Our annual lads trip to Scotland for a long weekend of golf - six rounds in four days with far too much beer.
The drive to Carnoustie from the Blackpool area was straight forward, lasting four and a half hours including a stop for a late breakfast at Abington services. Our hotel rooms were not ready at 12:30 so we drank on the terrace of the Carnoustie Golf Hotel overlooking the first tee and 18th green of the Championship course. The beer was a bit pricey, but we all understand we are paying a bit extra for the Location - and it is worth it.
Changing room in the hotel was free to residents, and we were out on the Burnside course at 2:30. For those unfamiliar with Carnoustie, there are three courses and the Burnside is the No2. The weather was sunny with quite a strong south westerly breeze, which was straight into the face on the opening holes.
It was a poor start for PW, with a topped 3h tee shot followed by another topped 3 wood. Perhaps a few swings in the net would have been better preparation than two bottles of Peroni.
Settled in to my game by the third and hit a proper 3h into the wind on the 175yd par 3, over the deep front bunker, pitching on the front of the green and finishing at the back; then followed up with two putts for par. Another par at the 5th, where a burn snakes around three sides of the green. Lose a ball in the rough on the 6th, but good drives on the 7th and 8th set up two more pars.
The 9th is a par 3 with the green set on top of a mound, with the ground falling away on all sides. One playing partner had a Hamlet moment in a bunker, while the other two played a succession of chips and putts up the bank from the right, with the ball stopping at the top, teetering and then running back down to their feet - four times for one player, before he picked up.
A par at the 10th for me, followed by another lost ball on 11, and a blob on 12 after getting one one of those horrible pot bunker lies where I could only get one foot in the sand and played with my left knee on the grass.
The shot of the day for me was the tee shot on the 228yd par 3 14th - a 3 wood finishing pin high at the back of the green, leading to par. Another lost ball on 15, bogey on 16, and then a beautiful drive on 17 - straight down the middle - two bounces into the Barry Burn at 272 yards from the tee. Drop on the bank and smash a 3h 200yds just through the back of the green and manage to salvage a point. Par the last to finish with 28 points and the feeling that if I had been able to find my ball in the rough a few times (rather than just my playing partners'), it could have been a lot more. Leading scores were 34, 33, 32 and they have been cut 3, 2 and 1 shot respectively, so although I am in 7th place out of 12, there are good prospects for an improvement tomorrow.
We will be taking on the Buddon Links in the morning and the Championship course in rain and 20mph wind in the afternoon.
Evening was spent in the Ganges, a decent curry washed down with lashings of Cobra and Pernoni. Afterwards we retired to the 19th Hole, a bar that was open till midnight, for games of Killer Pool, more Peroni, and a jukebox with plenty of classic tunes from our youth.