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So I struck with my seven-iron. Not against Voy; against all hope of hitting the green.
"Nice shot," Pat said. "I hope you find it."
We did find the ball, 20 yards from my hat. From long grass, I chipped to within 20 feet of the burrow, the ball rolling no more than a club's length on landing.
I was enthralled with the daisies, hundreds of tiny white blossoms no taller than my putter blade. The ground was rough and bumpy, and my first putt—hammered with the force of a croquet stroke—ripped through the flowers, changed direction twice and bounced over the hole before stopping abruptly. Pat was laughing again as I tapped in for a five.
All this time, the mower buzzed behind us like some lazy spring bug. Taking the ball from the hole, I looked back.
The daisies had retreated and a golf green had emerged, not 30 yards from where we had teed off. The putting area was nestled charmingly against some grassy dunes. A deep sand bunker yawned behind. A red flag lolled atop a pin planted firmly in the freshly mowed turf.
The captain of the Askernish Golf Club was Peter Steedman, an accountant. I found him in his office at Uist Builders [Construction] Limited, two miles north of Askernish. A professorial man with wispy white hair and a carefully knotted tie, Steedman had the sad air of a golfer in exile. He sat behind his desk and regarded me with disbelief. Outsiders rarely came asking about the golf course.
"Enthusiasm for golf here is not as it is on the mainland," he said, choosing his words carefully. "Fishing is the main attraction. We get help from local hotels, but basically it's a do-it-yourself course."
Pressed for details, he obliged. The membership numbered about 35. The annual fee was £30 male, £20 female and £5 junior. Hotel guests played for free.