Crossing Scotland - Getting There
By Blaine Newnham
Day One: Getting there.
Day One on any trip to Europe - even if is a 12-day celebration of the game of golf - is a long a one.
Our foursome rendezvoused in Newark, N.J. where weather compelled us to miss a connecting flight to Edinburgh, Scotland.
So we were re-routed to Heathrow in London and then on to Edinburgh, putting us six hours behind schedule and unable to make the tee time at Crail, designed in the 1890s by none other than Old Tom Morris.
This was a trip to visit as many funky courses as famous ones. We will drive right past Carnoustie, heading instead to Cruden Bay. We would rather try Montrose - where they've been playing golf for 450 years - than Murfield, and give up about anything to finally make it to the Highlands and play Royal Dornoch.
There was one thing we wouldn't give up and that was any chance to play the Old Course at St. Andrews. The story of waiting to sign up as a single at dawn is for another day, like tomorrow.
There was so much to think about in planning the trip. Little things, like how many golf balls to bring, like how to make the golf bag as light as possible, like how to prepare for the weather.
The answer? Like always, when traveling, less is better. You might find as many balls as you lose, leave most of the wedges at home (you'll be putting from off the green) and make sure you have a rain suit and a bucket hat.
We flew United Air Lines which has the direct flight from Newark to Edinburgh. For international flights, United doesn't charge for the first checked bag but hits you for $100 for a second.
We all checked a golf bag with a few extra winter-wear clothes stuffed into it, and took everything else abroad in a carry-on that met the airlines size requirements.
This was my fifth trip to Europe to play golf, having been three times to Ireland, and once to Wales. I had covered two British Opens in Scotland, at Turnberry and St. Andrews and played a couple of Scottish courses, but wanted to get to Aberdeen for a look at the venerable Cruden
Bay as well as the new Trump Course. Then it would be up in the Highlands and Royal Dornoch. We would finish at North Berwick, in some ways the most celebrated of them all.
We'd drive a rent-a-car on the wrong side of the road. We'd transport our own clubs each day around the course. We'd play the ball the way we found it.
I wanted to find out how Scotland stacked up to Ireland, and how a 71-year-old would handle that much golf - 12 rounds in 10 days.
Revised: 05/13/2013 - Article Viewed 18,945 Times
Written By: Blaine Newnham
Thirty five years as a sports columnist - last 23 in Seattle - during which he witnessed five Olympic Games as well as Tiger Woods four consecutive major championship victories. He covered Willie Mays when he played for the San Francisco Giants, Steve Prefontaine when he ran for Oregon, Ken Griffey Jr. when he debuted for the Seattle Mariners. He walked 18 holes with Ben Hogan at the 1966 U.S. Open, and saw Larry Mize chip in to beat Greg Norman at the Masters. He has written two books, including Golf Basics for Barnes and Noble and played everywhere from Ballybunion to Bandon Dunes, his most recent trip in May, a nine-rounds-in-seven-days gambol from Dublin to Northern Ireland and back. He and his wife, Joanna, live in Indianola, Wa.
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