Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Gauntlet

            What became known as “The Gauntlet”, was a golf trip taken by myself and one of my good golfing friends, Matt “The Collector” Birchall. The idea for the trip started during a round on the Old Course when I asked Matt if he’d join me for a round or two over Spring Break. The initial plan was to possibly take a trip to Carnoustie or even Turnberry for a single round. After weeks of phone calls, emails, and time spent planning, it grew. We ended up staring at an itinerary including 13 rounds of golf in 8 days without repeating a course. This in itself isn’t unheard of, but we didn’t have a car or a large budget, and the courses were spread hundreds of miles apart around Scotland.
            The Gauntlet included rounds at Turnberry, Prestwick, Brunston Castle, Dundonald, Carnoustie, North Berwick, Jubilee, Old Course, Muirfield, Gleneagles (King’s and Centenary), Royal Aberdeen, and Cruden Bay. We played 6 of the Top 100 Courses in the World during the tour. We learned countless things about travelling, golfing, and golf history in the process. We encountered interesting people and ended up playing and walking to the point of exhaustion. The act of playing that much golf isn’t incredible, but after every round we would call a taxi, walk to the next course if under a few miles, or walk to the nearest train/bus station. This exhausting marathon of post-round travel drained us, but didn’t deflate our extreme love for golf and great golf courses. After reading Tom Coyne’s book, A Course Called Ireland, in which he walks thousands of miles playing golf in Ireland, our weak little trip seems like nothing. That being said, we have 3 more years to chase that dream!
The 252nd and final hole of the Gauntlet at Royal Aberdeen

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