What a golf course. Long time followers know I hate the term “links style” golf course. I once said it was the equivalent of a man going on a 6 month, 50 pound gaining, beer binge and call it a pregnancy style weight gain.
Now that I have played two of the true links golf courses, my hatred was way too tame. The term “links style” is what The Scots would call (expletive deleted and rhymes with Sprite).
I actually played pretty well tee to green. However, my putting also rhymed with Sprite, to no fault of my caddie, who read every putt perfectly. I only missed two greens though 16 holes and those were collection area fringe putts, yet I was only 1 under with 2 to play. I was between 8 and 25 feet 10-12 times.
I drove it in a green side bunker on the 375 yard par 4 11th, with almost no help from the wind…but had to play 30 feet left out of a horrendous bunker with one foot out of it at address
I did, in fact, birdie the hardest hole on the course. A nearly 500 yard par 4 with the “Spectacle” bunkers. The most disappointing putt of the day was on the 250 yard par 3, 16th. Tom Watson called it the hardest par 3 in golf. When he won the 1975 Open Championship, he shot 9 under par and bogeyed it all 5 times he played it (There was an 18 hole playoff). To the nasty back pin, I hit a 3 iron about 10 feet past and above the hole, mis-judged how fast the putt was and left it short. “Nice putt fanny!!!!!!!!”
On 17 I pushed my drive slightly and ended up in the burn on the right. Hit a great 8-iron to 8 feet…and you guessed it, I missed the par putt.
I stated my goal in going to Carnoustie was to beat Jean-Claude Van De Velde on 18. I pulled my drive on 18 into the deep broccoli about 5 yards left of the fairway. I did in fact kill it and only had 110 yards left. The ball came out heavy and…..I shouted (rhymes with Sprite). Into the burn again.
67 yards left to the hole hitting 4. Threw it in there 6 feet and finished the day feeling good about my putter. Beat him by 2. Bogey, bogey finish for 1 over that would have been 3-4 under on a medioccre putting day and 5-8 on a good one.
Being in Scotland and playing these track is surreal. Hoylake tomorrow.
My view of the pin and Spectacle bunkers from my drive. My playing partner and I sitting on the lip of the Spectacles.