Andy Campbell picked me up at the Rusacks Hotel at 6 AM and we were off to coordinate the pickup of our group at Edinburgh Airport. By design Saturday did not include any organized golf for the group. The "day off" was intended to help people get rested, acclimated and organized for the six rounds of golf coming up.
The largest contingent (11) was on Delta's non-stop flight from New York/JFK. Thanks to Scott Schukraft for taking this pre-flight photo.
(l-r) Bob Kamp, Brian Green, Kevin Collins, Jeff Hemphill and Rich Struss at JFK airport.
Everyone was scheduled to be into Edinburgh by 9:30. Our only travel casualty was Butch Sheffield, who was nearly four hours late due to a mechanical issue with American at JFK. When I realized Butch would arrive later than the rest of the group I spoke with the station manager for the airline and she assured me that they would get him a ride (and pay for same) to St. Andrews. I'm happy to report that's exactly what happened.
Transportation from Edinburgh to St. Andrews was provided by Andy and two van service companies.
After settling in, some folks decided to get up a game that afternoon. Six players took to St. Andrews Jubilee Course for the afternoon. We are staying adjacent to St. Andrews Links, so the participants simply threw their clubs over their shoulders and walked ten minutes to their respective clubhouses. A few also checked out the Himalayas putting course.
Andy heard there might be a few single spots on the Old Course so we drew numbers at the hotel to determine the order we would enter the standby list. Tim Pratt arrived from South Korea on Friday (a day earlier than the rest) and was the first out on The Old Course on Saturday while we were riding in from Edinburgh.
Jeff Hemphill, Kevin Frank and I were offered "dark times" (between 1-1:40 PM) with the understanding that we might not finish before dark. So in the spirit of "bird-in-the-hand" the three of us also set out to play as part of two different groups.
Above, Jeff Hemphill tees off on #1 at the Old Course.
Below, Kevin Frank of Michigan State on the Swilcan bridge.
We also heard the good news that four members of our group -- Doug Middleton, Kevin Collins, and Mike & Ray Golden -- were successfully drawn from the ballot to play the Old Course on Monday. That makes eight out of nineteen golfers who are assured at this point to have this "round of a lifetime" experience on the TurfNet trip to Scotland.
Kevin Frank ® says "not this time" as he successfully skirts the iconic Hell Bunker.
Standing on the first tee of The Old Course is as daunting as it appears. There could be fifty or more people just watching the first tee or strolling by. As I walked down the first fairway a rush came over me and I realized that this was the start of a very special round of golf.
It was mostly clear but very windy, with the flagsticks taking their usual punishment from the wind. Our playing partners were also determined to finish before dark so we managed to get in the entire round with about twenty minutes of daylight to spare. The setting sun made for some outstanding photos.
Above, Kevin Frank leaning into the wind on the Old Course. Below, the 18th green at dusk.
Andy Campbell and his wife Claire were in town as Kevin Frank and I came up the 18th fairway. Andy invited us into the historic St. Andrews Golf Club -- of which he is a member -- for a round of drinks. The St. Andrews Golf Club was founded in 1888 and has a great view of the 18th green of the Old Course. It will also be the location for the Wednesday evening presentation to our group by Steve Isaac from the R&A.
Most folks found their way to the classic Dunvegan Hotel (only a 9-iron from the Old Course) for another round of drinks and dinner. With everyone in town and some having played golf on the Old Course, Saturday was another perfect day in the annals of TurfNet member trips.