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James Brown

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2023, 07:58:00 PM »
At Lahinch in July 2007 with a group of Penn Staters.  First round off the plane.    Played the first 7 holes mostly down wind in like 2 over and then the weather and jet lag and rough and firm ground and lack of patience got me and I limped to 86 and scratching my head coming home.  Was windy as hell for a week and didn’t come close to breakking 80 that whole trip and was hooked on links golf forever.  Came home with a swing where I could only hit 30 yard low hooks.  I’ve been going back almost every summer since! 


What I remember well that first trip was a piece of caddie advice about halfway through that really helped:  Stop trying to play so many manufactured “links shots” and just make good balanced swings with solid contact that allow for the effects of the wind and the ground.   This was how Tom Watson played he said. 

Steve Wilson

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2023, 02:46:40 PM »
St. Andrews 1979


I was on a nine week jaunt around the British Isles including Ireland.


I had been living in a golf desert for the preceding three years and so had virtually been away
from the game during that time. 


I spent a week in Edinburgh and played one of the Braid Hills courses to "warm up" for St. Andrews.


Took the train to Leuchars and the bus from their into the town.


I don't remember which course I went out on, maybe the New.  As I was playing with rented clubs and out of
practice I decided to take a long iron off the tee.  I hit that first shot in the forehead, but as the summer had
been dry and warm the course was lively and the ball was running.  I estimate I got about 180  yards out of it.
Playing the second with the same club I performed essentially the same shot and saw the ball scamper directly
at the green where it came to rest.  I don't remember the length of the birdie putt, but I do know I missed it.
The rest of the day did not go so well, but the golf gods gave me a kind introduction in order to lure me back.
I spent four of my seven days in Edinburgh traveling to St. Andrews and playing the various courses.  I enjoyed
it even then, caught on to the concept of landing the ball short and letting it run.  Learned not to reach into a
gorse bush no matter how easy it seemed to retrieve an errant shot.  Dig it out with the club or leave it be.


Because my game was in such ragged condition, I didn't attempt to play the Old Course as I didn't want to take
the chance of ruining someone else's experience.  The cost at the time was 12 GBP. 


If I had it to do over, I would have played the Old Course, made the apologies when and if necessary.  Of course,
the possibility always exists that I wouldn't have been the worst player in the group. 


42 years ago, doesn't seem possible.
Some days you play golf, some days you find things.

I'm not really registered, but I couldn't find a symbol for certifiable.

"Every good drive by a high handicapper will be punished..."  Garland Bailey at the BUDA in sharing with me what the better player should always remember.

ward peyronnin

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2023, 04:52:18 PM »
Well as i recall it was on the eight green after the tank suits came off when we snuck away from the swim team dance party.
Miss that swimming garb but it doesn't miss me
"Golf is happiness. It's intoxication w/o the hangover; stimulation w/o the pills. It's price is high yet its rewards are richer. Some say its a boys pastime but it builds men. It cleanses the mind/rejuvenates the body. It is these things and many more for those of us who truly love it." M.Norman

Joe_Tucholski

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2023, 10:45:56 PM »
I played the courses at Bandon in 2011, while in school.  I played 54-72 holes a day for 3 days (stayed one night at the resort to get prime tee times).  The elevated nature I guess isn't true links.  I joined this site shortly after that trip and someone recommended I get a passport.

I got that passport and made a graduation trip in 2013.  First course on the trip was Pennard.  Not sure if it can be classified as a true links either with the same elevation issue.  Sure was a great experience with the bumps and rolls of the ground.  I started out as a single but caught a group of 2 local members.  1 was the junior club champion and about to head off to the US to play college golf.
A photo walking off the first tee on that first trip:



The first true links was at Borth & Ynyslas
where I played in an open comp.  I apparently booked for the day before but the club was extremely accommodating and paired me with the current past (or last?) captain and his daughter.  Luckily the event was a Stableford.  Due to the wind and rain, I picked up on more than one hole. 

The first courses I played in the UK were exactly what I hoped they would be.  Places that were great fun, maintained in an appropriate and modest way, making them affordable for the locals who were appropriately proud to share their home clubs.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2023, 10:08:49 PM by Joe_Tucholski »

ward peyronnin

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2023, 10:47:32 AM »
Joe
One is never truly a single at Pennard- the cows keep you company.

What an intriguing place to start your UK journey. Many happy returns to well head of golf.

Do you deem your links experience provided you a fundamntally different way to look at the game compared to your college peers?
"Golf is happiness. It's intoxication w/o the hangover; stimulation w/o the pills. It's price is high yet its rewards are richer. Some say its a boys pastime but it builds men. It cleanses the mind/rejuvenates the body. It is these things and many more for those of us who truly love it." M.Norman

Matt Wharton

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2023, 11:25:28 AM »
January 18, 2019, The Old Course, St. Andrews. We waited out a lengthy frost delay and teed off with rental clubs around 11:30 am. I flushed it down the middle on 1 then proceeded to blade my wedge off the hitting mat across the burn and over the first green onto the back of the 2nd tee leading to a triple bogey. I drove it a little too far left on 2 and got caught in Cheape's bunker and had to blast out sideways, felt like that was a proper introduction. On 3 my caddie suggested we lay back with 3-wood off the tee but the frozen ground allowed my tee shot to run all the way into Cartgate.


I eventually settled down and made 10 pars on the day. My drive on 17 over the corner of the hotel was thrilling and I attempted to sling a hybrid from right-to-left onto the far right side of the green. The shot stayed straight and I 3-putted from just off the green, I had narrowly avoided going over the ridge down onto the road. I did manage to get up and down from off the back of 18 for a finishing par and a day I'll never forget.


The next day my friend and I played 9 holes at The Old Course at Musselburgh with rented hickory clubs and I parred the last two holes to break 50.
Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG
Carolina Golf Club
Charlotte, NC

Marty Bonnar

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2023, 05:43:01 PM »
Playing TOC off mats is like making love to Brigitte Bardot wearing a wellington boot on your Shinnythingy.
F.
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town.

Bob Montle

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #32 on: January 05, 2023, 10:03:24 PM »
My story is when I got to play on the Old Course for free.
First trip to Scotland.  Drove straight to St Andrews.
Parked.  Went to the kiosk to make a reservation on the New for the next day.
Alas, there was a tournament that day.

The starter was wonderful.  "Do you have your clubs?"   
"Yes, in my car.""Could you be on the tee in 10 minutes and be willing to play alone?"
Of course I could!    The starter got me a trolly and I apologized for the shabby bag and mis-matched clubs. Never forget what he said: "Its no the fancy clubs that make a gowfer.  You'll be fine."
With three foursomes watching behind me, I scrambled to a bogey.  But soon it happened.  A big pull hook sailed onto the Old Course!
I left my bag and ran to my ball with a six iron.  Nobody within a hundred yards of me.   Took my iron and hit back onto the New.
But I had actually hit a shot on the hallowed ground of the Old Course.Truth
"If you're the swearing type, golf will give you plenty to swear about.  If you're the type to get down on yourself, you'll have ample opportunities to get depressed.  If you like to stop and smell the roses, here's your chance.  Golf never judges; it just brings out who you are."

Jon Gonzalez

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2023, 01:28:46 PM »
First post here, thank you all for having me.


My first trip to the UK was life-altering. I have played golf for all but 5 of my near 44 years alive, and always liked a type of golf where shotmaking was at a premium and the brain was the primary tool of facing the course. Unfortunately, through my youth and much of my adult life I had never experienced Links golf.


My first Links course was Royal Dornoch. While there I remember the pure joy I felt finding something almost religiously for me. I remember every shot I hit on that course and have now traveled all over the UK searching for as much of the Links life as I can find.

I credit discovering that it was links golf that had all the elements that I didn't understand I loved with my desire to explore more about course architecture and understand the "why" I liked certain things. I've learned so much due to rounds played on these amazing treasures of golf, and just as important are learning things I don't like about courses revered by many. An excellent journey indeed.


Thank you again to all for having me and I look forward to interacting with you all going forward.

Michael Morandi

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2023, 09:44:56 PM »
My first links experience, if you do not count Shinnecock Hills, was at the equally if not more difficult Carnoustie in 1998. Baptism by fire. This was followed by rounds at Royal Troon, Western Gailes, Baltre/County Louth, RCD and RP. I fell in love with the strategy and the ground game and am lucky to call CalClub home, where I get to play many of the same shots those courses allow.

Matt Wharton

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #35 on: January 07, 2023, 10:13:25 AM »
Playing TOC off mats is like making love to Brigitte Bardot wearing a wellington boot on your Shinnythingy.
F.
I'm not going to lie Marty, I agonized over the entire mat thing plus the fact I would be using rental clubs. I mean, this is my first time and there are no guarantees I will ever make it back. But honestly I only played like 8 shots from mats the entire round as several drives crept into the edge of the rough and I always used putter from around the greens. My experience was one I will always cherish and never forget, and wasn't cheapened like I had feared. Now to just make it back and go around with my hickories, that would be like what?
Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG
Carolina Golf Club
Charlotte, NC

jeffwarne

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2023, 12:45:43 AM »
My final year(1991) at Long Cove I had 3 weeks of vacation I was told to use or lose it.
I was invited to stay with a LC member who had grown up in Waterville,made his fortune and had bought the Cableman’s house overlooking the town.


We played Waterville at least a dozen times, along with Tralee, Dooks,Mount Juliet, Carlow and Kilkenny, racing along the narrow roads in the Chief of Police car (Tom Murphy whose son Mark of Big Break fame I would randomly stumble across later in life). “Don’t worry-I know the roads” he’d say as I grimaced as we flew around blind corners on roads narrower than a cart path.


I was smitten.
My wife eventually forgave me,,,
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Ian Mackenzie

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2023, 09:07:33 AM »
1990 - Turnberry Ailsa course.


Flew non-stop Chicago-Glasgow with two buddies.
Rented a van, drove straight to Turnberry and teed off by 11:30 am local time.


Then played Troon, Prestwick and Western Gailes followed by a drive to St. Andrews for TOC, Scottscraig and Carnoustie.
Stayed at Rusack's.


We had one day off to "sight-see". However, that night, in walked 40+ men into Rusack's and they were playing a Scotland V. Ireland Golf club secretaries match. Since it was me, Tim McMahaon and Sean Mcnicholas, (my chi pals), they insisted we join them at Ladybank the next day.


then two days at Gleneagles and home with the first sore back of my golfing life...;-)

Peter Bowman

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2023, 12:45:52 PM »

Corballis Links, July 2019
Donabate, Ireland
Amazingly fun links course for only €27. Best deal i ever had in golf.We played The Island Club right afterward



Headed back there in June

Mike Rost

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2023, 11:37:06 AM »
Prestwick, August 2001.  A redeye coach flight for an early afternoon tee time.  I was a 25ish handicap playing with a Tylenol PM hangover.  I pulled my 1st hole tee shot into some browned out fescue on the left and had a blind second shot in over a mound.   I hit what felt like a pretty good 7 iron and heard my buddy in the fair say, "oh get in."  So to answer your question, i did it with a tap in birdie!  I didn't crack 100 that round or the next morning at Western Gailes but finished up nicely with 3 much better rounds at Turnbury before heading home, hooked for life on links golf.

David_Tepper

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #40 on: January 10, 2023, 04:54:41 PM »
My first links golf experience was a trip to Ireland in 1984. An Irish travel article in Golf Digest in 1983 and a feature article on golf in Ireland in Sports Illustrated in the spring of 1984, whetted my appetite for making the trip over. The fact that the U.S. dollar was very strong back then certainly made the trip more affordable. In addition, green fees at even the best known courses in Ireland back then were no more than 25-30 Irish pounds (punts).

Traveling by myself I played Portmarnock & Royal Dublin, then headed inland and south to play Carlow. That was followed by both courses at Killarney. Heading to the west coast I played Ballybunnion, Lahinch and Rosses Point. Then I crossed the border into Northern Ireland and drove east across the country to play Royal Country Down. 9 courses (and a lot of driving!) in 7 days.       

I enjoyed that trip so much I went to England in 1985 and played 13 courses (5 links) there.

Doug Bolls

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #41 on: January 10, 2023, 09:28:57 PM »
My first experience was 1987 - American Airlines was running a 1 free with 1 offer from LAX to Manchester.  My next door neighbor and I were planning some kind of golf trip about that time, and settled on St. Andrews.


Took the train from Manchester to Leuchars..stayed in a Bn'B (Craig House) in St Andrews.  On May 16, after a full night/day of travel we went out on the New Course.  I remember it was late afternoon and we finished somewhere around 9:00 PM.


The next day we played The Old Course as a couple of "walk ons" late in the morning - That was my 100th different golf course!


Since that time I have (like a few of you) played over 1000 different courses (1027 and counting).  I have been back to St. Andrews a couple of other times.  However, that first trip still sticks in my mind as one of the best. 


Drew Groeger

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #42 on: January 12, 2023, 08:21:11 PM »
Kilspindie, September of 2016. Went to Scotland with my wife to celebrate my birthday (one that ends in a zero!). I had planned out the whole trip, golf wise. A week in Edinburgh to play courses along the East Lothian coast, then a week in St, Andrews. Decided on Kilspindie for a "soft" start to links golfing, ha!

Took the train from Waverly to Longniddry and then a bus to Aberlady. But the bus never showed. Started to sweat standing there waiting for the bus as my tee time approached. Finally called a taxi and I'm pretty sure he soaked me for the short ride! Checked in at the clubhouse and found out I was playing alone. And of course the first tee is RIGHT THERE and its a par 3. I knew this ahead of time but, seeing it and being there certainly made the cheeks clench. Managed to hit it between the bunkers just short of the green, 3-putted from there and away I went!

I remember SO much about that round. The weather was glorious. The opening holes along the water. The short par 4's. The old stone wall. Playing as a single and barely being able to keep up with the threesome ahead of me. The pint afterwards watching the locals navigate 18. I love that course!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2023, 08:22:57 PM by Drew Groeger »

Mark Provenzano

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2023, 03:31:34 PM »
I played a round at Talking Stick North with a gentlemen (who's not on this board) who was about to finish playing all of the US Top 100 courses...from a Golf Digest list he had saved from the sixties or seventies. He'd played everywhere I could imagine, just came back from a trip to Melbourne, loved to talk architecture. I had no idea I could actually play some of the places he'd played without connections or a referral from one of the clubs he belonged to. I mentioned I had a trip to see my beloved Liverpool FC play that fall, he implored me--rent a car, go play one of those famous places, but then play a locals course or two as well. You'll never regret it.


Flash forward to a cool but clear early November day at Birkdale. It's a not-very-busy weekday, so they send me out as a single. I quickly caught up to a members four-ball, they waved me through but I declined; my buddy wasn't landing at Manchester for hours, I wasn't in any hurry. That was a mistake.


Then the wind picked up. And the rain came. More wind. Hail...pea-sized balls that seemed to come from every direction. Even more wind. By the time I got to 7 it was howling off the Irish Sea at 25? 30? 40 MPH? I have no idea. That's the Par 3 close to the coast, I took driver and aimed at a 45° angle to the line of play, directly towards the sea. The ball started low, then was picked up by the wind like a surfer riding a wave. It wound up 50 yards on the other side of the green from which I aimed. All I could do was laugh. I did not save par.


The rain came and went, but the wind was a constant. On many holes you could only play defense, just bashing a hybrid to run along the ground. I made it through the round, one of only 4 golfers on the course who stuck it out. Thankfully, Birkdale was generous with their clubhouse access, as what I needed was a shower, dry clothes and some hot soup.


Did that experience discouraging me from trying again? Hell no...that's over 10 years ago, I been around a bit more since then, and have an insane NW Ireland/Northern Ireland trip upcoming. But I have a better rainsuit now.


Joe_Tucholski

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Re: Tell me how you lost your "links golf virginity"
« Reply #44 on: January 22, 2023, 01:23:26 PM »
Do you deem your links experience provided you a fundamntally different way to look at the game compared to your college peers?


Interesting question, I think.  Basically, asking if the order in which courses are experienced impacts overall perception of courses?


Initially I thought that it wouldn't really matter.  When others see links courses later in life they come to the same conclusion.  I remember a thread that talked about favorite courses through time.  Some people had a progression of weak courses to strong courses.  Others started on very strong courses and didn't have much of a list (hard to top what they started on).


Then I started to think about it a bit more.  I think we compare our experiences to other recent experiences.  So yeah I am of the opinion order of experiences with courses has a strong impact on the way we look at courses.


I am very happy with my introduction to links golf in the UK and think I appreciate the more rugged, simple and affordable courses because I started at Pennard and Borth.  I believe my perspective would be a bit different if my first experience with links golf was on a pristine and pricey course within an Open Rota trip.

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