On meeting the R&A rules man.

I played my first medal of the year yesterday at 7.12am on the Jubilee and got a par at the first. That’s as much as I am going to tell you as the rest of my round was pretty mediocre to outright shocking in places. A bit like a very bad and stormy Radio 4 Shipping Forecast, but lacking the poetry. Rockies, south to south west and heading south.

Anyhow it was a fine morning and lovely to be out on the links with a couple of top guys Kevin and Gary. Kevin was bemoaning the fact that he had qualified to play for the Jock Hutchison match play tournament at the St Andrews Club. Unfortunately he only has a competition links ticket and the upshot of this is that he has to pay the full 180 quid green fee for each match play round over the Old Course! The Links Trust is not at the moment waiving this which I think is shocking and Kevin, who ironically works for the council, is not going to give them the 180 quid per round and has rightly withdrawn. Anyway watch out for my May article in HK Golf for more examples of below par behaviour of the ‘charity’ that is the Links Trust.

I was going into the St Andrews clubhouse after the round and spotted Dave Rickman who is the R&A Rules man, so I thought I’d give him my full thoughts on the Lexi Thomson marking scandal. He was a bit reserved but as much as intimated his deep suspicions about the incident.

I also added my feelings about the size of present day markers being too large and am looking forward to see if he takes that on board and so the kilted caddie will have been instrumental in changing the Rules of Golf. I also intimated that the hole should be bigger but he didn’t appear to look like he was buying into that one.

I had a delightful lunch in the club (Penmans steak pie, chips and beans) and afterwards walked round by the Dunvegan. Now this is always a tad risky because on a fine summer’s day at noon, this is the most sublime spot in the whole of St Andrews. The benches outside the Dunvegan are in the perfect position to catch the sun and one can sit and dream away the hours, speak and wave to passers by, be gay, flirtatious and frivolous, exclaim how life is beautiful and nurture a pint of Guinness or two.

It is a beautiful position and vantage point and is a bit like sitting in the garden of Sinatras Bar in Porto Banus or the deckchairs in the snow at the Grand Ourse restaurant at the foot of the Solaise pistes in Val D’Isere. It is then that the cares of the world melt away and the warm rays of hope lift and elevate the soul. I say ‘lift and elevate’ because this is surely a spiritual transfiguration and should be described as so.

These establishments are some of my favorite places, heaven sent, offer alcohol and a wonderful platform to watch the world go by and dream away the hours, under Alpine, Marbella and Kingdom of Fife blue skies. When I am old I plan to spend much time in these spots sipping Amarone, writing my memoirs and wondering where it all went wrong.

Anyway yesterday I wasn’t going to go there all by myself but low and behold my pal, John Lupton, was already sitting there, after having just finished on the Old. And of course it would have been immensely silly and potentially very rude not to have joined him and while away a couple of delightful hours. And also John is a very good man and the Dunvegan sells very satisfactory and the most sustaining Guinness.

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