LYTHAM ST. ANNES, ENGLAND -- A trip to the British Open, whether it be the men's or the women's, always comes with a dash of culture shock. Baked beans for breakfast is one of those adjustments, as is warm, flat beer. But both are found to be well worth the effort once the mindset is recalibrated. And then there are the names, and perhaps no place yields up a better collection of amusing handles than England.
Those at this year's Ricoh Women's British Open at the Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire have the opportunity to visit any of these nearby towns and villages with lovely, quaint names: Much Hoole, Newton with Scales, Great Plumpton, Little Plumpton, Pilling, Knott End-on Sea, Hesketh-with-Becconsall, Mere Brow, Freckleton, Ribby-with-Wrea or Upper Rawcliffe with Tarnacre.
The towns surrounding this month's U. S. Women's Open at Saucon Valley CC in Bethlehem. Pa., were not nearly as poetic: Farmersville, Mechanicsville, Weaversville. Allentown, Boyertown, Butztown, Frenchtown, Hellertown, Middletown, Quakertown.
When we won our independence from Great Britain, clearly we lost the British knack for charming place-naming. No offense to the residents of Butztown, but wouldn't you rather say you were from Nether Wallop?
-- Chris Penberthy