UK Kingdom Travel Journal—Day 16

The Old Course at St. Andrews

Today we traveled from London to New York to Nashville.

I do not like traveling because of the security measures, being herded like cattle from one place to another, moving bags from one place to another, packing, unpacking, and packing again.

But what would Bede, Cuthbert, or Knox have thought about the speed and comfort in which we travel today?

I try not to complain, but I am a work in progress.

Yesterday we were in boarding group 4. As we watched groups 1-3 board first, I bemoaned the elitist system that would classify people traveling into groups and give one preference over the other.

Thankfully, today we were in First Class on the flight from London to New York.

On the flight back to the States I was able to finish a book I was reading for the trip, A Season in Dornoch, a book about a golf writer who spent a summer in Dornoch. Not much to recommend there, but it got me thinking about links golf.One of the reasons I love Scotland is playing golf on links courses. Links golf is not like golf in the United States. Links refers to the land connecting the ocean to the mainland. Links land is hard, wind-blown, sandy soil, sculpted into mogul-like mounding from sand blowing onto the land from the beach over hundreds of years.

Links courses are different than so-called parkland courses in the United States and other places around the world. In the United States a new golf course requires a golf course architect and moving of tons of dirt to shape the course. A good links course is not so much designed as it is discovered. This is why when you ask in St. Andrews who designed The Old Course, a good Scot will answer, “Gud.” God and golf.

Wind is a given and considered part of the challenge of links golf. It’s common for a links course to go out one way for the first nine holes and return the opposite direction on the second nine. The wind that helped or crossed from right-to-left going out is in one’s face or left-to-right coming in. God designs the links course and determines the conditions in which it is played. Maybe that’s a reason I keep coming back.

By the time we arrived in Nashville we had been awake nearly twenty-four hours and were ready to go to sleep.

We are staying with Dr. and Mrs. H tonight in their home near Nashville and tomorrow will leave early for the last leg of our journey home. GS

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