Courses & TravelSeptember 13, 2011

Dream Trip to Scotland, Day 11: Carnoustie

Kevin Daly is a good friend who's on a dream golf trip to Scotland __*with his brother Mike. After he sent me his itinerary -- *21 rounds in 14 days__ -- I asked him to file a series of trip reports, which I'd post to the blog. Here's Day 11:*

  •               __[Carnoustie:]( __That was the plan for the afternoon. But our morning was available for the missing link, so to speak. "Shall we try to play Kingsbarns?" A breakfast discussion that inspired much debate.  Throughout our days in Scotland we had not heard a negative comment about Kingsbarns, and although we wanted to play it, because of exhaustion and preparation for an afternoon round at "Carnastie," we decided to take it easy and stroll through the town of St. Andrews. After buying mementos for our loved ones, we relaxed with a cappuccino at Rocca Restaurant and Cafe, which offers a scenic view of the Old Course's 18th. While saying our goodbyes to the lovely Elaine and Derek, proprietors of [__the Kinburn Guest House__]( who graciously tended to our needs, I mentioned that we enjoyed all the weather Scotland has to offer, with the exception of sideways rain. The 40-minute drive up the coast for a late-afternoon tee time (4:40 p.m.) seemed benign enough, except for the curious dark clouds hanging out over the North Sea. Considered the most difficult course on the Open Rota, Carnoustie is a great layout; probably the best greens we've played (a bit better than St. Andrews), and it has a lot of fairway bunkers that always seem to come into play. 

We were paired with two gentlemen from Dallas, Brian and Bill, but I'd like to spend the rest of the time writing about my brother Mike. I've never witnessed a better round of golf. The sideways rain showed up, and we played in the most miserable weather imaginable. It didn't help that I was suffering from a sinus infection. I watched how Mike managed his grips, his gloves, the course and most importantly, his head (without a caddie, by the way). Bill's caddie pulled me to the side on 14th and said, "Your brother is as steady as they come."   [#image: /photos/55ad7486add713143b425b6c]|||Daly_Carnoustie_2.jpg|||In an attempt to beat the dark, and to make sure Mike could finish his round, we played the last four holes -- arguably the most difficult holes in championship golf -- as quickly as we could. To give you a better idea of how bad it was, after playing the 16th, both Bill's and Brian's caddies were ready to call it a day. We got an incredulous look when we said, "Where's the 17th tee?"  We both hit good shots into 17, but only one ball was on the green. Only 10 feet from the pin, I hoped it was Mike's ball, not mine. It was Mike's, but he missed the putt. [#image: /photos/55ad7486add713143b425b6f]|||Daly_Carnoustie.jpg|||With the clock on the Carnoustie clubhouse as our only directional marker off 18th tee, we soldiered on to the end. It was the priest scene in Caddyshack.* "I don't think the heavy stuff's gonna come down for quite a while." *Scores: Mike 73 (he bogeyed three of the last four holes); Kevin 90+. And so it was done. We drove over 1000 miles, walked 100 more; we played 20 rounds on 16 courses in 11 days. After 360 holes, we were wiped out. (__Here's an updated map of our travels.__)


--Kevin Daly.

Editor's note:* On Thursday I will be posting a Q&A with Kevin. Among other questions, I'll ask him for his five favorite courses, the best value golf, if he has any regrets, and would he ever do a trip like this again.*

--Matty G.

(You can follow me on Twitter @Matt_Ginella.)

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