The Loop

Scotland Back-Roads

September 17, 2007

Ed McCreedy of Colt's Neck New Jersey liked David Owen's Back-Roads Scotland piece in October, recognizing a few of his own adventures in the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed David Owens' article, which hit the sweet spot. Having made about 14 trips to Scotland and played some 50 courses there (including all the biggies), my best memories are of those out of the way courses that one stumbles on. I've been fortunate to play Boat of Garten twice, and it is special. I would recommend nearby Carrbridge and Elgin on his next venture. Jim Finegan's writing > [Where Golf is Great, Workman] led me to the nine hole course at Anstruther, with its dogleg par three along the  Firth of Forth. Last year, while staying in Aberfeldy. I played the course there, and asked a local road worker where else I should play. He suggested the nine hole course at Strathtay (in preference to the better known Pitlochry). I played nine holes alone on the course (5 pounds in the honor box) and another golfer arrived who played a second nine with me. A great hilly and quirky course. My new friend suggested we play Taymouth Castle the next day, which we did, for a completely different experience. I highly recommend Mr. Owens' method for getting to know a great country and its real golf experience.

Fourteen trips! Ed, you're living the life I pray for. Send me details of how you pulled it off. But David's story and your comments coincided with some funny Pete Dye comments in a John Paul Newport story about him over the weekend. Dye says "I don't understand golfers a lick...or why people who are members of perfectly good clubs fly to Scotland and Ireland to play golf in the rain for a week and don't come close to breaking 90." Couple of funny comments on Geoff Schackelford's blog about it.

 [#image: /photos/55adb4bcadd713143b449d5c]|||Toughestcoursekiawah_2|||

Here's a theory, accepted only by this writer so far, on why: Because for one soggy, windy, feckless week, we are knocked and kicked free of our obsession with score. We play the sport we've turned into work. It's why we like playing your courses, Pete. Once in a while.

--Bob Carney

(Photo of Pete Dye's Ocean Course by Stephen Szurlej)