A fitting end to a "bucket list" tour!

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August 23rd 2017
Published: August 23rd 2017
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Bothwell Castle complete with THE castle, Roman baths from 100 a.d. and a great parkland course, was the final stop of the "Chairman's/Scottish" tour.

As the golf came to a close, nearly so came Mike's chance for a shared title as the course favoured a fade and I used it to make up the point defecit and more. However, the last was stroke 10, a challenging par-5 with water in front - the burn

A burn is a watercourse (in size from a large stream to a small river).

After two great shots, he sclaffed his 3 just short of the burn while I was recovering from a second shot that ended up "in the furniture store" to the right. His 'shot' was required and I had putt to win and a miss to tie - all is well that ends well. On a trip this memorable, we were both winners - tied on 403 points, averaging 31 points over 13 different links and parkland designs. Add 36 holes of foursomes at Muirfield and an extra nine on the par-3 at Portpatrick and I would say, we did pretty well!

We stayed in great places, the Arron House (walking distance to the Old) in St Andrews, The Golf Lodge (owned and ably operated by Tom and Emma Hill) in North Berwick, Beaches (Jan) in Ayr, the Fernhill Hotel (with dinner, bed and breakfast) in Portpatrick and home Young (exclusive to very special friends who shared the tour) in Bothwell, Glasgow.

We ate mussels, haggis, bacon rolls, Italian, traditional and no fast food. We preferred Belhaven BEST after (sometimes before) the games. We drove only about 500 miles from Fife to East Lothian to mid-Lothian to Ayrshire to Lanarkshire. We played the big one in the Open rotation - The Old, Muirfield, Prestwick (the original Open course), Royal Troon. We experienced the modern links on big Kingsbarns and the pure links at Gullane, Dunbar, North Berwick and Kilpindie. We we treated to seaside special surprises at Portpatrick and James Braid's last at Stranraer and enjoyed our host's Alan Tait and John Young, hospitality on their home courses Deer Park and Bothwell Castle. It all started with a 29 run, flying from JHB to Heathrow Terminal 5 to Edinburgh to St Andrews by car along the coast to an opening game on The Jubilee - adrenilin, back pills, plasters, some swing oil, friendship with no compromise and as they say here, some really good craic, made the trip.

We made friends at every turn and sold the St Francis Links experience to them all. I saw and learned from each destination and will have gained from them all.

Thanks John and Janellen for sharing your home, your time and your passion. Thanks Mike, for making this "one for the memory books" as we played competitively, but in the spirit of "The Great Game of GOLF". You paid more than your fair share and played some great, great golf-especially 16 and 17 on the last day.

I promised you a trip to Scotland, but this surpassed my high expectations!


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