Caddying

When I started writing this blog a few weeks back, I Googled “Scottish golf blogs” to see what other ones were out there.

One that I came across was really cool, a guy called Alan McPherson was writing about his quest to play all the golf courses in Scotland (including wee par 3 course and short ones without even as many as nine holes). It is well worth a look, I would thoroughly recommend it:

http://scottishgolfcourses-allofthem.blogspot.co.uk/

(He’s currently at number 660! I had no idea there were so many!)

With over 100,000 page views, it was obviously a popular site. I decided to get in touch with him to discuss possibly sharing content between our two sites and for any tips he had regarding getting my blog “out there”.

We exchanged a few emails and Alan even extended an invitation to go and play at his home course sometime!

One comment that Alan made was about the possibility of doing some caddying as casual work until I found my next “proper” job. He mentioned that he had been doing it for a few years in the North Berwick area and this was a good time of the year to make enquiries, before the season got going in earnest.

That got me thinking – where I am currently based is within easy driving distance of two Open courses: Turnberry and Royal Troon and there are plenty of other fairly prestigious courses in the area as well, perhaps most notably Prestwick (“the birthplace of the Open“).

So, I sent a few emails around about half a dozen clubs in the vicinity and was met with a mixed response. Some came back with a flat “sorry, no work going”, others advised me to get back in touch closer to the visitor season starting in late April/ early May.

One club was more receptive than the others. The manager at Western Gailes Golf Club in Irvine replied to my email to ask for a copy of my CV to pass on to the caddymaster. I duly did as requested and explained briefly about my situation – that I was a keen amateur golfer looking for a bit of casual employment until I get a new full time job.

Well, this morning I did indeed get a call from the caddymaster at Western Gailes telling me that he would be keen for me to come over at the end of April to get started! I told Hamish that I was a keen golfer and he explained that “caddying is very different to playing golf”. But, he added, he would keep me right!

Hamish told me he would call me again after April 20th to arrange for me to get started.

So, while it most definitely is not my new career direction, a spot of gainful employment will be most welcomed. The fact that it is walking about a golf course, talking about golf can only be an added bonus!

I am holding some hopes that it may even result in a round or two on the course. It sounds awesome:

“The reputation of Western Gailes as one of the game’s finest and more exacting courses has spread worldwide as evidenced by its numerous visitors from around the world including golfing legends from this and the last century.  The great Harry Vardon arrived at Western Gailes in June 1903 celebrating his fourth Open victory.  In 1923 its attractions were being lauded by the then US Open Champion Gene Sarazen who played the course with three other outstanding professionals.  Greats from the second half of the 20th century such as Gary Player, Tom Watson and Tony Jacklin have also visited, while from the modern game Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson have all tested their mettle over this classic links course. 

The course is situated between the railway and the sea, so typical of the classic Ayshire links courses, with both being very much in play for the errant golfer.  It is also special amongst seaside courses that are no more than two holes wide, in having its clubhouse in a more or less central position leaving seven holes to the north and eleven to the south.

The course is never other than an excellent test of true links golf.  Any change in the strength or direction of the wind, that usually varies between south-westerly and north-westerly off the adjacent Firth of Clyde, provides new challenges that are compounded by the undulating terrain and finely contoured greens cleverly located and set in the folds of the surrounding sand dunes. Together with the line of dunes running down the coastal stretch from the 5th to the 13th holes, the out of bounds wall from the 14th onwards, the plentiful supply of pot bunkers plus the meandering burns, all combine to present variety and a memorable challenge.”

And of course, I do hope it will give me material for the blog! Hamish told me that he had been caddying for over thirty years and had “worked with all the big names”… Watch this space!

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