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Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Rational Side of Golf in Scotland

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        The Scots have been at the game of golf for centuries, and it shows in many ways American golfers are pleased to encounter when they visit. Gas and electric carts, or "buggies," are not much in evidence; indeed you would not know they exist at most Scottish courses and you need to reserve one in advance to guarantee availability. It is almost as if Scottish golf professionals prefer not to tempt visiting golfers and, therefore, keep the buggies hidden away nearby. I carried a note from my doctor in the States just in case I needed one, but with a battery powered hand cart on rental at many clubs, there really is no excuse for avoiding a good walk.
        The way the Scots handicap their individual holes is entirely different than in the States, and much more rational. Using my round at the Craighead course at Crail Golfing Society yesterday as an example, it is evident that Scottish raters are not slaves to distance when deciding which holes are toughest and easiest. Whereas in the U.S. there appears to be a bias against par 3s -- they are short therefore they don't offer the opportunity for mistakes that, say, a par 5 does -- the Scots look purely at the difficulty of the hole against par.
        One other touch I found helpful and generous was at the practice range at Crail, where distances to colored posts in the practice ground are clearly marked at the tees. Especially for a visiting American for whom the air might be a bit thinner than in some parts of the States or the prevailing winds may have a novel effect on balls in flight -- they do, trust me -- being prepared at the range can help save a stroke or two on the courses at Crail.  Too many times in the U.S., the tees are moved forward and back at the practice range without noting the change in the distances.  Of course, at Crail, you hit off mats at the range and, therefore, they never have to move.  Okay, score one for the American clubs.

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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.


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