Friday, August 5, 2011
The Carnoustie Experience
By now most of you know that I just got back from Scotland. My wife and I spent the better part of 7 days on the Carnoustie Links Golf Course, home of the 2011 British Open. I will not get into any of the results as they have been well documented by now.
What I do want to say is that this was our first trip to Europe. We left New Jersey the Saturday night before the tournament and arrived at Edinburgh airport early Sunday morning. Needless to say driving on the "wrong side of the road" was an experience. The drive to our hotel was supposed to be about 90 minutes, but with all the crazy "roundabouts" we arrived about four hours later. The hotel was an old converted mansion that turned out to be a spectacular place to stay at. As we were checking in, Mindy Kim was checking in behind us. As it turned out we were one of the few non LPGA members staying at the hotel. Na Yeon Choi and Janice Moody were on each side of our room.
Let me tell you about the people of Scotland. My wife and I travel to quite a few of these LPGA tournaments every year, and we can honestly say that we have never met nicer people. From the hotel staff, to the waiters and waitresses at the restaurants everyone did their very best to make us feel at home.
Carnoustie was the first "links course" that I have ever experienced. The rough, Gorse, Fescue and pot bunkers, made this a very challenging place to play. As in any Links Course weather is a big challenge. If it does not rain and the wind does not blow, the course could become defenseless. We saw a couple of 64's shot on Friday during ideal conditions. Katie Futcher's 64 in the wind on Sunday was unexplainable. It certainly may have wrapped up a spot for her on the Solheim team.
Having been to both the U.S. open and the British open this year, I would like to say that the U.S.G.A. should take notice of how things were done at Carnoustie. The U.S.G.A charges a special rate for what they call a Trophy Club Pass. It allows you into a tent where you can buy food and have shelter in case of bad weather. During this year's Open when it rained (every day), they were turning away people who paid extra because the tent filled up. Most people were left stranded. The British Open course provided shelter in many areas including an entire village that ran along side the course. The USGA provides only porta potties on the course, where we had real bathrooms (septic) in various places on the Scottish course. We also had a choice of various fine foods instead of the "garbage" served in each of the last 3 U.S. Opens I have attended. U.S.G.A. open your eyes if you want more fans to attend.
Finally I would like to share a few pictures:
The first tee.
My Favorite Golfer, Paula Creamer:
Natile Gulbis and Stacy Lewis:
In 2013, Scotand will be the host once again of the British Open. It will be held on the "Old Course" at St. Andrews. You can bet the house that I will be in attendance.