Whilst JP was off performing his duties as an usher and celebrating the wedding of his old mate Hamish to his bride Gillian, Ed and I were chilling out in Burntisland and guarding the homestead of Dunerne ‚?? Hamish' family digs.¬† Waking up and looking out the window across the Firth of Forth visibility was limited.¬† Panic overcame me (briefly) as I‚??d seen the delays simultaneously playing out across the pond at Whistling Straits for the PGA Championship.¬† But as the day progressed and we packed our belongings the fog burnt off and we were treated to possibly the finest day yet of the Scottish summer. ¬†Public had flocked to the water below and folk were out sunbathing left right and centre.¬† It was 25 degrees Celsius.
So Bouden and I went sight seeing on the way to pick up the Patton clan from the pleasant wee village of Bridge of Allan where the after match of the wedding was taking place.¬† On the way we visited the William Wallace monument [2 below] and took in some views across the ‚??bonnie‚?? Scottish countryside out across Stirling, Bridge of Allan and right out across the country to Loch Lomond in the distance.
At Bridge of Allan we picked up Jamie and Connor and crammed in to the wee mercedes aka the tank en route to Gleneagles for take two ‚?? the Queens course.¬† Connor took the front seat as it‚??s just not practical any other way ‚?? monster of a man.
At Gleneagles we FINALLY met the famous Mr Graeme Pook who had dug us out of trouble on a couple of occasions during our Scottish leg to date. A banterous chap from these parts who has plied his trade a golfing professional growing up in Sterling and then living in Gleneagles as he took on the European tour for some 6 years or so.¬† But now, as you may have read if paying any attention in prior blog posts, Mr Pook runs a golf touring company called Executive Golf & Leisure.¬† Pooky as we quickly knew him as is one of those guys who it‚??s bloody hard not to get on with.¬† Quality chap, great humour and is very much on the wave length of us two traveling golfers.¬† Knows his stuff as well ‚?? as he has helped golfing enthusiasts travel the globe playing some special tracks.
So the three of us set out at to tackle the Queens layout which is much more feminine the than the neighbouring Kings track.¬† At par 67 and measuring barely 6000 yards it is a different type of golf to the lengthy layout that beat us up yesterday. Needless to say after losing a swag of golf balls on the Kings (and subsequently being low on our collection) ¬†it was a case of ‚??keep the driver in the bag‚?? and knock it around with 2 iron keeping the ball in play.
[the par four 12th cracking hole to a blind green protected by bunkers / hills AND trees!!]
[looking back down the sole par five on the front nine - check out that conditioning]
Keeping it in play was the the least of our worries on the Queens as the defense of the course primarily lay around the greens and surrounds.¬† Holes like 3 and 9 had some gnarly greens with slopes (often away from you) that made a birdie a fine feat indeed. ¬†More than a few par threes also made life tough as more than a few of them required a 6 iron + off the tee. ¬†JP had the added bonus of having a caddy as younger bro Connor did a fine job carrying his sticks.¬† Reminded me of that caddy from Happy Gilmore at times as he peacefully wandered around the course looking a little worse for wear after a blinder at the wedding.¬† Wouldn‚??t dare say that to Connor though. He‚??s bigger than me ‚?? heard he had a good debut for his new rugby side Celkirk this weekend so hopefully we see him at higher honours at some stage soon.¬† Speaking of caddies ‚?? Ed ‚?? well he did not carry any bags - simply enjoyed the walk and asked the odd inquisitive question of the type that could be expected of a lawyer intrigued by a smart and affable man like Pooky who makes a living out of something as extraordinary as running golf tours.¬† Brilliant.
[the rolling hills in the background behind this drivable par four 15th which all of us birdied]
So as you can imagine the 5 of us lads had a fair bit of fun out on the course and in my instance it was helped by the skins match that happened to be falling in my favour.¬† Perhaps the quiet night in (as opposed to the other two) had something to do with it.¬† Also, I there were no excuses with the course ‚?? lush conditioning, greens as pure as they come and some sparkling local knowledge from Mr Pook. ¬†The kind of high standards that are associated with a place like Gleneagles. You're not going be disappointed by the simple things out here at this high end establishment. ¬†
[looking back down the par three 14th - one of three short holes on the back nine, and this one has a huge tier in the green. A cheeky 2 helped the fundraising efforts too]
On the last we learnt a trick shot - a first for puregolf2010.¬† Pooky said to us in his Scottish brogue, ‚??when it‚??s really windy boys, you need to lower your centre of gravity‚?? and with that his 5 foot 4 frame shrunk to merely 3 feet high as down on his knees he swing his driver with all his might 230 yards straight down the middle of the fairway. From his knees!!!¬†¬† We both tried thie trick ‚?? JP put his back out, and I had a gin shot. ¬†All class. ¬† Respect for our man Graeme.
We finished the last with three pars and crammed our gear into The Tank and nicked up to Graeme‚??s place on the hillside overlooking Gleneagles and Anstruther for a quick beer in his conservatory which enjoyed a magestic view across 60 miles of countryside. ¬†You can see why this area of Scotland attracts the rich and famous. It's pristine and best of all peaceful. And only a short trip from the main belt of population in Scotland between Edinburgh and Glasgow. ¬† Chatting in the conservatory we rang an old mutual friend - Brian Dorn from the Bay Hill Club in Florida and bantered about golf and his impending trip to Gleneagles. ¬†A fitting way to end a great day.¬† Thanks Graeme for helping us out with a couple of days of golf, thanks to Gleneagles for having us and congratulations Hamish on the wedding and the whanau for having both Ed and I to stay during this hectic time ¬†¬†Another great weekend completed although here golf was not always the top priority - but I guess that‚??s a good thing for a change!!!¬† Now off to Edinburgh to enjoy the festival and some golf down on the East Lothian coast.
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