Scotland 2011 is off to a tremendous start! After departing from Orlando on Saturday, the IMG Academy Leadbetter golf program group enjoyed a non-stop flight into Glasgow. Thankfully, there was no drama, everything was on time, and the plans that were put in place, were followed to a tee.
Upon arrival to the airport, the fun started though. Coach Shane Reiser, had never driven in the United Kingdom before, so he was relying heaving on Coach Andrew Oliphant for direction. Pulling away from the rental car agency proved the only real moments of anxiety, however, as Andrew is very familiar with the area. All Shane had to do, was follow....and try to get used to all the roundabouts. Everything is opposite, so you've really got to get your mind around how to drive in another country. I know Shane hasa lot more respect for the many families that visit us at the Academy and deal with driving the USA!
From there, we went on to St. Andrews and immediately went to the Old Course. The Old Course is closed on Sundays, it was really cool to see families enjoying a walk on the course. Being on site was surreal, we had all seen the course so many times in pictures and Open Championships. Lisa Unterganschnigg took charge of taking the pictures, she did an outstanding job! It was a lot of fun seeing the 17th and the depth of the Sands of Nakajima. We are all looking forward to playing the next day!
The girls began the tee times at the Old Course with a 7:20 Tee time. Everyone was up and ready to go on time. Standing on the first tee at St. Andrews will make anyone nervous, especially when you consider the tradition, the players that have hit there before you, and the crowd behind you watching! All four girls, Brittany, Lisa, Sara Savoie and Hally Leadbetter, striped it down the fairway. I know their caddies were all impressed and were looking forward to the round. The girls had a tremendous experience and proved up to the test. The Old Course is difficult to navigate your way around, so we all were looking to the caddies for help. There are so many lines that you have to take, that you put your trust in the caddies.
Next up was the tee time of Carlos Kim, Ignacio Corral and Shane. The second group also dealt with the nerves of the first tee, but everyone trusted their routines that they have refined at the Academy and hit great tee balls. The final group of the day consisted of Coach Andrew, Kenny Sujiento, Qi Wen, and Ian Colliard. Just as the groups before them, everyone hit great shots off the first. During the late afternoon, there was also quite a gallery to try to impress.
After enjoying the round of a lifetime, the group enjoyed dinner at Dunvegan's. This is a popular 19th hole location just around the corner of the 18th green. It has been visited by all of the modern greats, it was fun to be in a traditional spot. Recapping each other rounds was great, thinking about how many other rounds of golf have come before us. Thinking that the golf course and the game is around 600 years old, there were endless possibilities.
We began the trip to Carnoustie to reach the course in time for our 1:30 tee times. Again, we got lucky with the Scottish weather and were treated with sunshine. Carnoustie is a beautiful links golf course, most notably known for it's last two Open Championships its' hosted in the last 15 years or so. It was a different golf course than St. Andrews, but still had the punishing bunkers throughout.
Carnoustie also proved to be a tougher test for the students, as the overall scores were higher than at St. Andrews. Carlos Kim was the low score at Carnoustie, birdieing the difficult 18th hole for a 74. Congratulations to Carlos!
The Head Professional commented on how much fun the caddies had looping for the girls. They were not only surprised, but thoroughly enjoyed how much fun the girls had while they were playing the golf course. We all have a passion for this outstanding game, and it's easy to measure ourselves with our golf score. Not only did the girls play well, but they had a great time doing it. Well done!
The evening meal was enjoyed in Carnoustie in a rustic Scottish restarant attached to the Klinntock Hotel. Some of the guys enjoyed traditional Steak Pies, while others had their own variety. It was great to experience a truly Scottish meal, in an environment that the locals would choose.
We're all looking forward to a great Wednesday, where we are back to St. Andrews to play one of the course along the Scottish Links, the Jubilee Golf Course.