SI Vault
Dan Jenkins
August 11, 1969
It is statute an ordinit that in na place of the realme be there usit...Golfe or uther sik unprofitabill sportis. —JAMES IV to Parliament in Edinburgh May 16, 1491
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August 11, 1969

A Personalized History Of Scottish Golf Or You'll Not Do That Here, Laddie

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"When does my hand stop tingling?" I said.

Turnberry has one hole that is more magnificent than all of the others. It is the 9th, 425 yards with a tee sitting back on an island of jagged rock. Water and rock border it on the left where a lighthouse marks the farthest point of the course from the hotel. Off to the right, beyond the plant life, is part of the Spitfire runway. Behind the green is broom and dabs of bracken, which cows won't eat.

One finds in Scotland, however, that if the botany doesn't confuse you, the scorekeeping will. I drove well at the 9th, which means safely onto the close-cropped fescue grass which dominates all Scottish fairways. I reached the small green with one of my rare unshanked four-irons, and I stole a putt of about 20 feet for a 3. Then the trouble began.

"Is this a par-4 hole?" I asked the caddie.

"No, Sir," he said. "It plays to a bogey-5."

"Then I made an eagle," I said.

"It ca'na be an eagle, Sir," he said.

"Well, what's par for the course?"

He said, "Bogey today is about 76."

"But level 4s is 72," I said. "Shouldn't that be what I would call par?"

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