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Scotland: The Eden of Golf

The Birthplace of Golf For Avid Golfers, Playing the Windswept Links of St. Andrews and Scotland's Other Courses Is Like Returning Home
Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
Matt Dillon, Spring 96

(continued from page 3)

The Scottish golf experience is one to be lived, not merely played. Golf is part and parcel of Scottish life. Courses, like the Old Course at St. Andrews, tend to be town treasures open to all, including dog walkers. Part of a good Scottish golf experience is to stay at a bed and breakfast with a local rather than checking into a hotel. Even if the B&B proprietor isn't a golfer, he or she most likely will know many who are and can probably arrange a game with a few.

Anne Hippisley runs a B&B from her stone manse on a bluff overlooking St. Andrews Bay. Virtually every room in the house boasts a view of the bay, the beach (where the runners in the title sequence of Chariots of Fire were filmed) and the links of St. Andrews. It's just a four-minute walk from the house to the first tee of the Old Course. It is a walk that never fails to invigorate, never fails to inspire. It is a walk straight into history, straight into the birthplace of the game, and you come away feeling reborn every time.

Jeff Williams is a senior sportswriter for Newsday.

The Alfred Dunhill Cup

The British Open Championship, the oldest of golf's four major championships, is played twice a decade at the Old Course of St. Andrews. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, the Open's administrator, wants to take advantage of St. Andrews' worldwide mystique and popularity with players and fans.

With that in mind, Alfred Dunhill Ltd., the English luxury goods company, sponsors the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St. Andrews each year. The Dunhill is an international team competition that attracts the world's best players, who, in three-man teams, compete for a purse of £1 million. It is the richest team golf competion in the world and the only commercially sponsored tournament held at St. Andrews, the birthplace of the game.

"Golf is a very upscale game and it matches our target audience," says Gaye Wolfson, head of corporate communications for Alfred Dunhill. "As an international team event, it gives us enormous marketing opportunities around the world. We do a huge promotion in Japan centered around the Dunhill Cup because golf is so huge there."

The Dunhill Cup has been played at St. Andrews since 1985; last year Scotland won it for the first time. The Scottish team of Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance and Andrew Coltart steamrolled its way to victory over a star-studded field.

While conditions can be, and occasionally have been, decidedly blustery during the autumn playing of the Dunhill Cup, in 1995 they were idyllic. On the opening day, Royal Air Force jets staged a flyover and RAF Pipers in full kilted regalia piped the 16 teams to the first tee. From there on, it was all Scotland. Montgomerie has emerged in the past two years as one of the world's best players. Torrance, always a dependable European Tour player, had a sensational season in 1995. Coltart was little heralded but played a key role in Scotland's triumph.

That was no more evident than when Coltart defeated Philip Walton in Scotland's semifinal match against Ireland. Down by two holes, Coltart rallied to win his match. With Montgomerie easily defeating Darren Clarke in the following match, Scotland was assured a place in the final against Zimbabwe.

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