Saturday, June 29, 2013

I've been I need to play there!!

Today we took a drive to St. Andrews.  It was about 1 1/2 hours north from Edinburgh.  The drive was really pretty...normal beautiful Scottish countryside...rolling hills and little villages.  We drove past Kirkcaldy (pronounced kir-caw-dy) but didn't stop.  We will stop there another day. 
This is the downtown of St. Andrews.  It is really a lovely town.  As we walked around the town it had a "college town" feel.  The University of St. Andrews is there and was very impressive.  I told Carolyn that "this would be a fun town to live in to attend school. 
This is the entrance to the ruins of the St. Andrews Castle.  It was originally build in the 12th century but was most active in the 15th century.  John Knox was active here.  For a period of time St. Andrews was considered the "religious capital" of Scotland.
This is inside the "courtyard" of the castle.  We walked through that arched entry to get inside the castle area.
The Castle sat right on the sea.  There was a cliff drop-off on the other side of this wall to the ocean.
We next went to the British Golf Museum...What else would you expect to see in St. Andrews?  This is the collection of clubs from the late 1800's.  We were given a guide book for the museum and it is fascinating to read.   The picture below is a collection of "Feather Balls".  The first reference to Feather Balls was in 1724.
The Feather Ball was made from three pieces of leather with the feathers stuffed through a small hole.  It was said that a good ball maker could make 3-4 balls in one day.  In the Thomas Mathieson poem of 1743, there was a description of the making of a feather ball.  "The feathers harden and the leather swells;
He crams and sweats, yet crams and urges more.
Till scarce the turgid globe contains it store."
A description from 1790 is rather less dramatic.  "The balls are made by stuffing a great quantity of feathers into a leathern case, by help of an iron rod, with a wooden handle, pressed against the breast".  The balls were boiled after they were finished...but there is controversy about the boiling of the leather - before or after being stuffed.  It was suggested that it took "a top hat of feathers" to fill the ball.  below is  a display of what may have been the process.  How far would the feather ball go you ask?  "A scientific trial was conducted and recorded in Glasgow in 1786 when a John Gibson hit five shots under the observation of two Glaswegian merchants, who proceeded to measure Gibson's shots 'in the most correct manner'.  According them, his longest shot was 201 yards, 1 foot and 11 inches while the shortest was 182 years 2 feet and 3 inches."
This is the Old Course Club House.  It almost seemed like we were walking on hallowed ground  :)    
Aye, it tis me...standing by the rail on the first hole of the Old Course.
The bridge leading to the green on the first hole of the Old Course.  The building in the background is the Old Course Hotel.
Me, Standing on the bridge...the Old Course Club House is in the background.  Between the tee and the green is a road and this bunkers on this hole.  What a great place.  I have played Pebble Beach...but now I must play St. Andrews - The Old Course.  This was the highlight of the day!!

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