Friday, April 16, 2010

Chad Conine is a sportswriter from Texas who is spending the summer in Scotland and the town of St. Andrews. He'll be chronicling his golf adventures as we approach this year's British Open, to be held at the Old Course July 15-18.The farther we walked down the elegant halls of The Old Course Hotel,
I knew the closer we were to the garden spot.Roomwithview
David Scott, the PGA pro at the hotel, showed me to my suite right after I checked in for a two-night,
three-rounds-of-golf stay. I'm not sure if the Old Course
Hotel folks know this or not, but I'd have been plenty happy with a
room overlooking the car park. As it is, I'm a little overwhelmed.
Scott opened the door to my suite at the end of the hall and I instantly recognized the location. It's right on the corner of the hotel,
looking directly down on the 17th tee — The Road Hole. Oh, it also had
a brilliant view of The Auld Grey Toon, St. Andrews that is, back to
the northeast, and the rest of the Old Course to the northwest. I
could sit in the living room of that suite and watch golfers play
the 16th and 17th holes all day. I might've, but I had a tee time on
The Old Course just after noon. The next day, I was scheduled to play the newest loop at St. Andrews, The Castle.
I can't imagine who might be staying here in the middle of July for
The Open. A sultan? Perhaps. Someone with a private jet and helicopter
rather than a hired Hyundai i10? More than likely.
But right then, it was me, a temporary transplant from Texas. I arrived
in St.
Andrews about two weeks ago, and I'll stay until August. That
moment, sitting there looking out at the "Old Lady," as the locals call
it, and the sea beyond, had to be the highlight of the trip so far. It
certainly outranks anything I managed to do on the links.
My best accomplishment was curling my tee ball around my hotel room on
the 17th, instead of putting it in my suitcase — a distinct and scary
possibility.
Here's the thing: there are plenty of places for golfers to stay in
St.
Andrews. The town and the people here stay ready to host golfers from
around the world. After my two night stay at The Old Course
Hotel, I've returned to a lovely bed-and-breakfast outside of town. If
you want simplicity, it's here. If you want luxury, well, that's here
too. From the 14th fairway, I lined up a shot on the Fairmont Hotel
way off on the horizon. And, of course, The Old Course Hotel provides
5-star luxury in, like I said, the garden spot. After pulling my clubs
out of my compact car there, I looked around for the golf
concierge for a ride to the first tee.
Then I
realized I was a knock-down pitching wedge from the 17th green and a
five-minute walk from the first tee.
It's too much for me, really. I like to grind a little. I expect
things to be difficult. Luxury kind of freaks me out. Ahh, but then I
began my round of golf and I was back in my element. The Old Course
didn't pamper me.Photo: View from the Old Course Hotel. (Chad Conine)

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