Around the Top 100 World – Day 81 to Day 90 / Ohio to almost home

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Day 81  Play Camargo                                                           Drive Cincinnati/Columbus

Pat Kelly (1988) arranged Day 81’s play at the very private, low-key Carmago Club (rated 43, designed by Raynor 1921)(first played June 1990 and last played June 1994/total 5 rounds). At 8:30 am I was on the first tee with assistant pro Gary Thullen and member Jerry Dirvin (also member of Pine Valley and Pablo Creek). The weather was gorgeous on this peaceful course — 75 degrees ( eventually rising to 90), blue sky, no clouds, no wind. Even though this was Ladies Day we cruised around with caddies in 3 hours and 15 minutes.

At lunch head professional Dick Plummer (1990) stopped by for a short chat. (We had previously said hello on the par-3 fifth tee, after which he watched me butcher the hole.) Then, in the “small-world category” I spotted a group of eight golfers just sitting down to lunch that included John Keller (1990) and John Mabie (1991) from Chicago. I asked John Mabie about his new son-in-law, former confirmed bachelor and long-hitting Ernie MacVicar (1985).

Camargo Golf Club, Cincinnati, Ohio

That afternoon in two and one half hours I covered the 123 miles from Cincinnati to just north of Columbus and the Red Roof Inn in Worthington. This was my base of operation for the next three days. I spent part of the late afternoon having the oil changed in my Cadillac and then having it washed.

Day 82  Play Scioto

At 9 am I was on the first tee at Scioto (rated 48, designed by Ross 1912 and remodeled by Wilson)(first played June 1980 and again June 1990/total 2 rounds) with a caddie and members Joe Ray, III; his father (1990); and John Jacob (1994). John passed on the very sad news that my good friend Bob Wallace (1994) had lost his beloved wife Mary while my trip was in progress.

The sky was mostly sunny, with no wind and a temperature of 80 degrees. It eventually rose to the high 80’s with high humidity. Even though Scioto is a busy private club we played in four hours with no waiting and no one pressing from behind. On the tenth fairway professional photographer John Grieshop appeared with his camera equipment. He was there on assignment from Sports Illustrated to take pictures of us on the back nine and then do a posed shot with me soaking my feet at the rear of my just washed car (see attached article).

It was weird to feel early in the afternoon that I had nothing planned. There was no long distance drive to do because Columbus has four Top 100 courses. There  I had the comfort of being in one place for an extended period of time. Melbourne, Australia was the only other city where this was possible. An awful Mexican dinner was barely endured at nearby Casa Fiesta.

Day 83              Play Muirfield Village                                                         Play The Golf Club

At 7 am I was out in Dublin at Muirfield Village Golf Club (rated 32, designed by Nicklaus 1974)(first played August 1978 and again June 1990/total 2 rounds), where I was greeted by host Ivor Young (1993). He is a boyhood friend of Jack Nicklaus and because he is in the real estate business, found the property for Muirfield Village. During the round Ivor reported the discussion between Jack and Pete Dye when they were making initial reviews of several potential sites. This is the type of material that should help make my book unique.

Before play I hit a few balls on the huge circular practice facility with excellent turf. By 7:30 am Ivor and I were joined on the first tee by assistant professional Sean Edmonds, who had been an assistant pro at Baltusrol. We had caddies and it was 75 degrees, partly cloudy, and breezy. Quickly it turned very hot (90 degrees) and humid with no wind. To the left of the ninth fairway Ivor pointed out Jack’s eight-bedroom home with separate guest house.

After the round I hopped into the car for a 15-mile drive to New Albany and The Golf Club (rated 34, designed by Dye 1967)(first played July 1976 and again June 1990/total 2 rounds). Arrangements had been made by Jack Dingle, who unfortunately was fishing in Montana during my stay. He kindly arranged for John Gall to be my host at this very private, low-key club with no starting times. (On this day the unpaved parking lot was full, about 20 cars, and the course was crowded, about ten foursomes.) John brought along a lawyer friend Pat Dugan, who turned out to be an excellent player.

At 1:45 am we were on the first tee with caddies. The weather forecast called for afternoon thundershowers, but during most of the front nine there was no problem. On the tenth hole the sun disappeared, and dark skies suddenly appeared. A few holes later we saw some wicked lightning far in the distance, and then the club bell began chiming. This meant we had to vacate the course immediately,  so at the seventeenth tee we headed quickly for the clubhouse.

Fortunately, this spell of lightning and rain passed quickly, and we were able to return to the course after only a 15-minute wait. We were eager to finish as soon as possible because another storm was to arrive shortly. Later we learned that these storms were close to constituting a tornado and did produce hail along with such gale-force winds that trees were pulled out of the ground and 20,000 Columbus residents lost electric power overnight.

After finishing at 6:05 pm and having refreshments, I sped back to the motel and then to a nearby restaurant, where I met Grant Wahl, staff writer for Sports Illustrated” With his tape recorder humming we talked for two hours about my trip. The idea for an article had originated at Pine Valley the previous August, where I casually mentioned the trip to former “SI” executives Mark Mulvoy and Don Barr. I did not think of it again until writer-reporter Rick Lipsey called at the beginning of 1997 and wanted to do an article before the trip started. I told him nothing could  be published until the trip was over.

Muirfield Village Golf Club, courtesy of Muirfield Village Golf Club

Although the article was available to the public in the “SI” Golf Plus edition just after the trip ended, the magazine was type-set and printed during the last few days of the trip. So “SI” took a chance that I would finish successfully. I also thought I was taking a chance because of the notorious “SI” jinx. However, I was reassured that the jinx involved only the people on the “SI” cover. Some of these people immediately had something bad happen to them.

Day 84  Play Double Eagle                                                   Drive Columbus/Toledo

At 7:45 am I said goodbye to the Red Roof Inn and drove 10 miles north through Ohio farm country to Galena, with Grant following. At the Double Eagle Club (rated 74, designed by Weiskopf and Morrish 1991)(played August 1994) we were met by host Dan Minor (1994). Joe Ray arrived, and we had breakfast at 8:15 am in the spacious dining room.

After a short warmup on the exquisitely maintained practice facility the foursome was Joe, assistant pro Gary Christensen, Double Eagle member Dick Savage (also a member of Sand Hills), and the author. Dan had to play in a tournament at The Golf Club. Dick lives in Kansas City and is a friend of Chief’s head coach Marty Schottenheimer. We talked about getting together at Olde Florida here in Naples during Marty’s offseason.

At 9 am the course was empty. Double Eagle is a very private club with about 100 members, and many of those are from out of town. We had caddies and the weather was 85 degrees, with high humidity, sun burning down, no clouds, and no wind. Fortunately at Camargo Jerry Dirvin advised me that Double Eagle did not permit shorts, so I came prepared. (On the World 100 list the other two-long pants clubs are Baltusrol and Winged Foot). We had a friendly match, and yours truly knocked in a meaningful 20 footer on the eighteenth hole that caused Joe Ray’s jaw to hit his knees.

Grant walked the front nine and talked to each player individually. He made a big mistake in  talking to Joe because of the latter’s sneaky sense of humor. In the “SI” article I am credited with owning an island in Canada. This is an absolute joke that made my family laugh. My wife’s grandparents were part of a group that founded the Solid Comfort Fishing Club on the Canadian French River. Every year my wife and daughters vacation on the island. I went up for three days in 1968 and said I would come back once every ten years. Because the camp has a short summer season that conflicts with my golf schedule I have yet to return.

We had a relaxing lunch in the clubhouse, and I was then on the road north for 132 miles to the western part of Toledo. At the Courtyard by Marriott I decided to forgo dinner because of the ample supply of delicious food served at Double Eagle.

Day 85  Play Inverness                                             Drive Toledo/Detroit (Troy), MI

My Baltusrol friend John Walbridge, who was originally from Toledo, found the appropriate person to arrange Day 85’s program. John Hills obtained an 8 am tee time at the Inverness Club (rated 52, designed by Ross 1919 and remodeled by G. and T. Fazio)(played 1984). Joining us were John Walbridge’s brother-in-law Tom Bather and John Hill’s father Arthur, one of the best modern-day golf-course architects.

Carrying my bag was Andrea, who turned out to be the best-looking and sweetest caddie I have ever had. She was entering her freshman year at Miami of Ohio and was all business on the course. The weather at the start was 65 degrees, with bright sun, no clouds, and no wind. It  eventually climbed to a comfortable 85 degrees with low humidity. Even though there was a steady stream of foursomes teeing off, we moved at a steady pace.

Art Hills was soft-spoken, and it was a thrill for me to be exposed to some of his observations about the architectural evolution of Inverness. His son John, an excellent player, competed at the college level against Pat Dugan, with whom I was paired at The Golf Club. After the round I was introduced to the club historian Dr. J. Robert Yoder.

In the early afternoon I drove 120 miles north past Detroit to Troy, Michigan, and the Troy Marriott. At 6 pm Peter McDonald (1978) picked me up, and we had dinner with Bruce Brown at Oakland Hills. Bruce is a past president of the club and it was gracious of him to take the time to host us. Because Peter was not yet a member of Oakland Hills part of my introduction to the club came through Ed Howard (1978) of the Scarsdale Golf Club, who brought fellow Scarsdale member Bob Beauregard into the picture. Bob is a long-time member of Oakland Hills.

In June Peter had been paired with Tiger Woods in the pro am at the Buick Classic in Westchester, NY. Peter was ecstatic about Tiger as a person and said he was a real gentleman in his behavior toward all his pro am partners that day. As only Peter can, he asked Tiger if he had ever won a pro am. Tiger had to think about it briefly and then said no. So naturally Peter urged Tiger to go all out to help the pro am team win the Buick Classic competition.

Day 86            Play Oakland Hills (South)      Drive Detroit/Frankfort        Play Crystal Downs

At 8 am I was on the first tee of the South Course at Oakland Hills Country Club (rated 23, designed by Ross 1917 and remodeled by R. T. Jones)(played July 1982) with Bruce Brown, head professional Pat Croswell, and club champion Don Brooks. I was particularly appreciative of Pat’s appearance on his “day off,” especially after the busy four-day member-guest that had just been completed the day before. In addition to being the club champ, Don won the Michigan mid-amateur at the age of 52. He will be a major force on the senior amateur circuit in three years. The course was officially closed, so board approval was needed for me to play that day. Needless to say, we had the course to ourselves, which was fortunate because both courses here receive heavy play.

On the first tee with caddies it was 80 degrees, humid, cloudy, with no wind. On the tenth tee very dark clouds appeared. Then on the sixteenth hole a steady rain commenced, and on the eighteenth tee the skies really opened up. I had to finish the hole while the rest of the group sprinted for the clubhouse. Completely drenched, I putted out on 18 amid thunder, lightning, and hail. Then came a mad dash to the shelter of the clubhouse.

By 12:30 pm I had had a warm shower, was in dry clothes, and was headed northwest through continuing heavy showers. Along the 260-mile drive the skies began to clear, and I was hopeful of squeezing the next round in. The original plan had been an unhurried drive to Frankfort, playing of Crystal Downs the next morning, and then another leisurely drive to Chicago. It was not until June that my host Roy Vomastic (1995) was told about a Ladies Day shotgun start scheduled on the morning of my proposed round. So the choice was to play late in the afternoon or the following afternoon with the long drive to Chicago following. Making the decision easier was the fact that Crystal is at the very western edge of the eastern time zone and therefore darkness comes late in the evening.

Roy could not make the late-afternoon starting time, so he enlisted son Ed Vomastic, who brought along his friend Peter Sneed. Also present was member Richard Colker (1985), who had been with Kidder, Peabody in London and with whom I played my first round at Royal St. George’s and Sunningdale (New). The weather at 5:15 pm was mostly cloudy, 70 degrees with a 10-mph wind; we had the course to ourselves. On the third hole the sun came out, and the temperature rose to 80 degrees. For the rest of the round we enjoyed the course silhouetted in early evening shadows. The ambience reminded me of the evening round at Turnberry 26 days before. We finished at 9:15 pm with a glowing sun setting over nearby Lake Michigan.

Crystal Downs Golf Club, Michigan

After registering at the Harbor Lights Motel in Frankfort I had a crummy American bar meal at a local tavern.

Day 87              Drive Frankfort/Chicago, IL

At 8 am I started south for a five-hour, 331-mile drive to the Wyndham Hotel in Istaca, IL (west of Chicago, watch set back one hour). With no golf for the remaining part of the day I was able to make some phone calls covering activity for the next two days and also to rest. The food there was slightly below average.

Day 88  Play Medinah (#3)               Drive to Wheaton                             Play Chicago Golf

Drive to O’Hare Airport      Fly Chicago/Minneapolis, MN

The original thought was to play Chicago Golf and Medinah over a two-day period. My two ever faithful Chicago contacts, Steve Satkamp (1977) and Bill Shean (1982), learned that Ladies Day was taking place at both courses on the second day of my proposed Chicago stay. Therefore I opted for a doubleheader on the first day and left the second day open to cover any contingencies.

At 6:30 am I was at the already busy valet parking booth of the Medinah Country Club (#3 Course rated 46, designed by Bendelow 1928 and remodeled by Collis and then Packard)(first played June 1976 and again September 1989/total 2 rounds). I was met by Steve and club member John Winter. We were joined by head pro Mike Harrigan on the first tee with caddies. The weather was 70 degrees, with very dark skies, no wind,  and a threat of rain. As the first group out we had the course to ourselves and the skies eventually lightened up. Mike was an excellent player (qualifies regularly for the Western Open) and was knowledgeable about the architectural evolution of the course.

After the round John, Steve, and I had lunch under a tent because Medinah was in the middle of a massive $15 million clubhouse renovation. Then I drove southwest to Wheaton and the Chicago Golf Club (rated 41, designed by Macdonald 1895 and remodeled by Raynor)(played July 1982). There I met the club president Cleve Carney. Bill Shean was in Northern Ireland at Royal Portrush playing in the British Senior Open.

At the beginning of the year I was talking to Bill about the one piece of the puzzle that was not in place. How was I going to get my car from Chicago to my New Jersey condo within 24 hours? He suggested that maybe a caddie at Chicago Golf might want to go east to see some friends and would be willing to drive my car back if we then gave him an airline ticket returning to Chicago. When I left the U.S. toward the end of May no one had yet been signed up. When I returned to the U.S. in early July my first call was to Bill, and, sure enough, the problem had been taken care of. Head professional Tim Surlas had obtained the services of caddie Justin Scalzo, who attends Villanova in Philadelphia and wanted to go back east at the end of July to see some of his buddies.

So at 1 pm I was on the first tee with Cleve with Justin as our caddie. It was 70 degrees, cloudy, with no wind. Amazingly, there were a couple of foursomes around the first tee. Chicago Golf has few members and a low level of activity on the course at most times. We were able to maneuver through “the crowd” and then had clear sailing for the rest of the afternoon. Cleve was very helpful with the design features and evolution of the course.

At 5:15 pm Justin and I drove to the O’Hare airport, where I turned over the keys to him for a 926- mile drive to Springfield. I went to the United counter to change my ticket because I was a day early. Then I went into the O’Hare Hilton Andiamo for a mediocre dinner. At 8:30 pm I flew United 334 miles to Minneapolis and took a taxi to the Radisson Hotel South in Bloomington.

Day 89  Play Interlachen                                                       Fly Minneapolis/Detroit/Newark

At 6:45 am I took a taxi to Interlachen Country Club (rated 98, designed by Watson 1910 and remodeled by Ross and then R.T. Jones)(played August 1986). It was fortunate that we started early because the taxi driver became terribly lost; luckily I caught it because I had my trusty map. Host Lud Gartner (1986) was there to greet me at 7:30 am. The clubhouse is in the midst of a $6 1/2 million major reconstruction. (Does this theme sound familiar?)

At this point I was one day ahead of schedule because the buffer day reserved for the northern part of the trip had not been used. And it was a good thing that I was there that day because heavy rain and thunderstorms were predicted for the afternoon and the next day. After a dry early summer Minneapolis had received 17 inches of rain over the past 30-days including 7 inches during the past week. In checking with Lud earlier in the week there was a serious question whether the course would be open for play (nearby Edina Country Club was closed that day).

Naturally that day was Ladies Day, but it was not a shotgun so we were able to start on the tenth tee. Because of prior commitments Lud was not able to play, and retired Interlachen head professional Bill Kidd and I went off at 8 am as a twosome with a caddie. Head professional Jock Olson joined us for the second nine holes. The temperature was in the 70’s with high humidity and no wind. The sky was dark, and some rain did fall during the round. Bill Kidd and his father were the head pros there from 1920 through 1993. Jock introduced himself as the “new kid” at the club. Bill and Jock told me everything I needed to know about the design evolution of the course.

Out on the course I was introduced to greens superintendent John Katerheinrich. He had his hands full with pumps running 24 hours per day. The course was very wet but playable. However, the water hazards were at least twice as large as normal, and there were even some big new water hazards.

Another taxi took me to the airport, where I was lucky to find a competent and courteous Northwest ticket agent. Because I was a day early I had no confirmed reservation. The nonstop to Newark was full, but he was able to route me through Detroit. So after 1,015 miles (watch turned ahead one hour for the last time-zone change of the trip) I was at the Newark airport for a taxi ride to Springfield. The first thing I did was check the garage. Sure enough, Justin had done his job; the car was there and in excellent condition.

Day 90  Open

Not surprisingly, laundry was the first order of business, and the dryer produced wrinkle-free golf shirts. Unfortunately, the cable company still had not got its act together, so I was without TV until after the trip ended. The phone worked in all modes, and I was able to contact my hosts for the final days of play and do some reshuffling. In the early evening I picked up Dan Turner at the Newark airport so that he could participate in the final assault.


About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+


Around the Top 100 World – Day 71 to Day 80 / New York to Ohio

Click here for trip summary & overview

Day 71  Drive Springfield/Scarsdale, NY                             Play Quaker Ridge

Drive Scarsdale/Newton, MA

The early morning was spent packing the car for the next 17 days. At 10:30 am I left Springfield and drove 63 miles north and east to Scarsdale, NY, and the Quaker Ridge Club. My host was Jeff Lewis, with whom I had had extensive correspondence but whom I had not met. Because Quaker was hosting the Walker Cup in early August 1997, Jeff checked with the club, and it seemed my play there could take place at the end of the trip when I was at Winged Foot next door. Unfortunately, this proved not to be the case;  Jeff called me in early March 1997 with the bad news that I needed to reschedule because of guest-play restrictions due to the Walker Cup. Luckily, I was able to reshuffle Yale and Fishers Island to slot Quaker earlier than originally planned.

The last practice ball I hit was at Olympic (Day 26), and I certainly did not hit any at Quaker (rated 47, designed by Tillinghast 1926)(played October 1982) because they do not have a range. They do have caddies, and this would be my first caddie since Japan. So at 1 pm I was on the first tee with Jeff, Bob Sloan, and Rick Vershure, head professional for the past 11 years. The weather was perfect — bright sun, no clouds, no wind, low humidity, and 80 degrees. The round commenced on a positive note when I ran in a curling putt on the undulating first green for a birdie. Rick was very knowledgeable about the architectural history of the course as well as about the philosophies of Tillinghast. He also played in the U.S. Open at Baltusrol in 1980 and was briefly on the leader board until Nicklaus and Weiskopf began to post their first round 63’s.

After refreshments, it was less than a three-hour drive covering 178 miles to the Holiday Inn in Newton, MA, which is just west of Boston. A mediocre meal was had in the motel dining room.

Quaker Ridge Golf Club, courtesy of Quaker Ridge

Day 72  Play The Country Club (Open)

At 11:30 am I drove the short distance from the motel to Brookline. The original schedule called for play at The Country Club (Open Course rated 35, designed by Campbell 1925 and remodeled by Flynn and then Rees Jones)(first played September 1970 and last played August 1986/total 6 rounds) the following day, but Ladies Day in the morning and a club event in the afternoon required a reshuffling. That day the course was closed for maintenance until 1 pm, so at 1:30 I was on the first tee with host John Sears along with Dusty Burke (1959) and Carroll Lowenstein (1961). These three men were in the class of 1952 at Harvard College, and I was in the class of 1962. John was a long-time friend of Francis Quimet and their desks were next to each other for many years at Brown Brothers Harriman.

The weather looked like a major issue, and at one point it seemed as if the round would not be completed. On the first tee with caddies it was 85 degrees, partly sunny, and humid, with a 10- mph wind. The forecast called for three bands of severe thundershowers to roll through the area during the rest of the day. As the first five holes went by the skies became progressively darker, and the first band of lightning and thundershowers hit as we raced to finish the sixth hole. We went back to the men’s locker room for a one-hour delay.

The skies eventually cleared, and we walked several hundred yards to the seventh tee. As we were about to hit off someone from the pro shop came out to tell us the course was closed for the rest of the day. With the sun now shining this closing seemed strange. We walked back to the men’s locker room, and John spent the next half hour trying to convince the person in charge to let us attempt to finish the round. Finally John was successful, and we again walked out to the seventh tee. The weather for the rest of the round was delightful, and we enjoyed the last few holes in early-evening shadows.

After golf we drove into downtown Boston, where John entertained us for dinner at the famous Locke-Ober’s restaurant. He had made heroic efforts first to arrange the golf and then to make sure the mission was accomplished. Now we were having a sumptuous dinner in one of the great restaurants of the world.

Dusty and I then drove to his home in Sherborn, and I was in bed by 12:30 am.

Day 73  Drive Boston/Montreal, Canada

I was on the road by 7 am for a 352-mile drive through New Hampshire and Vermont, over the Canadian border (now using Canadian dollars), past the outskirts of Montreal, to the western suburb of Ile Bizard and the Royal Montreal Golf Club. I checked into my room and rested a while before dinner. My host for this segment of the trip was Herb McNally. Several years before I had been introduced to Herb by Gerry Heffernan. Because Herb is not a member of Royal Montreal his friend Buster Jones volunteered to be our host. Herb and Buster are members of Mount Bruno in Montreal as well as Muirfield and the R&A. At 6:30 pm I met Herb, Buster, and the club captain David Garner for cocktails and a very good dinner at the club.

Day 74  Play Royal Montreal (Blue)                                                Drive Montreal/Toronto

At 6:30 am I met Herb and Buster in the parking lot next to the pro shop. Herb had an ample supply of donuts from Tim Horton’s (Canada’s equivalent of Dunkin Donuts, named for one of the best hockey players I ever saw perform). Believe it or not, munching on the Horton donuts in the damp parking lot in cool air, shooting the breeze with two other ardent golfers, and waiting for the pro shop to open proved one of the more indelible memories of the trip.

Royal Montreal Golf Club

The three of us were dew-sweepers at 7 am because the course had been subjected to heavy rain during the entire night. We teed off with clubs on trolleys with 60 degrees, an overcast sky with rain threatening, and a light breeze. At this early hour we had the course to ourselves although players were lurking behind. Royal Montreal (Blue Course rated 92, designed by Dick Wilson 1959)(played August 1986) was holding the Canadian Open in less than one month’s time so the rough was a challenge.

We finished at 10:30 am, and I was on the Imperial Highway for 340 miles to the western suburbs of Toronto. The destination was the Best Western Sunset in Mississauga. A below- average evening meal was served in the motel dining room.

Day 75  Play National Golf Club of  Canada                        Drive Toronto/Rochester, NY

At 7:30 am I drove a few miles north to the town of Woodbridge and The National Golf Club of Canada (rated 89, designed by G. and T. Fazio 1976)(played August 1987). There I was greeted by host Lorne Rubenstein (1993) and his friend Howie Ganz. Lorne is considered the best golf writer in Canada, does weekly columns for Canada’s national newspaper “The Globe and Mail” out of Toronto, writes books (latest on Nick Price), is a TV broadcaster, and kids this author about my snail’s-pace typing ability.

With caddies we were off the first tee at 8:45 am in bright sun, no clouds, light breeze, and 70 degrees. There were many players on the course, but we still were able to play at a fast pace. As at Quaker Ridge, my round there commenced with a birdie. The ending was not as pretty for the course is very hilly and difficult. On the sharply elevated eighteenth tee my legs were totally dead, and I could not carry my tee shot over the pond angled on the right edge of the fairway and beautifully outlined by tall bullrushes.

At lunch in the active clubhouse we were joined by club executive director Marinus Gerritsen. Throughout the day Lorne related the history of the club and its founder Gil Blechman. After lunch Gil was available, so we spent some interesting time with him. Then I was back on the road for 185 miles over the Canadian border at Niagara Falls (this was my last currency shift,  now using U.S. dollars), past Buffalo, NY (where I was born), and east to Rochester, NY.

The Depot Motor Inn was just southeast of Rochester in the village of Pittsford. An average dinner was available at  the Ciaoi Restaurant.

Day 76  Play Oak Hill (East)                                     Drive Rochester/Akron, OH

Arranging to play Oak Hill (East Course rated 31, designed by Ross 1926 and remodeled by R.T. Jones and then G. and T. Fazio)(played June 1980) was a challenge because I had no direct contact. My original connection said he would get back to me in May or June, but I needed to firm up the date long before then. So I asked John Walbridge (1983), who runs the Host Committee at Baltusrol, if he had a contact. John put me in touch with Richard Kaul, who kindly made the arrangements. This was not easy because the club was having a three-day member-guest event with a shotgun start on the West Course, and so there were guest-play restrictions on the East Course.  In the end Richard could not make it, so he enlisted Griff Owen.

At 9 am Griff and I were on the first tee along with Greg Lane and caddies. It was 75 degrees with bright sun, no clouds, and a light breeze. Even though there were other players on the course we breezed around in less than four hours. Then I met head professional Craig Harmon and club historian Don Kladstrup.

At 1:30 pm it was back in the car for a 320-mile drive to Akron, Ohio. At the New York/Pennsylvania border there was road construction, and traffic was backed up 10 miles going in the opposite direction. Again I was lucky; the traffic on my side of the road moved swiftly. I arrived at the Firestone Country Club clubhouse and was greeted by host Bob Lauer (1990), Joe Ray, III (1990), T.J. Riley, and John Lahey. Joe was responsible for arranging play in Akron and Cleveland as well as at  Scioto in Columbus. We enjoyed a good meal at the club and then retired to our rooms in the large clubhouse.

Day 77   Play Firestone (South)                                            Drive Akron/Cleveland

Play Canterbury                                                      Drive Cleveland/Pittsburgh, PA

At 7:45 am we had the first tee time on the South Course (rated 96, designed by R.T. Jones 1960 and remodeled by Nicklaus)(played September 1979 and again June 1990/total 2 rounds). Even at this early hour there was much activity around the pro shop because three courses, along with motorized carts, are served out of this central location. There was bright sun with no clouds, low humidity, and no wind. My clubs were on a cart and I walked.

Iconic Firestone water tower

After the round TJ led me 40 miles north to Cleveland and the Canterbury Golf Club (rated 84, designed by Strong 1922)(first played July 1977 and again June 1990/total two rounds). There we were met by one of TJ’s law partners, Dave Weiner. Dave could not play, so he enlisted Richard Griffin and Tom Graham. At 2 pm with caddies our foursome had totally sunny skies, 85 degrees, humidity, and a light breeze. Although Canterbury is a fairly busy private club we moved along at a reasonable speed and finished the round at 6 pm.

TJ then led me to the Ohio Turnpike, and 120 miles later I was in Pittsburgh, PA, and the condo of wife Hetsy.

Day 78  Play Oakmont

At 8:30 am I drove a short way out of Pittsburgh to the town of Oakmont and the Oakmont Golf Club (rated 17, designed H. and W. Fownes 1903)(first played June 1964, then became a member in 1971 and 1972 so played over 100 times). There I met host Jim Malone (1967) along with playing companions  John Birmingham (1970), and Banks Smith. Jimmy successfully ran the 1992 Women’s Open and the 1994 Men’s Open at Oakmont and recently became a member of the R&A.

With caddies we were on the first tee at 9:30 am in weather of 80 degrees, partly sunny, with high humidity and no wind. Jimmy and I have been partners several times over the years, most notably winning the Fox Chapel three-day member-guest tournament in the early 1970’s. On Day 78 we remained undefeated. The always ultra-fast Oakmont greens were even a little speedier because the finals of the club championship were being held that day.

After the round I said hello to head professional Bob Ford. Then  I had lunch with one of my all- time favorites, Fred Brand, Jr. (1967). Fred has been an icon in the world of golf and in 1997 received the very high-prestige Bob Jones Award, the U.S. Golf Association’s highest honor for distinguished sportsmanship. The report of his acceptance speech was truly heartwarming. Today Fred gave me an autographed copy of the book being used to commemorate the award. It is about the forty-second U.S. Amateur held at Oakmont in 1938, in which Fred participated. I am honored to have known Fred for 30 years.

An excellent dinner and a pleasant time was had at the Pittsburgh Club with Hetsy, Cuppy and Gordon Kraft (1965), and Bob Runnette (1967).

Day 79  Drive Pittsburgh/Hot Springs, VA

I left Pittsburgh at 7 am and took the back roads through Western Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia, 250 miles later arriving at The Homestead resort hotel in Hot Springs, Virginia. Although the directions were somewhat complicated, they took me on the quickest route with the added benefit of pretty scenery. The customized directions were supplied by Alden and Randy Shriver (1966). In the late 1960’s Randy killed me in the 36-hole finals of the club championship at Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh. We had not seen each other since Bob Runnette brought a group of Fox Chapel golfers to Baltusrol about ten years ago. The Shrivers now live year around in Hot Springs.

The Homestead is located in the peaceful Warm Springs Valley of the Allegheny Mountains, and there has been an hotel on the site since 1766. In 1993 The Homestead and Club Corporation formed a joint-venture company for the management and ownership of the world-famous resort. In 1998 Club Corp. will become the sole owner.

After cocktails at the Shrivers’ home we enjoyed an excellent dinner in the comfortable surroundings of The Waterwheel in Warm Springs. The Sam Snead Tavern also serves a very good meal but was closed that night.

Day 80  Play The Cascades                                      Drive Hot Springs/Cincinnati, Ohio

I was up at 6 am, and Randy appeared just before 7 am at the hotel’s front entrance bearing warm muffins from Alden. We then drove a short distance to the course. Before contacting Randy I had made arrangements to play there through the extremely cooperative head professional Barry Carpenter. Barry was going to play with us that morning, but his wife produced a child the day before. Therefore Randy and I were first off as a twosome at 7:30 am. For many years the course was called the Upper Cascades to differentiate it from one of the hotel’s other courses called the Lower Cascade. Recently it was decided to call the best course simply The Cascades (rated 76, designed by Flynn 1923)(played November 1975).

We had the course to ourselves, which was nice because The Cascades receives fairly heavy play from resort guests. Randy drove the cart with my bag and I was on foot. At first out there was some light morning fog, and the temperature was a cool mountain-air 60 degrees. The sun was bright, and there were no clouds and no wind. The fog quickly disappeared, and the temperature rose to a  humid 90 degrees on this mid-July day. Even though the best time to play here is late October, with the sparkling fall foliage in full force on the nearby steep mountains, that day was an superb alternative. I hesitate to say this because the greens on almost all the course played on the trip were excellent. However, on the basis of  the number of putts holed that day, the greens at The Cascades tied with Royal Liverpool and Oakmont as the best-conditioned surfaces on the trip.

After a relaxing lunch with Randy in the peaceful and scenic upstairs outdoor clubhouse restaurant we ran into Pat Robertson in the pro shop. Randy has played golf with Pat, and so I had the pleasure of being introduced to the famous TV preacher. Then at 12:30 pm it was back in the car for a drive out of Virginia through West Virginia and Kentucky and then back to Ohio. The seven-hour trip covered 427 miles, and I was very happy to arrive at the Harley Hotel (really a motel) just east of Cincinnati in Kenwood. An average meal was served in the motel’s restaurant.


About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+


Around the Top 100 World – Day 61 to Day 70 / London to Long Island

Click here for trip summary & overview

Day 61  Play Sunningdale (Old)        Play Wentworth (West)            Drive Virginia Water/Rye

Day 61 was one of the longest days of the trip. Having had less than a full sleep, I left Ascot Place just after 7 am and drove 10 minutes to the Sunningdale Golf Club (Old Course rated 39, designed by Park 1901 and remodeled by Colt)(played September 1985). This is one of the few courses where my initial member contact did not respond and Plan B was activated. Club secretary Stewart Zuill arranged for an 8 am starting time. However, the starter appeared at 7:55 am and posted a sign on the message board “Old Course Closed – Competition.” The man then quickly disappeared, so I went into the pro shop to ask about this surprise development. I was told that the first tee was open and I should hit off immediately.

With trolley in hand I teed off in 60 degrees, no wind, and gloom with rain threatening. I moved along at a reasonable pace by myself with the course open in front. On the fifth fairway a motorized cart appeared with someone from the pro shop. I was told a mistake had been made with my starting time, that a shotgun start was commencing on the Old Course at 9 am, and I would have to finish my round on the New course. I explained that I could only play the Old course, that I would play as many holes as possible, and then come back later in the day to finish the round.

I then actually raced through the next holes (all uphill), reaching the tenth tee in a total sweat. There I realized that the shotgun actually started on holes 10 through 18 because none of the groups were behind me. The good news was that I would be able to complete the round without having to come back. The bad news was that the group immediately in front consisted of  a bunch of hackers and I was looking at three hours to play the last nine holes. Adding to the ordeal was medium-to-heavy rain beginning on the twelfth hole.

Old Course, Sunningdale Golf Club, England

At 12:30 pm the Sunningdale round was concluded, and there was a quick five-minute drive to Virginia Water and Wentworth. There I called club member Jim Loughrey (1996), and he came right over. We went back to his house at Wentworth and met his wife Inga. She produced lunch and a dryer for my wet rain gear. At 2:10 pm Jim and I were on the first tee of the West Course (rated 65, designed by Colt and Morrison 1924)(first played September 1985 and again August 1991/total 2 rounds). The weather was the worst of the trip with tremendous rain falling.

Not only did the rain not stop for one second during the round but also at times it intensified. By the middle of the round there was standing water on all greens and we had to chip to the pins because putting was impossible. The course was unplayable, but thankfully was not closed. The eighteenth green is in a bowl with a somewhat steep walk up a hill and then more uphill walking. To someone totally soaked who had played 36 holes the short walk looked like climbing the Himalayas.

We then went back to Jim’s home, and my heavy-laden rain gear was again thrown in the dryer. We went back to the Wentworth Club for an excellent meal. I was on the road by 8:30 pm for a 100-mile drive south to Rye on twisting country roads. The heavy rain was still falling, and I arrived at The George hotel by 11:30 pm. The town of Rye has very narrow streets and is hard to maneuver around. The hotel was difficult to find, even with the streets vacant, and I was wondering how I would have done it earlier in the evening with heavy traffic.

Day 62  Play Rye                   Drive Rye/Sandwich                          Play Royal St. George’s

I was up at 5 am and drove five miles east to the Rye Golf Club (rated 94, designed Colt 1894 and remodeled by Simpson and then Campbell)(played May 1989). When I left the hotel the skies were clearing, and I had high hopes that the worst was over as far as the rain was concerned. Unfortunately, in the Rye car park the skies darkened and more rain came crashing down. In these miserable conditions I was amazed when my member contact Peter Gracey (1989) pulled up. Peter is a rugged 75-year-old, and starting at 6:30 am we walked all 18 holes together with clubs on our shoulders through rain and wind.

In planning play at Rye Peter Green (1986) had noticed a one-day member-guest event on the club’s schedule starting at 8 am on the first and tenth tees on the day I was originally scheduled to play starting at 8 am. Consultation with the club secretary Major Chris Gilbert determined that by starting at 6:30 am I would be past the tenth tee by 8 am. Rye is not the easiest course for a stranger to maneuver around, especially with head beaten down by heavy rain. Fortunately, Peter Gracey was there to navigate. Rain came down in buckets during the last four holes. Later in the morning I learned that 1997 had the wettest June in England since records began in 1860.

By 9:30 am I was in the locker room stripping off every stitch of clothing on my body. I was wishing for the use of Inga Loughrey’s dryer for my rain gear because there was another round to play that day. After donning a whole new wardrobe I had tea with Peter Gracey, Chris Gilbert, and Peter Marsh (retired Rye head professional after 40 years of service). The long discussion about Rye’s course architecture was very helpful.

I then drove east for 60 miles to Sandwich and the Royal St. George’s Golf Club (rated 28, designed by Purves 1887 and remodeled by Colt/Alison and then Pennink)(first played September 1985 with  eventual membership/total 21 rounds). At the start of the drive rain was still pelting down, but later a miracle appeared in the form of clearing skies with the sun popping out of the clouds.

Just before 1 pm I had a key to a room in the club’s dormy facilities (officially called Club Accommodations). I then called Ian Findlay (1991 and past club captain) and he along with wife Alison came over for lunch. Then Ian and Neil Roach (member of R&A general committee and past captain of Royal St. George’s) were on the first tee with the sun shining, 65 degrees, and a light breeze (a perfect late June afternoon in England). The Findlays had driven down from London that morning in awful weather and thought our chances of playing that afternoon were zero. The rain did continue all day in the London area, causing cancellation of play at the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

That evening I enjoyed dinner at the Findlays’ summer home in Sandwich.

Day 63  Drive Sandwich/Walton-on-the-Hill                                    Play Walton Heath(Old)

Drive Walton-on-the-Hill/Gatwick Airport

The morning of Day 63 had the luxury of moving at an unhurried pace. Being a member of Royal St. George’s provided a little more scheduling flexibility, so this morning had been left open in case of a cancellation on the previous day. I was running a little low on golf balls, so to be safe I bought a dozen balls in the pro shop. I also enjoyed a long conversation with club secretary Gerald Watts.  Then there was a 84-mile drive east to Walton-on-the-Hill and the Walton Heath Golf Club (Old Course rated 79, designed by Fowler 1904)(played September 1985).

My companion for the afternoon was the pleasant, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic Ken Macpherson. Ken has been the head professional for 20 years, and I had a delightful time with him. Before teeing off I made one of the major purchases of the trip. At Wentworth Jim Loughrey had strapped a thin, hard plastic cover over his forehead to keep the rain off his glasses. During that round I became so wet that I could not even take my handkerchief out of my pocket to wipe the rain drops and fog off my glasses. Meanwhile Jim had no problem seeing out of his glasses for the entire round because of his Aquavis protection. I was pleased to find a pair of Aquavis for sale in Ken’s pro shop.

Penina Golf, Portugal

As we started play at 2:30 pm the weather was 60 degrees, overcast with no wind. It looked as if the Aquavis would be put to good use, but the rain held off. Ken and I pulled trolleys and had the course to ourselves. I could not have ended the U. K. part of the trip with a nicer person. Several weeks later Ken wrote me the following: “By now you will probably have had a double leg transplant! I trust that your world tour was an unforgettable experience and I was glad and honored to be a small part of it.”

In the early evening I drove 32 miles south to the Gatwick Airport and the Forte Posthouse Gatwick in Horle. My car for the past 18 days was cleaned out, and all the paraphernalia spread around the car was squeezed  into my luggage. The car was returned to the Budget office, and the previous damage report came in handy as the agent grilled me about the dents and bruises on the car. Then a mediocre buffet dinner was had in the hotel dining room.

Day 64  Fly London/Faro, Portugal                                         Drive airport/Penina

Play Penina                                                                 Drive Penina/Vale de Lobo

At 9:25 am a British Air 737-400 flew 1,048 miles to sunny Faro, Portugal, where I was met by the San Lorenzo director of golf Antonio Rosa Santos (1994) at 12:30 pm (watch set ahead one hour and now dealing in escudos). We went to the Avis car-rental office, and I picked up a car. The next destination was the Merdian Hotel Dona Filipa, which is a 22-mile drive from the airport to Vale de Lobo in Almacil. After lunch Antonio drove 50 miles east along the Algarve to a sister hotel Penina. During my 1994 Portugal/Spain trip Penina had been closed for extensive reconditioning, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to play it now.

We were met by the director of golf Leonel Rio, and the three of us teed off with clubs on motorized carts. We had the course to ourselves in mostly sunny weather, 70 degrees and 10-mph winds. I actually had to use sun screen for the first time since day 21 at Cabo del Sol in Mexico. Penina was designed by Henry Cotton and has strong par 3’s, which makes sense because Cotton was one of the best long-iron players ever. After golf dinner was enjoyed in the attractive hotel, and then Antonio drove back to the Dona Filipa.

Day 65  Play San Lorenzo                                         Drive San Lorenzo/Sotogrande, Spain

Play Valderrama (9 holes)

I was up at 6 am and drove a short distance to the San Lorenzo Golf Club (rated 100, designed by Lee and Roquemore 1987)(played September 1994). At 7:32 am my clubs were on a trolley, and I was a single player with the course to myself in mostly sunny weather, 70 degrees and no wind. On the seventh hole my heart started pumping real fast because a snotty British “lady” was walking two unleashed dogs on the fairway. One dog came charging directly at my ankles with a vicious snarl. The dog circled my legs for about two minutes with constant snarling, which I feared might turn into chewing on my leg. The owner stood by passively and made no attempt to call off her dog. After the animal became bored and walked off the owner said nothing, not even an apology. I had a few choice words for this “lady.”

At 11:15 am I was fortified by candy bars and bottled water provided by the generous Antonio and on my way to Spain. Unfortunately, Avis had no maps of Spain, and mine was missing. Thus I drove the 281-mile route to Sotogrande (now using pesetas) by memory from my 1994 trip. I drove as fast as possible because I wanted to play Valderrama late that afternoon in order to accelerate the schedule somewhat. My goal was to return to the U.S. via the Newark airport at 5 pm and not the distant Kennedy airport at 9 pm.

Arriving at 4:45 pm, I went to see the club general manager James Stewart (1994), who said I could play the back nine;  the front was closed for maintenance. It was now early July, and the Ryder Cup was to be played at Valderrama (rated 51, designed by R.T. Jones 1975)(played October 1994) in mid-September. With golf bag on shoulder I had the course to myself in 80-degree temperature, bright sun, and no wind.

Valderamma, courtesy of Russell Kirk / GOLFLINKS

After golf I went down the hill and over the newly expanded highway to Sotogrande and the guest house of Jimmy Patino (1994), the owner of Valderrama. Jimmy was not in residence, but I did have the pleasure of being with his son Felipe at a local restaurant for dinner that also included James and Connie Stewart. Felipe asked me how I would like to play the next day —  with a caddie, by myself, or with the head professional? I told him my favorite way was alone carrying my own bag.

Day 66  Play Valderrama (9 holes)      Drive Valderrama/Malaga    Fly Malaga/Valencia

Drive Valencia/El Saler                   Play El Saler

At 8 am I was on the first tee, and there was a sign that said the front nine was closed. Felipe had made sure that I would have the whole front nine to myself. Finishing just before 10 am I enjoyed refreshments with Felipe and James before racing 78 miles to the Malaga airport and dropping off the Avis car. During the planning of the trip PerryGolf had noted an early afternoon nonstop flight from Malaga to Valencia. However, I thought the schedule was too tight, so we booked later flights from Malaga to Madrid and then on to Valencia. By finishing Valderrama earlier than planned, I was now able to take Iberia directly to Valencia.

The 293-mile flight arrived at 2:30 pm. I had originally planned to take a taxi for the 17-mile trip to El Saler. However, I asked the Avis representative if she could provide good directions to El Saler so that I could rent one of her cars. She assured me that her directions were foolproof, so I rented a car. The directions were awful, and I became terribly lost. Fortunately I eventually found El Saler and checked into the Parador El Saler.

At 4:45 pm I convinced the non-English-speaking starter to grant me a waiver of the greens fee. I then went to the first tee and was able to join a man and two women. Campo de Golf El Saler (rated 60, designed by Arana 1967)(played July 1987) is a public course with a huge amount of play. I teed off in 80-degree weather, partly sunny, with wind howling at 20 to 25 mph. The course is directly on the Mediterranean, and half the holes are links and exposed to the elements. Play was very slow, and I was doubtful of finishing. Fortunately, my non-English speaking companions departed after nine holes, as did some of the players ahead. I finished at 8 pm as sunset was approaching.

One of the most pleasant surprises on the entire trip was the dramatic improvement in the condition of the El Saler course. When I played here in 1987 the course was a dog track in terms of  conditioning. In fact, I used El Saler as an example to show that not all courses needed to be in Augusta National condition to be rated in the World 100. Today I found a course in above- average condition, especially the greens. This is saying something because El Saler has massive greens that may be the largest in the world 100 (the seventeenth is 54 yards deep, and the eighteenth is 85 yards deep). I was so excited about this development that I wanted to congratulate someone connected to the course. Regrettably, there was no one around.

Before going to dinner, I called Gordon Dalgleish in Atlanta to tell him I was running ahead of schedule and ask if he could change the rest of my flights. Within an hour a fax was received from PerryGolf with the requested revisions. Dinner in the hotel was above average, and I felt satisfied with how well the day had developed.

Day 67  Drive El Saler/Valencia       Fly Valencia/Madrid       Fly Madrid/Paris(DeGaulle)

Drive airport/Senlis             Play Morfontaine

Arising at 5:45 am and with excellent directions from the hotel’s front desk, I quickly made my way back to the Valencia airport in light early-morning traffic. Luckily I was able to gain the attention of an Iberia reservations lady at an out-of-service window so that my ticket could be changed. I was originally going to play El Saler in the early morning and then fly on a very tight schedule to Barcelona and on to Paris. If all had gone well I would have reached the hotel in Senlis at about 11 pm.

The new schedule had a flight to Madrid on Iberia (177 miles) and then a transfer to Air France and on to Paris (661 miles and now dealing in francs). The rental car booth was commanded by a really surly young lady. It took about a half hour to process my simple reservation because some of the time was occupied by a personal phone call. Finally I leaped into the tiniest car I have ever driven — Citroen AX Image (diesel). If I had hit anything I would have been squashed like a bug.

Charging out of the airport, I headed north for 16 miles on the motorway in awful weather — 50 degrees and rain coming down in buckets. Under these conditions there was no way a sane person would even think about playing golf. Coming off the toll road at Senlis I stumbled upon my hotel (Ibis Senlis). Fortunately, I stopped to register and take possession of a room because they had no reservation in my name. I do not know what would have happened under the original schedule with an 11 pm arrival;  the hotel was fully occupied by 8 pm.

Of course, the hotel had no local map, and no one knew where the course was. I had been there in 1990 and received excellent directions at a local gas station. Going on memory and with a couple of wrong turns I found the small village of Mortefontaine just south of Senlis and finally the course. I went into the deserted clubhouse, and a nice young lady said I could play that day even though I was scheduled for the next day.

Golf de Morfontaine (rated 61, designed by Simpson 1927)(played two rounds June 1990) was another course for which Plan B was needed. After my original member contact did not respond, I called Baltusrol friend Mark Williams (1980), and he worked very hard to make the arrangements. In the meantime I wrote the club directly. After more than two months had elapsed, both avenues responded almost simultaneously.

At 3 pm a trolley was obtained from the caddiemaster. He and his wife then watched me unpack the bulky golf travel bag. He must have thought I was daft, and I was laughing at myself as I pulled on all my rain gear, including the recently purchased Aquavis, and headed for the first tee. Rain was still coming down heavily, and, needless to say, I had the whole course to myself. I finished in 2 hours and 15 minutes, and when I returned the trolley the caddiemaster kept asking me dix huit, dix huit? He was amazed that I had played all 18 holes in this cold and rainy weather in such a short period of time.

After golf I spent an absolutely pleasant and informative hour with Jean E. Dulout, directeur du golf. He has been associated with Morfontaine for almost 40 years, and his love for the club and the facilities was matched by his enthusiasm for the history of golf. I felt very privileged to meet and be able to discuss the history of Morfontaine with such a nice man. When I left he said that his friends called  him “Jimmy” and I was welcome to come back any time.

I would love to go there more often because Morfontaine is in such an enchanting setting that it truly is a “course of a life time.” Actually, if I spoke French I would make every effort to try to become a member. So as I walked to the car and drove down the narrow road through a forest of trees there was a glow on my face. The U.K, Ireland, and Continental part of  the trip could not have ended on a happier note.

Day 68  Drive Senlis/DeGaulle         Fly Paris/London(Heathrow) Fly London/Newark

I was up at 5:30 am to pack for the trip home. The temperature was about 50 degrees and the skies very overcast. It certainly would not have been much fun to play an early round under those conditions

The revised plane ticket was now DeGaulle/Heathrow/Newark. It was a good thing I had left plenty of time to get to the plane because the signs at the DeGaulle were terrible and I had great difficulty finding the British Airways terminal and the rental-car return. If I had been on the original very tight schedule of playing Morfontaine that morning and then racing to the airport in late-morning traffic, I think I would not have made it.

Remember I said you cannot plan enough. I learned something new on this trip. If you rent a car in a foreign country you had better be able to translate the rental-car-return sign if it is not in English. With much more time to spare I stopped at an airport hotel and found two helpful young employees. They gave me proper directions and said the signs with “Park de Louage” were for rental car return. Even with directions it was not easy to locate the final parking place for the tiny Citroen.

A British Air 757 took me on a short hop to Heathrow (216 miles and watch set back one hour), where I boarded a British Air 747 for a 6-hour and 55-minute 3,466-mile flight over the Atlantic Ocean to Newark (watch set back five hours and now using good old Yankee dollars). The weather at 90 degrees with sun, was substantially better than what I had left behind in France. The plane was packed, and there was a one-hour gap between touchdown and luggage arrival. A taxi delivered me to my Springfield condo, and I was finally in my own bed at 9:30 pm (3:30 am in France). Despite the 22-hour day I felt lucky because the original schedule had called for an  arrival at JFK at 9:10 pm. There is no telling when I would have reached home or how much it would have cost from that distant airport.

My luck continued. Exactly one week after my trip from Paris to Newark the British Air cabin crews went on a 72-hour union protest, and the carrier was forced to cancel half the scheduled flights.

Day 69              Open

The day was spent doing laundry (desperately needed) and reorganizing the last part of the trip. There were hotels, and host contacts to notify that only one room was needed because I had become a single player with the early release of my traveling companion. It was complicated because Bell Atlantic had crossed my phone line with that of a teenage girl, and I could not receive incoming calls directed to me. I did receive several calls from the girl’s boy friends, and they were not happy to have reached an old fogy. In addition, the cable company had neglected to activate the system and the TV did not work. Also, the dryer would not produce wrinkle-free golf shirts. Welcome home!

Day 70  Drive Springfield/Farmingdale, NY                                    Play Bethpage (Black)

Drive Farmingdale/Springfield

Thanks to Bill Bennett my car was parked in my Springfield garage when I arrived home the night before. So at 5:30 am I arose and drove 70 miles east past Kennedy Airport to Bethpage State Park on Long Island. I had to reprogram my right foot and reduce the pressure on the gas pedal after having raced around Scotland, England, Portugal, Spain, and France without much regard for the speed limits.

The World 100 course that should have been one of the easiest, if not the easiest, to schedule was the public-access Bethpage Black Course (rated 86, designed by Tillinghast 1935)(played July 1969). In my original ideal schedule I nonchalantly slotted Bethpage for late July with the other Long Island courses. I am not going to name any of the people involved in the arrangements because nothing worked as it was supposed to. From September 1996 through June 1997 more faxes and phone calls were made to pin down a starting time there than in arranging to play any other course on the list.

First, I found out the course was going to close in mid-July 1997 for one full year of renovation before the U.S. Open. I was amazed because the Open will be held there in 2002, and the shutdown started in July 1997. Consultation of my magnetic planning boards showed that the only date fitting my schedule for Bethpage was the second day after returning to the U.S. Then the question was how to arrange an early-morning guaranteed starting time on a busy weekend. I was given the name of a Bethpage Park official, who said he would send me the necessary permit to apply for a specific time. When the permit failed to arrive I attempted to reach him several times, but to no avail. I went back to my original contact, but nothing happened there either. Finally, during the early part of the trip, I turned the problem over to Arnold Langer (1994) of Sea Gate Travel, a semi-regular player at Bethpage. Arnold did the trick, but it was not until after returning to the States from France that I was sure Bethpage was under control.

The “sign” at Beth Page Black

The weather during the preceding week had been extremely hot and humid, and Arnold (a thin 68 year-old) decided he needed a caddie because the course is fairly hilly and the ground hard.  But there are no caddies at Bethpage, so Arnold had to make special arrangements. Unfortunately, two men appeared and insisted on carrying all four bags at $60 a bag. We tried to point out that this was a higher fee than one would pay at Pine Valley, but they were adamant. We considered the fee ridiculous, and, because the weather was not hot and humid on that early July day, we told the two guys to take a hike.

Then at the refreshment shack on the sixth tee a burly Bethpage Park employee appeared on an electric cart. He wanted $60 for having arranged for the caddies. At this point it became clear why the initial caddie rate was so high. My impulse was to tell this guy to take a hike too, but I did not want to risk being hustled off the course without finishing the round. So the park employee received his kickback. On the basis of my brief exposure to the machinations of the New York State Parks dominion, I wish the USGA luck in being able to battle successfully through this political and bureaucratic maze between now and 2002.

Thanks to Arnold, I was on the first tee for the 8:08 am tee time with him and two of  his friends, Brad Davis, a PGA member, and Jeff Haltman. We did not hit off until 8:16 and while waiting observed the following sign at the first tee: “WARNING: THE BLACK COURSE IS AN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT GOLF COURSE WHICH IS RECOMMENDED ONLY FOR HIGHLY SKILLED GOLFERS.” In bright sun with no clouds, no wind, and 65 degrees I was back in the U.S. and on the final leg of the trip. It had been six weeks since my last round in the U.S. and, not surprisingly that day would be the longest round of the trip. It took 3 hours to play the front nine and another 2 hours and 45 minutes to play the back nine. After this exhausting round I was back in my car retracing the route to Springfield.


About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+


Around the Top 100 World – Day 51 to Day 60 / Ayrshire to Ascot

Click here for trip summary & overview

Day 51  Drive Turnberry/Gullane                                                                 Play Muirfield

Instead of rising at the crack of dawn for the originally scheduled 7:30 am starting time we were able to have a relaxing breakfast in the hotel’s lovely dining room overlooking the golf course and out to the Irish Sea. It is one of the world’s best views from a hotel window. We then had a visit with the hotel director and general manager Christopher Rouse (1995). It turned out that the best person at Turnberry to talk to about the architecture of the courses was George Brown, manager of courses. Fortunately, George was available, and we had a very productive meeting.

We drove 121 miles north and then east past Edinburgh to the pro shop at the Gullane Golf Club. In making arrangements to play Muirfield Plan B had been employed. My initial member contact did not respond, and then I got lucky with a group of Edinburgh golfers coming to play Baltusrol in September 1996. David Kirkwood, member of Gullane, put me in touch with Archie Baird. In the 1992 “O” Archie’s famous golf museum (called The Heritage of Golf) was covered extensively.

Archie took us to lunch at the Gullane Golf Club. Then he and I were on the first tee at 2 pm as a twosome with golf bags on our shoulders and the course to ourselves. Dan was not allowed to play because Muirfield (rated 8, designed by Morris 1889 and remodeled by Colt and then Simpson)(first played October 1979 and again May 1992/total 3 rounds) does not permit three- or four-ball play on any afternoon. The weather was 65 degrees and mostly sunny and a light breeze. Archie wanted to play a friendly match, and he proved to be a fierce competitor with both  his clubs and his mouth. I did not stand a chance!

Archie was the perfect host. He knows an incredible amount about the design evolution of Muirfield. Equally impressive is his ability to turn a great phrase and even to spout poetry. We continued to benefit from his knowledge and enthusiasm with a tour of his museum and at dinner. Greywalls is a famous and impeccable Edwardian Scottish country hotel adjacent to the ninth green at Muirfield. Accompanied by Archie’s wife Sheila (granddaughter of the famous golfer and course architect Willie Park, Jr.) we enjoyed a gourmet meal with excellent service. The whole experience at Greywalls was one of the very best on the trip and put the Glassdrumman to shame. A good night’s sleep was obtained at the unpretentious Mallard Hotel.

Day 52  Drive Gullane/Glasgow                               Visit Brian Morgan’s Golf Photo Gallery

Drive Glasgow/St. Andrews                        Play St. Andrews (Old)

My book will be mostly text with a few pictures that demonstrate unique architectural features. Brian Morgan (1994) is acknowledged to be the most competent golf photographer in the world, and I am fortunate to know him. We had discussed an arrangement over the phone, and then I made arrangements to visit his office during the trip. So Dan and I drove 73 miles to Glasgow and met with Brian’s former wife Dorothy for five hours. She runs the office while Brian travels around the world taking golf pictures.

Old Course, courtesy of LC Lambrecht

Then we drove 86 miles to St. Andrews, where I checked into Waldon House, which is the R&A’s bed and breakfast adjacent to the eighteenth fairway of the Old Course. At 6 pm we wandered over to the starter’s booth at the Old Course (rated 5, original layout sixteenth century with no known designer)(first played October 1979 and last played September 1996/total 5 rounds) and were amazed to find a totally vacant first tee. Dan was dying to play the course, so I asked the starter if we could play then. He said certainly, so I produced my R&A card, which allows free play. An added benefit was that Dan’s 72-pound greens fee was reduced by 50 pounds because he was playing as my guest.

With clubs on shoulders we teed off in 60 degrees with overcast skies and 5-to 10-mph winds. We played the entire round unimpeded. As if on cue the sun came out on the thirteenth hole and bathed the whole course and the town in late-evening shadows. We finished at 9:30 pm and had a mediocre bar meal with excruciatingly slow service at a local pub.

Day 53  Play St. Andrews (Old)                                            Drive St. Andrews/Carnoustie

Play Carnoustie (Old)                                              Drive Carnoustie/Newburgh

Arranging to play the Old Course is difficult, even for an R&A member. Thanks to Euan MacGregor, finance and administration manager for the St. Andrews Links Trust, I was given a 6:50 am time, which was just before the field started. Euan had also arranged for Walter Woods to join me in a twosome. Walter just retired after 20 years as links supervisor for all five courses under the Links Trust. He is an excellent golfer, has an unrivaled knowledge of the Old Course, and gave us some valuable insights into the recent history of the course. Dan walked with us and particularly admired the way Walter raked the two bunkers he was in — efficiently and with a surgeon’s stroke.

We played the round with no wind, 60 degrees, and overcast skies. When we teed off there must have been 50 people surrounding the starter’s booth. Many were single players hoping to fill in for a no show. Our round was completed at 9:45 am, so within 12 hours I had finished two unimpeded rounds on one of the busiest courses in the world carrying my own bag.

Dan and I then drove north for 24 miles to Carnoustie (rated 21, designed by Robertson 1842 and remodeled by Braid)(this was my first links course played October 1979 and again May 1992/total 2 rounds). We said hello to David Curtis, Secretary of the Carnoustie Golf Club, which is a separate entity from the municipally run golf course. After lunch the club historian Bill Coupar spent some time with us.

At 2:30 pm Dan and I were off the first tee as a twosome in 60 degrees, 5 mph, overcast with a threat of rain. Play was slow; two Englishman joined us on the ninth green; and then it rained on holes 11 through 15. We finished in the gloom at 6:30 pm. Then we talked with the course superintendent John Philp for one hour. We would have talked to him longer because he was full of knowledge and enthusiasm about the architecture of the course, but we had a long trip ahead of us.

At 7:30 pm we left Carnoustie and immediately stopped for some traditional Scottish cuisine — fish and chips. We nibbled at the food while driving 85 miles in heavy rain and fog through Aberdeen to the village of Newburgh and the Udny Arms Hotel. At 10:30 pm I registered, and Dan went down the road to a bed and breakfast. After hauling my luggage to the third floor I collapsed and fell fast asleep.

At 11:45 pm I shot awake with the ringing of the phone. It was the front desk demanding to know where my traveling companion was. I told them two things: 1) the reservation had been canceled several weeks before and 2) they had no business calling my room at 11:45 pm to make such an inquiry! I pointed out that they could have made the inquiry when I was checking in. Then I tried to go back to sleep and was immediately hit by severe cramps in the backs of both upper legs. After doing battle for the next half hour the cramps went away, but sleep did not resume until about 2 am.

Day 54  Play Cruden Bay                                                      Drive Cruden Bay/Skibo Castle

I  was up at 6 am and told the front-desk clerk I was not going to pay for my room because the hotel did not provide the environment for the basic service of a decent night’s sleep. I also said that it would be appropriate for the hotel to write me a letter of apology if the room had indeed been canceled in the proper manner.

Subsequently it was determined that the room had definitely been canceled according to the official policy established by the hotel and there was a written record of such cancellation. Not surprisingly, when I returned to the U.S. I found the room charge on my credit card statement and no letter of apology. I will not bore you with the subsequent correspondence with the self-righteous hotel manager Jennifer Craig, who strongly claims never to have made a mistake. Suffice it to say that the hotel can now be referred to as the  “Ugly Arms.”

Now back to the golf. Dan and I drove five miles north to the Cruden Bay Golf Club (rated 99, designed by Fowler and Simpson 1925)(played one round July 1992). In the car park the weather was foggy, drizzly, windy, and cool. I decided to pack the golf bag with a complete set of foul weather gear, and we set out at 8:30 am with bags on our shoulders. Some of the holes at Cruden Bay are extremely hilly and the walk between the eighth green and the ninth tee is like climbing the Swiss Alps. The sun came out early in the round, and the temperature rose to 70 degrees. With 36 holes the previous day, the long drive, the Ugly Arms special treatment, and an unnecessary heavy golf bag, I was pooped by the end of the round.

After lunch at the club we drove 156 miles north to Dornoch, where Dan said goodbye. (He played 46 holes in drenching rain at Royal Dornoch from 5:30 pm to 10:47 pm and then drove to Glasgow where he hit the hay at 3 am.)  I drove to the nearby Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle for the night. The first thing I did upon arrival was to request laundry service because I was down to my last you know what.

In 1994 I was at Skibo before the official opening and ate dinner with just three other people in the main dining room at a long table that could easily have held 30 people. In 1995 I returned after the club was officially opened and ate at the same table with nine other people. In 1997 the bustle of activity throughout the entire complex was noticeable. Not only was the main dining table entirely occupied, but a side table holding ten was also full. What amazed me was the proliferation of young people (one American had his wife and four children ages 18 through 25 along). It was pleasing to see the realization of owner Peter de Savary’s hard work and dream.

Day 55  Play Royal Dornoch                                     Drive Dornoch/Loch Lomond

I was up at 5:30 am and on the first tee of the Royal Dornoch Golf Club (rated 13, designed by Morris 1886 and remodeled by Sutherland and then Duncan)(first played September 1986 and again July 1992/total 6 rounds). The weather was miserable — cold, windy, rainy. I played by myself and pulled a trolley.

After golf I had a long talk with the club secretary John Duncan and then another long talk with  Willie Skinner, head professional for 24 years. At dinner the previous night Allan Grant, Skibo golf secretary, had made arrangements for me to meet with two of the older Dornoch members who were knowledgeable about the course architecture, John Grant and Tommy McCulloch, and I had a very informative chat with them.

I returned to the Castle and had lunch with the club golf professional Willie Milne. We were going to play 18 holes on the Carnegie Links, but a two-hour-long downpour made that plan inoperative. Instead I started south on a 221-mile scenic drive and was exposed to high Scottish mountains and some beautiful lochs.

Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Scotland

Unfortunately, the trip was partially marred by overcast skies and frequent rain showers.

The long tour delivered me to the Lodge on Loch Lomond at 7 pm. At the reception area I was asked if I wished a dinner reservation. Giving an affirmative answer, I was told 9 pm was the first available time. Because the hotel restaurant also did business with non-hotel guests I asked why paying $130 for a room did not entitle me to a preferred time. Not receiving a satisfactory answer I went into the dining room and was pleased to find several empty tables. Pointing this out to the management of the hotel did immediately produce a table. However, in order to charge the meal to my room I had to surrender my room key to the maitre d’ until I signed the check after the meal. For all this aggravation  I received an average meal with average service.

Day 56  Play Loch Lomond                                                   Drive Loch Lomond/Ganton

I woke up at 6 am and threw open the curtains to find very dark skies, light rain, and strong winds. I met playing companion Colin Dalgleish (he runs the part of PerryGolf located in Scotland) at a little after 7 am outside the temporary clubhouse of Loch Lomond Golf Club (rated 44, designed by Weiskopf and Morrish 1994)(played two rounds July 1995). We were scheduled to have the first tee time at 7:30 am, but eight eager Americans were approaching the first tee. Luckily they permitted us to hit off first, and we sped around in two hours and 45 minutes carrying our own bags.

Even though the weather threatened all the way around and we wore rain gear, it hardly rained. The temperature remained in the 50’s, and on the exposed parts of the course the wind blew 25 mph. However, because many of the holes are sheltered by many tall and thick trees there was not a constant battle with the wind.

After a quick early lunch I spoke briefly with the head professional Colin Campbell (the day had been arranged by Michael Daswick of the Lyle Anderson Group in Arizona). Then Colin and I had an extensive tour of the impressive new clubhouse facilities by Keith Williams. Keith arrived at Loch Lomond in February 1997 to direct construction after having done the same thing with a multimillion-dollar expansion and modernization of Wentworth near London.

Then I drove 268 miles southeast to England (Yorkshire) and the small village of Ganton near the city of Scarborough. During the trip the skies continued ominous with occasional heavy showers. I arrived at the Ganton Greyhound at 5:30 pm in a heavy downpour. The chief Greyhound was the burly owner Terry Bennett. He showed me to a room overlooking the busy main road. I asked if there was something quieter and was strongly informed that all the rooms were taken. However, Terry did assure me the traffic noise would die down later in the evening. He was correct on that score, but he forgot to mention that my room was directly over the public bar. In Japan I was subjected to paper thin walls and now at the Greyhound I was resting on a paper thin floor. The noise level from the crowded bar increased with each passing hour, and I finally fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning.

Day 57  Play Ganton                                                              Drive Ganton/Lytham St. Annes

I was up at 6:30 am on a cold day with no heat in the room and no hot water. Breakfast service began at 8 am, but there was a sign saying “A continental breakfast may be taken earlier if requested the previous day.” You would have thought I was asking for the crown jewels when I inquired about receiving the continental breakfast.

At 8:15 am I was on the nearby first tee of the Ganton Golf Club (rated 67, designed by Dunn 1891 and remodeled by Vardon, Colt, Hutchinson, Fowler, Ray, Braid, Hilton, Cotton)(played September 1985) with a pickup member arranged by the friendly caddiemaster. It was 60 degrees, no wind, and misty. Light rain fell occasionally throughout the round.

Arrangements for this day had been made by the club secretary Major R.G. Woolsey, who had sent along several pages of course history before the trip started. After golf, the assistant club secretary Mrs. Jean Matthewman provided more written data and sandwiches. Then it took about three hours to drive the 138 miles due west across country from Ganton to Lytham St. Annes. At the Chadwick Hotel in St. Annes I had dinner with John Twissell (1985), who had made arrangements for golf the next day.

Day 58  Play Royal Lytham              Drive Lytham/Southport                    Play Royal Birkdale

At 7:15 am I arrived at Royal Lytham (rated 58, designed by Lowe 1886 and remodeled by Simpson, Fowler, Colt, Morrison, Cotton, Steel)(first played September 1985 and last played May 1989/total 3 rounds) and found John Twissell and our host Dr. Steven Reid. Steven was recently captain of the club, has written a course history of County Sligo (Rosses Point) in Ireland, and is very knowledgeable about the Lytham course history. Before play one of the crises of the trip had to be addressed. The wings on my collapsible long putter were constantly coming loose with tightening required. I bit the bullet and asked a nice young man in the pro shop to give the implement a sound tightening. He obliged, and the problem disappeared for the rest of the trip.

We teed off on that late June day with the sky partly sunny, the temperature in the high 50’s, and a wind of about 10 mph. Lytham is a true links course, but no body of water is anywhere in sight. Considerable discussion centered on how far away the water was that once covered the course. The answer is about 800 yards.

After the round and lunch in the main dining room I went to see the club secretary Lytton Goodwin  to ask him to call Royal Birkdale to see if I could play there that afternoon. I wanted to reshuffle the deck to take advantage of the good weather and also avoid the killing schedule I had set for the following day (a doubleheader of Birkdale and Liverpool plus a long drive to Woodhall Spa). The answer was affirmative.

I then drove 40 miles to Southport and found Royal Birkdale (rated 26, designed by Low 1889 and remodeled by Hawtree)(first played September 1985 and last played May 1989/total 3 rounds). The club secretary Norman Crewe was most cordial, and we had a long talk about the rebuilding of the Birkdale greens. At 5 pm I was out on the course by myself pulling a trolley. It was 55 degrees, partly sunny, and 20 mph. Play was somewhat slow on the front nine.

Royal Lytham Golf Club, courtesy of Russell Kirk/GOLFLINKS

On the tenth tee I was joined by host Gordon Jeffrey (1989), who was captain of the R&A in 1995. Gordon had arranged a foursome for the next morning but was understanding when I told him about wanting to accelerate the schedule. On the back nine Gordon acted as caddie by pulling my trolley. The early-evening shadows outlining the tremendous sand dunes at Birkdale were a bonus. Gordon then took me to dinner, where I was able to thank him and Birkdale for adapting smoothly to my new schedule. I was at the Scarisbrick Hotel by 10:30 pm.

Day 59  Drive Southport/Hoylake    Play Royal Liverpool     Drive Hoylake/Woodhall Spa

I was up at 6 am for a 33-mile drive south through the Liverpool tunnel and out to the town of Hoylake. At 8 am I met with Royal Liverpool (rated 82, designed by Morris and Chambers 1869 and remodeled by Colt and then Pennink)(first played September 1985 and last played May 1989/total 5 rounds) club secretary Group Captain Christopher Moore. Member John Behrend (1989) had made the initial introduction to the club on my behalf. At 9 am I was on the first tee with member Dr. John Graham, who is a good friend of Lytton Goodwin. The weather was 45 degrees, partly sunny, and 15 to 20 mph. On the downwind 374-yard par-4 second hole came the shot of the trip. After I hit a 9-iron second shot, neither John nor I could see where the ball finished up because a bunker lip hid part of the green. When we arrived at the green the ball was nowhere in sight, so I looked in the cup and there it was — eagle two!

After lunch with John I drove 198 miles south and east to the village of Woodhall Spa. This is not an easy place to get to, and I was grateful not to have had to do the navigating in the dark as called for by the original schedule. At the Golf Hotel an average dinner was presented, but the sleep was restful.

Day 60  Play Woodhall Spa                                                        Drive Woodhall Spa/Ascot

After a 7:20 am continental breakfast I drove about 500 yards to the entrance of the Woodhall Spa Golf Club (rated 29, designed by Hotchkin and Hutchinson 1926)(played two rounds September 1985) clubhouse and was greeted by manager Ben Fawcett. He offered a caddie, but I said playing alone was preferrable. At 8 am I set off in full foul-weather gear pulling a trolley in 55 degrees with no wind, and light rain. This is a heavily tree-lined course, and after each of the first 12 holes I was able to huddle under a few of them to write my notes with a ball-point pen. A felt-tip pen does not work if the least bit of moisture is present. Fortunately, I had one ball-point pen with me.

Rain poured down heavily during the last six holes, so the umbrella came out and I wrote my notes while juggling the umbrella in a steady breeze. Coming down the eighteenth hole I was moving very slowly and felt about as tired as at any time during the trip.

A quick change had me looking presentable for a long discussion and an enjoyable lunch with the club president Neil Hotchkin. He had inherited the club and the surrounding land 40 years before and had recently sold the club to the English Golf Union (EGU) to be used as its national training center for amateur golfers. Neil has been active in the EGU for many years.

The route out of Woodhall Spa is not any easier than the route in. After 11 different junctions and 4 hours (178 miles) in pouring rain and medium-to-heavy traffic I arrived on the western outskirts of London and the Cottage Inn in Maidens Green. There I was informed that my reservation was not reconfirmed and therefore no room was available. They then arranged for a room in the next town, and I maneuvered my way to Ascot Place, a bed and breakfast just across the street from the Ascot race course. Unfortunately, there was a dog in the house with a loud bark that was in evidence until midnight.

An excellent “bar” meal was enjoyed at the nearby Rose & Crown in Windsor. The service was superior, and there was no pretense of seeking a tip.


About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+


Around the Top 100 World – Day 21 to Day 30 / Cabo to Kawana

Click here for trip summary & overview

Day 21  Play Cabo del Sol           Drive Cabo del Sol/Airport            Fly Los Cabos/Los Angeles

The alarm went off at 5:15 am, and before 6 am we were back on the road for a short drive to Cabo del Sol and our 6:50 am tee time. After a short conversation with the director of golf Brad Wheatley (1996) we were off the first tee as a twosome. The sun was blazing (almost blinding), the temperature was in the high 70’s (eventually it reached the low 90’s), and there was no breeze. We were the only people in long pants (to conserve luggage space I had not packed any short pants). My traveling companion was driving the motorized cart, and I was on foot. There were some steep walks up and down slopes (real hamstring stretchers), but being on foot afforded the opportunity to see some lovely ocean views that cannot be appreciated from a moving vehicle. There is a long walk between the seventh green and eighth tee down to the floor of a ravine that weaves through rock formations and a view of the sea and waves that you would miss on a speeding cart.

Cabo del Sol, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo del Sol is a very expensive resort course (rated 68, designed by Nicklaus 1993)(played April 1996) and a massive real estate development. Substantial building had taken place during the year since my first visit. By the ninth tee there was a huge sign announcing “Grand Opening – Hacienda Del Mar – World Class Vacation Ownership,” and five-story buildings were partially blocking the ocean views from the course. Even with our early starting time there were two slow foursomes in front, and we had to wait on many shots. We did not have any breakfast, so a granola bar was a welcome addition at the tenth tee as was a sandwich on the sixteenth tee.

After golf we drove back to the airport, where I told my traveling companion that I thought it would be best if he went home. Earlier in the trip we had reviewed his responsibilities, but little progress had been made, so it became obvious to both of us that we should call it a day for him. I had paid all his expenses, and he had played 20 of the best courses in the world. The parting in the LA airport was amicable and convenient for both of us.

At the Mexican airport passport control the same government official from the previous night was present. He was friendly but suspicious. Why was I in and out of this remote part of Mexico within 15 hours? Fortunately he believed my explanation. The 910-mile 2:30 pm Alaskan Airlines flight arrived in Los Angeles at 4 pm (watch set back one hour).

I was met at the airport by Tim (the Cheech) Clark (1963), and he was the perfect tour guide for the next 24 hours — chauffeur, meals, bed, playing companion, tension relief. I did not have to worry about directions in this crowded and complex town. At Tim’s new “dream house” in Pasadena we were greeted by wife Diana, an ice- cold Foster’s, and shrimp on the barbie.

Day 22  Play Riviera              Play Los Angeles (North)                           Fly LA/Las Vegas, NV

At 6:15 am we were on the road in Tim’s Lincoln Continental. The destination was Riviera, where we found host Norman Klaparda (1990) and club historian Geoff Shackelford. As noted previously, Norman was the second person to play both the World 100 and the U.S. 100 and is also an active member of the panel to choose the World 100. Usually club historians are ancient club members, so I was surprised to meet a young man. Geoff is the ideal golf club historian because he is an excellent golfer and is knowledgeable about the history of both the club and the architect; he has already put his knowledge into two books — The Riviera Country Club: A Definitive History and The Captain (George C. Thomas Jr.) and his Golf Architecture.

Riviera (rated 27, designed by Thomas and Bell 1926) (first played May 1981 and last played May 1991/total 3 rounds) is a busy full-facility country club with Japanese ownership. At 7:15 am on the first tee the weather was typical gloomy May/June Los Angeles — mid- 60s with low gray haze suggesting the real possibility of rain. The temperature quickly rose to 75/80 degrees and the sun eventually came out in the early afternoon.

The greens at Riviera have been a point of major contention within the club and have received national and international scrutiny. The total rebuilding was done with sod instead of seed and since then the grass has never been healthy. Today a new problem was evident, huge patches of Poa annua that made putting unpredictable.

Following golf it was back into Tim’s car and on to the Los Angeles Country Club (LACC), where we had lunch with co-hosts Mitch Milias (1973) and Carl Murray. We were very lucky to be able to play LACC at this particular time because the North Course had just reopened in late February after a one-year program to completely rebuild and regrass the greens. On this day there were guest play restrictions on the North Course because a similar program had begun on the South Course.

In developing the restoration program the LACC was able to observe the just described difficulties experienced by Riviera. A new bent grass called A-4, developed by Dr. Joseph Duich at Penn State, was seeded. The entire project was carried out by the golf course architect John Harbottle of Tacoma, WA. From my observation the initial aspects of the finished product are a total success; we putted on immaculate surfaces that looked and felt like velvet. Only time will tell how A-4 will hold up under the very hot and humid summer conditions experienced in the LA area.

At 1:20 pm we were on the first tee (North course rated 53, designed by Thomas 1921) (first played July 1979 and last played April 1988/total 5 rounds) with caddies. There are no tee times at LACC even though the club has a large and active membership (no movie stars allowed). The weather was still overcast  but much warmer than in the morning. On the second hole the sun came out, and it became very humid. LACC is a fairly hilly course, so the second 18 of the day proved to be a workout. In addition to the greens rebuilding and regrassing, many trees were removed to improve air circulation and open vistas. The removal is not noticeable to an outsider because there are still 40,000 trees and shrubs at LACC.

After  refreshments, Tim took me to the LA airport for an 8:45 pm 236-mile United flight to Las Vegas. Arriving at 10 pm, I retrieved my luggage and went out for a taxi. Even at what I would consider to be a fairly late hour there was a huge line with  a long wait for a cab. I was finally in my room at the Mirage Hotel a little past 11 pm.

Shadow Creek Golf Club, Las Vegas, Nevada

Day 23  Play Shadow Creek         Fly Las Vegas/San Jose, CA             Drive San Jose/Carmel

At 7:30 am a cab took me out of  town along a desolate, flat, ugly, brown, scruffy, desert landscape. I have made this drive before, but I was still amazed that a world-class golf course among hills and trees was just down the road. Shadow Creek (rated 49, designed by Fazio and Wynn 1990) (played May 1991) is the eighth wonder of the world from a golf-construction standpoint. Some people think they have been transported to the sand hills of North Carolina, but I am reminded of the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains because of the mountain backgrounds at Shadow Creek.

After hitting six balls on the best practice range in the world  I was on the first tee as a single with caddie at 8:30 am. I had the course to myself except for a twosome that was playing a hole or two behind. This provided an opportunity for a leisurely stroll and absorb all the ambience, which includes a plethora of wild life. The weather was bright sun with a temperature of 73 degrees (eventually rose to 92).

The caddie’s name was Chris Berry; he is on the University of Nevada at Las Vegas golf team and was a contemporary of Tiger Woods. Chris was the sixth ranked junior golfer in the country coming out of high school. He had grown up in the next town to Tiger and said that all the boys liked Tiger because he was not a braggart and let his clubs do the talking. He also said that even though Tiger was the best player at each level during his early career there was some skepticism among his peers as to whether he would be so dominant at the next levels.

On the 145-yard eighth hole I came within an inch of a hole-in-one (the closest I would come on any of the top 100 played on the trip). When I played the course in 1991 the tenth hole was under reconstruction. The finished product is quite attractive. With a mountain range as background, it is a sharp dogleg right totally encased by a wall of trees fairly close to the entire fairway and surrounding the green. The somewhat small, semi-angled two-tier green is in a bowl with a bunker on the right side.

The look and playability of eleventh hole has been substantially changed from 1991. Originally there were two separate greens on this short par-4. I had thought one of the greens was a weak sister and could not understand why Fazio even bothered with it. By 1997 the feeble alternative green was gone and the complete hole had been tightened up to reflect the shortness of the hole. The other major difference between 1991 and 1997 was the growth of the 21,000 imported trees, in both height and density. The original course was a challenge, but the changes made by 1997 made the course play more difficult.

Immediately after golf a Mirage Hotel stretch limousine was taking two players back to the hotel, so I hitched a ride, and then the friendly driver took me to the airport. There I discovered that my 4:15 pm Reno Air flight to San Jose was indefinitely delayed. (Luckily, this was the only plane delay of the entire trip!) The alternative was Southwest Air, but the madhouse atmosphere along with unfriendly and inefficient agent service caused me to return to Reno Air. Fortunately the 386-mile flight was only two hours late. At 8 pm Dan Turner met me at the San Jose airport, and we drove 73 miles to Carmel and the La Playa Hotel.

Day 24  Play Pebble Beach                                                                    Play Cypress Point

Dan and I were up at 5 am, but nothing was open for breakfast. We drove to a shopping center and found a grocery store with 24-hour service. There we purchased orange juice and some granola bars. Luckily, I was able to obtain the first starting time of the day (6:30 am) at Pebble Peach (rated 3, designed by Neville and Grant 1919)(first played May 1975 and last played June 1992/total 4 rounds). At 6 am the pro shop and first tee area were a beehive of activity. There must have been 60 bags lined up on the rail. With Dan driving a cart (on cart paths only), I was paired with three hotel guests who were medium-handicap players.

Although Pebble is officially a public golf course, 80 percent of the starting times are allocated to guests staying at The Lodge or The Inn at Spanish Bay. The room cost is about $400 a night. The Pebble greens fee for hotel guests is $245. Although this includes a cart, the best way to play Pebble is with a caddie, which adds about $70. Thus a guaranteed round of golf at Pebble is $665 not including tax and service charges. But it is worth every penny! Not only is the course an exalting experience, but also The Lodge is a great place to stay with a commanding view of the golf course, Carmel Bay, and the blue Pacific. Evenings are usually cool, and so the dry wood in the fireplace is easily lighted into a comfortable blaze. Rooms and tee times are booked 18 months in advance, by groups up to five years in advance.

The only other way to arrange to play Pebble is to call 24 hours in advance or just show up at the first tee and hope for a cancellation. The cost for non-hotel guests is $295 plus $25 for a cart. Thanks to Paul Spengler, VP of golf, and R.J. Harper, director of golf, I was granted the courtesy of the course.

It was mostly cloudy and 55 degrees when I teed off as a happy dew-sweeper. As if on cue, on the beautifully situated par-3 seventh tee the sun came out for the rest of the day. There are so many panoramic views at Pebble, and they begin there as you look across the bay to the seventeenth and eighteenth holes, the Lodge, and beyond down the shoreline. You could end your round right there and just soak up this ambience.

Pebble has the smallest greens of any course in the Top 100, so even a good player is going to miss a few of them. A new and more difficult element has been introduced at Pebble. Long, thick rough is growing just off the putting surface, which makes chipping a guessing game. Compounding the challenge is the fact that most bunkers are set back from greens so that the long rough grass is between the bunker and the green. Thus your bunker shot must carry all the way to the green or your ball will come to a quick halt in the long grass. I have no quarrel with this added difficulty, but it must exasperate the already excruciating slow pace of play. Mercifully,  in first position we played in 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Walking to the fifth tee I was able to inspect the property that Pebble had just purchased to build what could be a spectacular new par-3 fifth hole. On the property there was a dilapidated Daniel-Boone-looking cabin. For $5 million this had to be the ultimate “knockdown” structure.

One of my all-time golf heroes was a hacker when it came to playing the game. However, Samuel Morse was personally responsible for creating Pebble, Cypress Point, the Monterey Peninsula Country Club, and Spyglass Hill. I was told on this trip that a video tape of this work had been made, and I purchased it in the Pebble pro shop.

Following lunch at Pebble, Dan and I went less than two miles along the rugged coastline of the 17 Mile Drive to Cypress Point (rated 2, designed by Mackenzie 1928)(first played November 1977 and last played June 1992/total 4 rounds) where we met host Ken Schley (1988). In the blink of an eye we had gone from the hurly-burly of Pebble to an ultra-private and almost deserted club. It was as if you had been transported to a different planet — no tourists, no concrete cart paths, almost no real estate development, and almost no golfers. The small parking lot, the modest clubhouse, and the lack of activity encourage total relaxation because of the calm and understated atmosphere at Cypress. Amazingly, there is no guard nor even a gate at the entrance. Actually there is no visible entrance, just a simple short turn from 17 Mile Drive into the parking lot. The general public could easily do the same, but this does not happen; the “Private Property – No Trespassing” sign is enough to keep tourists at bay.

On this early afternoon Ken, Dan, and I were on the first tee with caddies in gorgeous weather — sunny, 65 degrees, light breeze. Cypress is one of the most beautiful courses in the world, and we had it all to ourselves. After one of the most relaxing rounds of the trip Ken treated us to one last thrill. We changed into coats and ties, entered the main part of the clubhouse, and wandered out to the patio. There we could not believe what we were experiencing — high above the sixteenth through eighteenth holes with a panoramic view out to the blue Pacific. In the late-afternoon setting sun, the ambience was overpowering — on three sides were gnarled Monterey cypress trees, green golf holes, wild grasses, rocky cliffs, a sparkling ocean, a member walking his dog, deer grazing near the fairways, hawks soaring and swooping — and we tried to absorb it all. This is one of the most glorious golf settings in the entire world and is the perfect way to cap a wonderful day. How lucky can a guy be? That day, in beautiful weather, I had the good fortune to play Pebble early in the morning and then stroll around Cypress in the afternoon. Doubleheaders do not come any better than that, although later in the trip came  a close second!

Dan and I had a productive dinner at La Playa. We discussed the two courses seen during the day and made revisions in the rough drafts. We also went through the itinerary to determine which part of my companion’s reservations would be canceled by Dan and which would be handled by PerryGolf. The bad news was that 75 days of hotel and golf course reservations had to be terminated or modified in an efficient and thorough manner. The good news was that Dan could now play some of the courses if his schedule permitted. We then discussed Dan’s meeting me in Ireland. Finally, I was able to give Dan all the course material I had accumulated since leaving Atlanta. This lightened the suitcase load somewhat.

Day 25  Play Spyglass Hill                                        Drive Monterey Peninsula/San Francisco

We were up at 5 am, but Dan had to leave for Portland. Again I had the first tee time of the day, 6:30 am. Spyglass (rated 93, designed by R.T. Jones 1966)(first played May 1975 and last played June 1992/total 4 rounds) is part of the Pebble Beach Company and thus a course for its resort guests as well as a high-end daily-fee course. I was paired with two young bucks (probably in their late 20’s). They wanted to play from the back tees, so, to be sociable, I did likewise. As it turned out none of us had any business playing from the tips on this extremely difficult course. The only difference between us was that I knew I was not able to handle the challenge, and they did not have a clue that their games were totally inadequate for anything over 6,500 yards.

They took the only available caddie (Donnie), so I slung my bag on my shoulder, and we were off in 50 degrees, shrouded in fog, with a strong breeze. We were real dew-sweepers. The fog was gone and the sun  appeared by the time we reached the tenth tee.

On the second fairway the caddie said he would club me and read my putts for a $30 fee. I thanked him by saying that my score was not important and I would manage by myself. For the next few holes I had a pleasant conversation with the two players and the caddie. Then on the seventh hole my tee shot just dribbled into the thick wet rough where the caddie happened to be standing. His players hit their shots to the other side of the fairway, so the caddie and players went to their balls. I could not find my ball and after a few minutes dropped a substitute. During this whole time no one made the slightest effort to help locate my ball.

On the next tee the caddie started a conversation with me as if nothing had happened. Then on the thirteenth hole the same thing occurred. After they made absolutely no effort to help locate my ball just off the fairway, I waved them on and enjoyably played the rest of the round by myself.

After golf I drove 125 miles north to San Francisco and the residence of June and Jim McCarthy (1993) in the Pacific Heights section near downtown. Their condominium was sumptuous, and I felt as if I were at the Ritz. I was able to do laundry, and then we had dinner.

A few months before Jim had asked if there was anyone I would like him to invite for dinner. This gave me the opportunity finally to meet Gerry Heffernan. In 1991 I had run into Gerry’s name in England. He had played several hundred courses in the British Isles, so I wrote him and we struck up a friendship through the mail and over the phone. Gerry is a Canadian and played on the Stanley Cup championship Montreal teams in the 1940’s. He is a lovely man, and the four of us had a marvelous evening at the McCarthys.

Day 26  Play Olympic (Lake Course)                                                      Play San Francisco GC

At 6:30 am I drove over to the Olympic Club (rated 30, designed by Whiting 1927)(first played May 1975 and again June 1993/total 2 rounds) where, at 7:15 am, I was met by host Steve Katz (1992), Roeg Cushing (1994), and the club historian Jim Innis (1992). About 10 balls were hit on the large range. These would be the last practice balls struck until Day 72. The routine after Day 26 was hopping out of a car, stretching for no more than one minute, taking a couple of  practice swings, and then praying. All my hosts thought they were doing me a favor by awarding me the honor of hitting first. So I prayed just to just make any sort of decent contact in front of an expectant audience of anywhere from one to seven players.

Olympic Club, San Francisco, California

Day 26’s scheduling took some maneuvering. I wanted to play a doubleheader to leave the next day open. The two courses are so close together that playing both in one day is easy. However, it was ladies’ day in the morning at San Francisco, and Olympic had no guest play on the Lake Course for the whole day because of an afternoon Senior Tournament. Olympic has a very large membership with tee times in demand. Thus it took an “act of God” for me to play the Lake Course that day. The head professional Jim Lucius and the general manager Paul Kennedy were involved in this special dispensation.

On the first tee with caddies it was in the mid 60’s, cloudy, slightly overcast, and no wind. We  finished with the sun out and a temperature of 70 degrees. While we were on the front nine Gerry Heffernan came out to walk a few holes with us and to give me a tie. Gerry is the epitome of the type of person I have met through writing the “O.” He has had a substantial professional career, knows and loves golf, is articulate about his views on golf, and, most important, is kind, considerate, and a great guy.

Following lunch in the newly reconstructed and redecorated massive Olympic clubhouse, Roeg led me out the Olympic back gate, and within five minutes I was at the nearby San Francisco Golf Club (SFGC)(rated 24, designed by Tillinghast 1918)(first played May 1976 and again June 1992/total 2 rounds). There I found playing partners Jim McCarthy and Sandy Tatum. We were on the first tee with caddies in glorious sun, light breeze, and 70 degrees. This high-prestige, low-key club has no starting times and few players, so we had the course to ourselves.

When Jim told me the night before that our playing companion was going to be Sandy I could hardly sleep. Representing Stanford in 1942, Sandy won the NCAA golf title. After becoming a successful San Francisco lawyer, he was president of the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) in 1978 and 1979. Sandy is still heavily involved with many important aspects of golf and is acknowledged to be one of the most respected, knowledgeable, and articulate men in the entire world of golf. (Later in the trip someone appropriately categorized Sandy as a Victorian gentleman). During the round I asked him so many questions I got a headache! Sandy is a serious golfer, and I am sure he was distracted by my machine-gun burst of questions, but I was not going to let this priceless opportunity slip by.

Sandy was terrific. He answered every one of my questions about SFGC, Olympic (he was a member there for many years), Cypress Point (member for many years), Pebble, and Samuel Morse. Sandy actually had  played a round of golf with Morse. I had a hard time keeping up with asking questions, scribbling notes like mad, hitting shots, and absorbing the course.

What amazes me about Tillinghast is that San Francisco was really his first course of note, and it is the course where he did his best bunker design. On this part of the U.S. trip the best bunkering I saw was here along with Riviera and Los Angeles CC.

Following refreshments in the aged and comfortable clubhouse, Jim and I returned to his residence, and then Jim and June went out to a party. I went down the street for dinner but had such a bad sinus headache that I could barely finish the soup. (I felt as if I were going to be like the guy who collapsed face down in his soup.)  I wobbled back to the condominium and collapsed into the cozy bed for a long night’s sleep. This was the most exhausted I would be on the entire trip, and it might have been partly due to the fact that my body knew no golf was planned for the next two days.

Day 27              Fly San Francisco/Tokyo

Day 27 had been scheduled as an open day in case something should go wrong during the early part of the trip and I would be forced to backtrack because of inability to play one of the scheduled courses. I had created a few such buffer days to handle emergencies. However, the next day’s travel to reach the desired destination was quite hectic. Being able to use the buffer day for such travel was a great luxury.

Because the trip had gone so smoothly through San Francisco, I was able to call PerryGolf and have them rebook me to Tokyo a day early. In our correspondence Jim had confidently stated that “…it almost never rains on the West Coast in late May.” Well we woke up to heavy rain the morning of Day 27. The good news was that no golf was scheduled that day. After re-packing I said goodbye to the McCarthys and their comfortable residence. At 11:20 am I was in the business class section of United Airlines on my way over the Pacific Ocean to Japan.

Day 28              Arrive Tokyo

After 10 hours and 30 minutes of flying time covering 5,159 miles and crossing the international dateline the plane touched down at Narita Airport (2:40 pm local time; watches had to be set ahead eleven hours). The weather was 70 degrees, with very dark skies, heavy rain, and winds of 30 mph. After passport control, luggage retrieval, and customs I maneuvered the fully loaded luggage cart down one level on an elevator to the Japan Railroad terminal entrance. A barrier kept the cart from going any further. I did not realize it at the time, but I would have desperate need for this type of cart several times over the next 15 hours and none would be available. The alternative was to take a cab to downtown Tokyo, but the cost of $150 to $200 seemed prohibitive.  However, what followed has convinced me I definitely would take a cab the next time.

The one-hour 64-mile Narita Express train brought me to the lowest level of the large and complicated Tokyo Central Station. The only way to move my luggage was on two long, steep escalators up to the ground-floor exit. Once away from airports the Japanese have no system for moving luggage. No porters or carts were available anywhere, and I was  forced to wrestle with three heavy pieces of bulky luggage, plus a light hanging bag, on an escalator. The only saving grace was that the station was almost empty because it was late Saturday afternoon. Although the Yaesu Fujiya Hotel was only three blocks away I had to take a taxi because of exhaustion and the steady rain. My single room was about one-third the size of the Ritz-type accommodations at the McCarthys’.

A mediocre dinner at the hotel was followed by a phone call from Mr. Tatsuo Kato (1988), reception manager of the Kawana Hotel, saying he had received a fax from PerryGolf announcing my earlier arrival. Happily, Mr. Kato said he would meet me at the Atami station the next day. My last remark to him was a request to please turn off the precipitation; at that moment showers were so heavy that I could barely see out the window. The rain was so strong that there was a warning of possible flash flooding and even landslides.

Day 29            Train Tokyo/Atami/Ito       Driver to Kawana Hotel             Play Kawana Hotel (Fuji)

The ideal schedule for Japan would have been to play in Tokyo (Kasumigaseki) first, go to Kawana, and then to Kobe. However, as previously stated, I had felt that for safety’s sake, an open day should be placed at the end of the first leg of the U.S. schedule.

Thus the original schedule called for the first day of golf in Japan to be on a Monday. My number one contact in Japan, Miki Fujioka (1993), informed me early in the planning process that all courses in Japan are closed on Mondays except at the Kawana Hotel. Thus, a less- than-ideal travel schedule was constructed through Miki’s friend, Mr. Yoshinobu Ikeda of Universal Express. Mr. Ikeda did a lot of work on train tickets (for a reserved seat you buy a basic ticket and also an “express supplement”), hotel reservations, and communications that made the first part of the trip in Japan go smoothly. Thus I recommend that anyone who has travel needs in Japan contact Mr. Ikeda at  011-81-3-5644-3600 (fax-3611) for efficient and courteous service.

From the hotel I took a taxi three blocks to the Tokyo Central Station and then hauled my luggage through the building and up two levels of stairs. (Why the escalator went down and not up in this area was a mystery.) At 9:10 am the Kodama Super Express train took one hour to get to Atami, where I was so grateful to be greeted again by the ever faithful Mr. Kato and one of his young assistants. We hauled the luggage down and then up several stairs leading to the local Ito train. I could only imagine how much effort it would have taken if Mr. Kato had not been there and I had to perform this maneuver on my own. At Ito a Kawana car took us to the hotel with its lovely and peaceful surroundings. Like magic my hectic world was transformed into paradise.

Kawana is a stately luxury hotel located on the east coast of the Izu Peninsula and in terms of beauty is on a par with Pebble Beach and The Lodge. The hotel and two golf courses (Fuji course rated 50, designed by Alison 1936)(first played October 1988 and again July 1993/total 3 rounds) are perched on the side of a mountain with sharp cliffs right at the edge of the blue Pacific Ocean. In another direction Mt. Fuji can be seen in the distance. From the hotel there are striking views of magnificent old trees and then the sea. The hotel caters primarily to a Japanese clientele but is fully able to provide all Western-style amenities.

After lunch with Mr. Kato I was a single player at 1:15 pm on the first tee with the traditional Japanese lady caddie. It hardly needs saying that the weather was perfect — bright sun, no clouds, light breeze, 70 degrees. I told Mr. Kato he could take full credit for this glorious situation, but he insisted that I had brought the weather with me. The round started off well; I made a birdie on the first hole, which greatly impressed the non-English-speaking caddie. I finished in splendid early-evening shadows and enjoyed a delightful dinner  in the main dining room with Mr.Kato.

Day 30  Play Kawana (Fuji Course)                               Train Ito/Tokyo(Kawagoe)

Partly because farmers are so strong politically in Japan but also because the Japanese like to rise early, day-light saving time is not practiced there and so the sun rises at 4:30 am and sets at 6:45 pm during the summer. (After WW II the U.S. Army tried daylight saving time, but it did not work.) Having been in Japan for less than three days, I was not fully over jet lag and thus got up at 4 am. As I typed up my notes and thoughts from the previous day I was looking out of my window down to the extraordinary landscaped grounds and out to the ocean with the glistening sun causing almost a blinding reflection off the water and making the computer screen difficult to read. There was no noise except birds chirping, and the feeling was of total serenity. Other similar experiences that come to mind are the clubhouse patio at Cypress Point and the second-floor clubhouse balcony at Augusta National.

At 7:30 am I was again on the first tee as a single player. There was a small crowd gathered around the tee, and when I fortunately struck one down the middle I received a round of polite applause. This morning was a good example of why I enjoy playing by myself. The course and its surroundings are so beautiful that it is hard to concentrate on the golf. It is one of the loveliest settings in golf. The course blends so agreeably that a soft feeling is produced in a quiet atmosphere. Some of the holes border cliff tops 100 feet or more above crashing surf. Mt. Fuji is visible 80 miles in the distance along with Ito Bay and the ocean island called Oshima with its active volcano. I could reflect on having been on one side of the Pacific Ocean less than one week before and now being on the other side in another magnificent spot.

After lunch with Mr. Kato I said goodbye to him and the managing director Takashi Asaka. I certainly did not want to leave and definitely wish to return. In the early afternoon I retraced my steps from the previous day except for ending up in a suburb of Tokyo and the Kawagoe Prince Hotel, which was back to reality with a miniature single room. As forecasted, light rain began to fall in the late afternoon. Then heavy thundershowers and lightning caused an almost total electricity failure in the hotel and the surrounding area.  Dinner at the hotel was passable.

Sleep that night was a story out of hell. Walls in many Japanese hotels are paper thin, and I am a light sleeper with rabbit ears. About one in the morning I was shot awake by a brief ear-piercing scream. For the next two hours this scream was repeated about every five minutes. After the first 15 minutes I decided to call the front desk but first had to determine which side of my room the noise was coming from. After each scream there would be brief audible sounds from a gruff male voice and then momentary whining from a female voice. Finally I was fairly confident about where the disturbance was originating and called the front desk. About 10 minutes later I heard the phone ring in the next room and a short, angry conversation take place. My complaint went unheeded;  the same sounds were repeated over and over again. I contemplated taking the matter into my own hands but was too timid to find out what type of reaction might greet me if I knocked on the door. Eventually quiet was restored, and I did  get some sleep.


About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+