Monday, December 8, 2014

Stories and Photos: Happy Holiday

Playing Out-of-the-Way Golf

We’re not afraid to play out-of-the-way golf on small village courses not as manicured as the famous or larger tracks.  We’ve had to shoo the sheep and rabbits off the greens at Leadhills GC in the Scottish Borders. We’ve played at Achill Island in Ireland where the fairways were defined by lanes of white rocks (on the fairway you could move your ball from sheep droppings, but off the fairway you play the ball as it lay). And we played a round at Helmsdale in the far north of Scotland where you pay for golf at the neighbor’s house.  With these experiences behind us we didn’t even consider not booking golf at Orkney GC on the main Orkney island.  We booked ahead and were given courtesy of the course (free golf).
Isle of Skye GC

We showed up about a half hour early for our round, but nobody was about.  There was one five-some of men out on the course and one greenskeeper driving around on a mower.  The changing rooms were open, but the lounge and office were locked.  The wind was sharp (20-40 miles per hour) and rain was threatening.  We were just about ready to leave when a local showed up to play.  We chatted with him for a while and found out that at that time of day (10AM) nobody would be in the office.  
Even though the course looked rather basic I decided to have a go and Anne decided to walk.  Taking five clubs and other non-essentials out of my bag to lighten it for carrying (since the club had no trolleys to rent), I got ready to carry.  The course was actually more interesting than it seemed at first.  It was the wind that really made Orkney GC entertaining golf.  Without the wind the course would be a good practice track, but in the gusting wind it’s a nice challenge.
It wasn’t our usually reception at a course where we book ahead to write, but I’m glad I played--and it only rained on one hole.  Out-of-the-way golf can be fun golf. 

Unbelievable Accident 

In our travels we’ve seen several road accidents or at least the aftermath of the accidents.  In Ireland we were almost late for a tee time at the Dooks GC near Killarney when we came upon a motorcycle accident (learned later that the cyclist had died) and in the North Berwick area of Scotland (East Lothians) we had to wait as they cleared the debris from a car/motorcycle accident (non-fatal).  But in the spring of 2013 we witnessed our first motor accident right in front of us.  As we were returning to our Crieff B&B home after golf we got stopped in a traffic snarl going through the shopping area of the village.  Parked cars on the road and a construction project had reduced the main road to just one lane.  The path was very tight for a large blue double-deck bus.  

As the driver inched his way through the constriction a parked car pulled out of its parking spot straight into the middle of the big blue double-deck bus.  How the driver (or anyone) could miss seeing the big blue double-deck bus right beside her was beyond belief.  The driver of the car was a woman (probably early thirties).  The accident put a large dent in the bus and took off a good portion of the car’s left front.  The accident also completely block all traffic both ways.  We watched the maneuver as if in slow motion directly in front of us.  It took about fifteen minutes to get traffic (one-way) flowing again.  We figured we didn’t need to register as witnesses to the accident, after all the bus was full of witnesses who watched in shock as the lady rammed the bus. 


     We can tell you much about our year through our pictures.
We did a lot of flying this year: twice to Scotland, twice to San Diego, and to Las Vegas and Death Valley.

In our Scottish home in Crieff, Merlindale, I was treated to a great birthday dinner of Paella.

Anne learned to be the egg man, goo goo g'joob!

We got some culture at the Scottish National Museum.

Did a little hiking in the Black Cuillins of the Isle of Skye.

Took photos where ever we could, including Sango Sands Beach in the northwest corner of Scotland.

We played plenty of golf--39 rounds in Scotland, several in Canada, some in Las Vegas, even in Death Valley, and of course, at our home course Arrowhead.

Anne Louise got a second visit to Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Besides some great highs of the year, we also had some lows.

But altogether it was a GREAT year.  We stayed healthy and happy.  Celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary.  And we wish you all the best for 2015!