Chad Conine is a sportswriter from Texas who spent the summer in Scotland and the town of St. Andrews. He chronicled his golf adventures before this year's British Open, held at the Old Course July 15-18.I could keep this Scotland golf blog rolling along with reviews of courses almost indefinitely, and it might stay fresh as the country offers an almost unlimited supply of courses with stories.
But I'd rather, at least from time to time, write about golf buddies, which I've also found in ready supply so far in my six weeks here in the home of golf.
I've played with Magnus, Kjetil and Anders from Norway; Boris and Liza from Russia; Willie from South Africa; Ruben from Spain; Alan from Ireland; Jamie from Northern Ireland; Jon from England; Hugh and Charlie (and a long list of others, including my regular Friday game with guys from church) from Scotland; Evan from Chicago; and Jim and Lucian from Mississippi.
My latest golf buddy is Greg Colosi from Rochester, New York, who touts his Scottish alter-ego Gregory McGregor and unironically describes himself as "The Most Interesting Golfer In The World."
Like many golfers I meet here in St. Andrews, Colosi has made the trip to play golf in Scotland an annual affair. For the past three years, he's brought along several golfing buddies, but this year he made the trip solo. This, oddly, is not unusual. I've bumped into several dudes who, for one reason or another, trek alone into the links land of Scotland. In fact, I suppose I'm one of them in a way, though at this point I have enough regular games that it doesn't feel that way.
Anyway, I teamed up with Colosi last week and it's been a whirlwind. We played a match against Irish lads on Saturday at Jubilee, which we lost, then a skins game at Lundkin Links on Sunday. It was back to St. Andrews for another match against the Irish at The New on Monday (lost again), and then a U.S. versus U.K. match against Jamie and Jon at The Castle on Tuesday (sadly, we lost for a third time). On Wednesday, it was every man for himself as Colosi and I paired with the two gents from Mississippi for a mid-afternoon loop around The Old Course.
Colosi embraces all that is golf, which this week included purchasing hickory clubs and wearing knickers, complete with a matching Ben Hogan hat at The Old Course. Because he now wants to play a round with his hickory sticks, we're headed to a course that specifically caters to that, then later in the week a drive north to Carnoustie.
Honestly, the week might be wearing out my budget as well as my legs, but the ride's been worth it.
CHIP SHOT — A sign that I'm capable of learning: I've finally begun playing shots to land on the front of the green rather than playing them to finish by the hole. This was a painful lesson as at least twice a round over the last couple of weeks I've seen a shot which I thought was going to nestle in just beside the cup instead run over the green to an area where it was almost impossible to get up and down. So, problem solved, at least temporarily. I'm a little embarrassed it took me close to 50 rounds in Scotland to discover this.(Photo: New golfing buddies, from left, Jamie Moore, Chad Conine, Greg Colosi and Jon Muir tackled The Castle in St. Andrews for an impromptu U.S. vs. U.K. match. Moore, from Northern Ireland, and Muir, from England, claimed the win for the U.K., 5 and 4.)