Aberdour Golf Course – April 2016 – Today I was up early and headed to work with Gordon Moir and while he went to his office, I sat in the conference room at the Jubilee Greenkeeping Centre at St Andrews and wrote about playing with him on The Eden Course.
We worked for a couple of hours and then headed across St Andrews to the Morris Centre where Gordon was giving a presentation at a Tru-Turf conference. I sat in on the seminar and it was fascinating. Not just history of St Andrews and the various courses but operational budgets, green keeping technology, equipment and maintenance required for the St Andrews Links.
We then jumped in the car and headed to Aberdour Golf Club where the BIGGA Central Section golf outing was taking place that afternoon.
I had a great golf chat with quite a few folk before we got in groups and headed out. I was playing with Gordon, Mark and David. Mark is the Course Manger at Aberdour and David is the Head of Greenkeeping at Ladybank (I think that is their positions).
The 1st is a par three down the hill in front of the clubhouse. To the left you have a stone wall then rocks then water and a hunk of gorse in front on the way down.
It started to snow as we stood on the tee, I smiled but I do not think my enjoyment was shared by all who stood around waiting for us to tee off.
Gordon started us off reasonably well, the rest of us not so great. The boys donated a couple of balls to the rocks and I duffed my first shot into the gorse and hit a provisional which was just as bad – in fact I think a little worse.
Gordon found my first just before the thick gorse so I hit a pretty good seven iron to the right of the green, picked up my second ball and finished the hole with a five.
Could have been worse.
We were playing an individual stableford and while I also got a five on the par three 2nd the next couple of fives gave me some more points.
The course is in great condition (thanks to Mark and his crew) and the greens were really fast. Gordon gave me a spot of advice about the greens running toward the sea which helped me adjust slightly and start sinking some good putts.
The snow stopped and started but it was never more than a light dusting and I delighted in it. I was in Scotland with a great group of people, golfing in the Kingdom of Fife in the snow. How could I not be happy?
We all had some moments of greatness but David was throwing darts, driving greens on par 4’s and sinking birdie putts (must have been the fruit, nut and dark chocolate mix I was sharing with him).
The only thing better than watching great golf is having it come off your club and I had moments of this today. I hit some fantastic shots with The Hawk and sunk some really good putts as I was reading the greens very well.
We all had a good golf chat, celebrated each others great golf and had a few laughs. Although the biggest laughs came from me as I finished the 9th. I had hit a great drive over the burn and followed that with an awesome (somewhat directionally challenged) shot with The Hawk and then hit a good sand wedge that was short into the long green side bunker.
The last half dozen bunkers I have been in (on various courses) I had played well and was out in one. I lined up but hit the bunker wall with the ball landing to my right back in the sand. I repeated the process with the same result. I repeated the process again with the same result and had a good laugh. My 7th shot flew out of the bunker and across the green where Gordon kindly picked it up for me. I had needed to chip in from the bunker to score.
My first scratched hole.
I ended up with 16 points on the front nine and I was very happy with this.
The back nine was better by all of us – well David continued throwing darts and scoring well.
I scratched the 16th after a couple of mishits with my wedge but dropped a good putt even though I wasn’t going to score and then had a reasonable 17th getting out of the green side bunker and dropping the putt nicely for a 6.
I had a couple of pars myself on the back nine finishing well with a par on the 18th.
I was going to hit my 3 hybrid off the tee but Mark suggested to club up. I pulled out The Hawk but was wary as I was hitting towards the carpark and the clubhouse. My shot down the fairway on the 16th was nearly 180 yards (towards the carpark) even though I had choked up on it so I wasn’t sure this would be the right club. I held back on it a little and finished to the left just off the green. My chip was a little directionally challenged leaving me a long par which I duly dropped for a nice par finish.
I got 19 stableford points on the back nine and finishing with 35 points I was thrilled – best stableford round I have played to date.
While I still have blowouts and can play some bad golf, I can play good golf and today my golf was mostly good.
Following the round we all heading inside for dinner, drinks and presentation. I got a visitors prize although with my 35 I would have been amongst the guys in the second division prizes. I like to think I won the ladies division and being the only woman there I had a good chance of that.
David won the first division with his well played 39 points.
I had a great chat with David and Mark about golf in Scotland and golf in general worldwide and various marketing strategies courses are adopting to encourage more people to take up golf. As members die off they are not being replaced so something has to change, a different outlook has to be adopted and new ways to do things has to be implemented.
I love golf and while new to it, I love the traditions and the history and the stories however I also want to ensure there are many quality courses for me to play in thirty years time and for this to occur golf needs to reinvent itself a little, dust off some stuffiness and move into the 21st century.
I won a prize in the raffle and as there was three left to choose from (a mens t shirt, mens jacket and litre of Bacardi) I asked Gordon if he drank Bacardi.
Gordon drove us home via the coastal route to show me some more of the area then we stopped in at St Andrews Golf Club so he could book his tee time for the weekend.
The Bacardi is not nearly enough to thank Gordon and Pauline for their hospitality and for letting me tag along in his world for the last couple of days, but he will enjoy it.