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Kansas City, Missouri
May 7, 2001
The gentleman asked us our handicaps and club affiliations for his records, but didn't ask to see our actual cards. We gave our actual handicaps (one member of our group was an 18) and the name a local public course in Missouri, and that was that.
Teeing off at #1 is a great experience…the wide fairway helps settle the nerves a little bit. Just bang it out there somewhere and you have a mid- to short-iron to the green.
The course is very wide open, with high rough only coming into play on a few holes. The hidden bunkers will get you, so make sure you buy the little book that shows their locations. We didn't have a caddie, but you might want to take one just for the local knowledge. Putting was pretty wild - I think I had a 150-footer at one point. The double greens are gigantic.
Coming in, you get the breathtaking views of the city, clubhouse, and hotel. #14, 15, and 16 all played very long into the wind that day. Par fours turned into three shot holes; the long par five seemed like it was 1000 yards long.
#17 is the toughest par four in the world. 470 yard dogleg right to a little green with a wicked bunker in front. The bunker is jail. Stay out of it.
The 18th at St. Andrews is one of the most spiritual places in all of golf. Walking across the bridge and up the fairway in the late afternoon is a magnificent experience. As we walked the final hole, we could barely hear a lone bagpiper a couple of blocks away. Very, very spiritual.
We finished the round off with drinks in the hotel bar alongside the 17th.
If you are playing somewhat well, you can play the Old Course near your handicap. When we played it, it wasn't quite as long as when the pros are there (there is only one set of tees). I would probably recommend one caddy for your group; he can show you the way for blind shots and such.
From journal A pilgrimage to St. Andrews
March 4, 2001
Non-golfers ourselves, we took the small road that runs between the course and the water.Incredibly beautiful, we stopped the car every 20 feet to get out and take more pictures. I began to see why golf was invented here... men would of course need an excuse to be outside and soak up the beauty, so make it a sport! Preferably one that doesn't move to fast, so you can still enjoy the scenery.(I'm kidding!)
From journal More than a golf course