This week at the 2018 Open Championship, the best
golfers in the world will have to make an important decision on the 6th tee at Carnoustie; play it safe up the right side, or aim for the narrow part of the fairway known as Hogan's Alley.
For over one hundred years, golfers have stared down the 6th at Carnoustie and fought nerves and uncertainty. Consider a 578 yard par 5 that plays predominantly into the wind, several bunkers protecting the middle of a fairway and out of bounds up the entire left side. Yikes! Formally known as "Long", number six at Carnoustie was renamed Hogan's Alley in 2003 to honour Hogan's victory at the Open in 1953. Arguably the greatest ball striker the game has ever seen, Hogan attacked the par 5 every round of the 1953 Open Championship with relentless aggression. He drove his ball to the tight stretch of fairway between the out of bounds left and the bunkers in the middle of the landing area, giving him the best possible angle into the green.
* If you haven't read Part 1 of this blog click HERE, then come back and read Part 2.
The next morning, TJ and I were up bright and early. We bid adieu to our flat and made way to the Dublin airport for our short flight to Edinburgh. Landing in Edinburgh, we picked up our rental vehicle and headed to East Lothian to meet up with some friends and for TJ to show me some of the great courses and hotels we use for our groups. After a few hours of touring around, we made a quick lunch stop back in Edinburgh before making our way to our final destination for the next few days, St Andrews. To be honest I was exhausted the whole drive up to St Andrews, I even caught myself nodding off for a few minutes, not the best co-pilot for TJ! Once I noticed we were about 20 minutes out of St Andrews, it’s like I caught my second wind. How could I not be excited?
Almost all golf enthusiasts and fanatics have the same dream, to at some point make their way over to Ireland and Scotland and play the game in the purest way, on the sea-side links courses. I had always imagined the day when I would make my way overseas to play links golf and knew it would happen some day, I just didn’t know when. Since starting to work for Golf Away Tours, sending people on their dream golf trips around the world, my fantasy of one day going to Scotland and Ireland has only grown. Finally, a few weeks ago, those dreams became a reality and I made my first trip overseas where I would get to experience links golf and see what I had only seen through my computer or TV screen.
After reading George Peper’s book Two Years in St Andrews, I decided this year to extend my annual trip to Scotland to three weeks. I would spend a little more time exploring and getting to know the town better for my clients and to cure some of my fascination with this historic place.
I wasn’t lucky enough to have as much time as Mr. Peper, so I title this article Two Weeks in St Andrews. Trust me, I could have easily spent two years there, and I look forward to returning in 2018 for more.