As I‚??ve mentioned in my last couple of posts, this week for me has more than anything been about rekindling old ties. ¬†And so it‚??s only fitting that today‚??s round would be at Cluny Clays (or Royal Cluny as it‚??s known to those aware of its pedigree), which is owned by good friends of my parents, Drew & Helen Shedden. ¬†Drew and his brother Robbie have a farm on the outskirts of Kirkcaldy, and some years ago diversified the land, out of which came Cluny Clays. ¬†Out there you can shoot clay pigeons, air rifles, bow and arrows and everything under the sun. ¬†And golf, of course.
We ran into Drew last night at a dinner party ‚?? he hasn‚??t changed a bit. ¬†Still full of cheeky banter and never short of a word. ¬†He was more than happy for us to have a hit at Royal Cluny in the morning, which suited us perfectly given it‚??s only 9 holes and we were keen to get out to The Open. ¬†Stars aligned, thank you very much.
The die hard locals were scheduled to play their weekly medal from mid-morning onwards, but heavy morning rain seemed to have scared most of them away. ¬†By the time we arrived the sun was out the clouds having been puffed away by a pretty howling wind. ¬†Drew‚??s son Andrew met us at reception. ¬†He‚??s about a foot taller than last time I saw him, and is thinking of using his Accounting and Finance degree from Glasgow to get a job with one of the big banks in New York. ¬†¬†I told him that wasn‚??t a bad idea; that New York is just an awesome place to be, full of great people and buzzing with atmosphere. ¬†You boys over there: if you‚??re reading this, and looking for a bright young spark to help you out, drop me a line and we‚??ll get Andrew over in a flash!
I‚??m not sure whether it was General Drew that designed the course, but whoever it was did a smashing job. ¬†It‚??s carved through rolling farm land and has plenty of eye catching vistas to distract the vacant golfer. ¬†There are burns and the odd pond; several old walls; and some bone chillingly thick rough to keep ¬†you on your toes. ¬†Quirky seems like a flippant description, but it‚??s maybe as close as I can get. ¬†
In strong winds it‚??s no walk in the park let me tell you. ¬†When it‚??s gusting like it was, and there are a good few blind tee shots, you‚??ve really got to trust your swing. ¬†Or close your eyes and hope for the best. ¬†(I opted for the latter, having lost all trust in my swing over the past couple of days ‚?? I think I left it in Iceland!). ¬†Thankfully none of the golden oldies were brave enough to be out ahead of us, so we more or less had the place to ourselves. ¬†We played quick smart in just over an hour ‚?? although it felt like we‚??d played 18, given the elements and the undulations...
Mike continued his good run and carded 1 under par, a very commendable display of golf indeed. ¬†I made up the numbers! ¬†
Drew very kindly left an open tab for us to grab a quick toasted sandwich in the caf√© ‚?? which was humming ‚?? on our way out. ¬†The light is on and burning bright at Royal Cluny: a ‚??must do‚?Ě if you‚??re in the area and looking for a bit of fun and good old fashioned Scottish hospitality. ¬†On most days you‚??d probably catch Herr Shedden too, whom you‚??ll know when you see (or hear). ¬†Introduce yourself and he might even stand you a free toastie after you finish!
After the golf we shot back into Kirkcaldy to pick up a mate from the train station, who‚??d just come through from Edinburgh. ¬†Tim Borren‚??s just come out from NZ to Scotland to live for a bit. ¬†He landed like us on Tuesday, with the same plan in mind: get to The Open. ¬†He‚??s a good golfer in his own right, and hails from Paraparaumu Beach where he plays his golf (like me). ¬†In fact it was with Tim and his brother (and Leo, the General Manager) that we played Pram, The Spiritual Home of NZ Golf, back on Day 34. ¬†That was one of the fondest memories we have of our New Zealand leg, the night when we walked back out onto the links after dinner with 8 irons in hand and knocked it round under twilight. ¬†Anyway we took Tim out to St. Andrews with us and had a good session of golf watching. ¬†And all was well.
After a long day we put our heads to rest on a mattress at Marc & Jamie‚??s place. ¬†Marc‚??s a greenkeeper on The Old Course and returned home recently from New Zealand, where he worked up at Kauri Cliffs over the summer. ¬†He contacted us out of the blue some time ago and offered us a bed if we needed one in St. Andrews. ¬†When we accepted we had no idea it was a 7 iron away from the 18th green, or that we could park our car in his driveway ‚?? dream result! ¬†He and his girlfriend Jamie are awesome people ‚?? similar in age to us, and very much on our wavelength ‚?? so we‚??ve enjoyed getting to know them and are grateful of their hospitality. ¬†Given they loved New Zealand hopefully we‚??ll be seeing them out there in the next few years and will be able to return the favour. ¬†What goes around comes around.
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