Merry Christmas 2017.
Merry Christmas to everyone, all of you who have taken some of your time to read our thoughts here on DogLegNews this year.
You might notice we didn’t come up with any of those typical “Christmas Gifts For Golfers” type of lists.
Have a different gift suggestion for you.
Make it a gift for next year, a gift that will last forever, give you memories that will last to the day your time on earth is done.
Give yourself the gift of a round of golf on The Old Course at St. Andrews.
Forget Pebble Beach or Augusta National or any of the touted famous venues in the United States.
Give yourself the gift of history. You will thank yourself.
Won’t ever need anything under my tree after standing on the first tee of the Old Course with the ancient R&A Clubhouse looking over my shoulder. When you think about all the great players who have stood on that first tee, it’s a bit overwhelming.
Everyone who is anyone has competed on The Old Course. The winners of the Open Championship there are a Who’s Who of golf.
This course stood here long before Pebble or Augusta or any of those places came about.
This is the father of them all, this is where the sea meets the land, no trees, only gorse and 147 bunkers there to greet you.
These days The Old Course also has accomplices — there’s the New Course, the Jubilee Course, the Eden Course, The Castle Course, Balgove Course and Strathtyrum Course. One of the really interesting things is the Ladies Putting Course located right next to the second tee of The Old Course. And yes, the ladies do get out there and have a putting tournament. History has it that some unfortunate bloke was cutting across the green in the middle of a competition and one of the old gals clobbered him with her putter.
Back on The Old Course, the walk is unforgettable. Pure links. You go out and then you approach “The Loop.” An old Scottish caddie once proclaimed: “Aye Laddie, ye can nay play St. Andrews unless ye can cane The Loop.” Cane the loop means to play the Loop Holes, nine, 10, 11 and 12, under par. I can look back on my scorecard and see that I played the Loop Holes one-over. Not bad for an old guy.
After the loop you head for home and look forward to one of golf’s most iconic tee shots. That will come at the 17th where you have to decide if you want to challenge the Old Course Hotel.
Felt good that wonderful day and bit off a bunch and was rewarded with a pretty good look at the green of the world-famous Road Hole. Will forever remember that the pin was on the toughest part of the green, way left and that my par putt from 12 feet hung precariously on the lip. Unlike Jordan Spieth, it didn’t cost me the Open Championship.
The 18th skirts the town, a street sits on the other side of the course fence with shops and hotels overlooking your play on the final hole.
Crossing the Swilcan Bridge will be embedded in your memory banks. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer both stood there and waved goodbye to Scotland. I waved hello.
You have to go. You owe yourself this incredible gift.
You’ll never ask for another thing, ever.
All I’ll ever ask is a return to Scotland. A return to St. Andrews and The Old Course.
It will call to you, forever.
Merry Christmas and God Bless everyone!