Welcome to Stuff Golfers Should Know, a GOLF.com series in which we reveal all kinds of useful golf (and life!) wisdom that is sure to make you the smartest, savviest and most prepared player in your foursome.
Check out the golf on TV this weekend. The wind is up. The grass is high. Balls are bounding wildly across a crumpled landscape. This is the game as it was originally intended.
Looks fun, right? In case the images from Scotland or our inaugural Top 100 Courses in the UK and Ireland ranking aren’t enough to inspire you, here are eight other reasons to start planning a golf buddies’ trip across the pond.
Next week’s Open Championship will be played on the Old Course, which ranks third on GOLF’s roster of Top 100 Courses in the World (that’s higher than the likes of Augusta, Shinnecock, Merion and Oakmont, if you’re keeping score at home). Tough tee time, sure, but it’s open to the public. And that’s the thing. Unlike in the US, where many championship venues are intensely private, almost all the best spots in the UK and Ireland are places that will, you know, let you on.
The Hidden Gems:
Yes, it’s a tired term, but it applies across the pond. Swing through any sleepy little town, and you’re apt to come across a killer little course. Odds are it will be friendly, frequented by locals and largely overlooked by the tour-bus crowd.
The Post-Round Camaraderie
In this part of the world, it is not standard practice to put out on 18 and rush back to the office. You prolong the enjoyment by retiring to the clubhouse for a pop or two in the festive company of your playing partners. It’s not unheard of to invite your caddies, too.
Maybe you know the one about the American in Scotland who hits a breakfast ball and then asks his caddy if there’s a local term for “Mulligan.” “There is, sir,” says the looper. “We call that ‘3.’” Accurate or not, the story points to a truth. a great many of the caddies are characters with a cracking sense of humor. Often, they are members of the course where you are playing, pocketing extra money in their spare time. Their counsel and companionship is as central to the experience as the knock-down shot.
“Night wind, night golf,” the saying goes. This is the game played in the elements, with weather as unpredictable as your putting. Anyone who gripes about it simply doesn’t get it. Embrace the experience, along with the quirky bounces you’re guaranteed to get.
The Inland Courses:
There’s nothing quite like links golf, hard along the sea. But it’s far from the only golf worth playing. Courses like Woking, Sunningdale and Walton Heath represent a tiny sampling of the wondrous inland layouts that you’d miss if you clung only to the coast.
The best parts about this game are the places it takes you and the people you meet. The memories you make over pub grub and pints will be every bit as vivid as your recollections of the courses you play.
There’s no way around it. the logistics of a golf trip can be a pain. Good thing they’re outsourcing. With a phone call or a few clicks, you can find a trusted travel company that will handle every detail for you, including all that driving on the wrong side of the road.