch by himself.
Anyway, the two gents got talking and were soon on to the subject of our famous game. Old Tam said that golf used to be free for the citizen’s of St Andrews until the Town Council tried to levy a six shillings charge to pay for it. The non golfers were up in arms about this and there went the free golf. However, it is still pretty cheap and I remember distinctly having to pay fifteen pounds for my yearly Links ticket as a student here. It is now about two hundred pounds a year for residents of St Andrews.
The two older gents got on to talking about the legendary caddie young Tip Anderson who was Arnold Palmer’s caddie. I actually had the pleasure of meeting him when I worked in the old Castle Bar as a student. He was very attached to this place and even turned down Arnie’s offer of buying him a house in the States to entice him to emigrate.
Old Tam recounted a story of Old Tip who was also a caddie and how he had been out on the Old Course one day with a garrulous American, who seemingly said that if Loch Ness had been in the States they would have made more out of it. Well Old Tam was having none of this and seemingly said to the chap ‘if yee could sook as weil as ye can blaw’ it would be a much better thing * and proceeded to lay down the man’s clubs and walk off the course.
* Old Scots meaning you are talking a lot of hot air with an implication that one should shut one’s mouth. Modernly said as ‘f’ing shut it’.