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More Confessions of a Weekend Golfer: Golf In Scotland

Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
William Shatner, Sept/Oct 2006

(continued from page 1)

My lack of sleep on the plane flight caught up with me. My body turned off. I crashed. No timing. No control of my muscles. I was a wasted man! And between the rain, chill and wind, I was getting the Scottish welcome I had heard about. I shot a rather weak 98. Tony started off slowly, but as my game deteriorated his flourished. We did not keep his score.

I returned to the hotel depressed. My game had been better than ever before this trip, and I had been shooting regularly in the high 80s to mid-90s. Would this trip turn into the trip from hell?

Friday, June 23
Friday morning we left the hotel at 7:30 a.m. for a 9:00 a.m. tee time at Royal Troon Golf Club (Old Course).

We were playing with two Scots: Douglas (the member) and John, a friend of Tony's. Again, it was cold weather, but fortunately there was no rain.

This was the most difficult course I've ever played...and I've played many. Very narrow fairways, many strategically located deep bunkers, and gorse (or rough) that's virtually impossible to get out of.

To make matters worse, I was in terrible pain. My legs and feet ached from walking the two courses. My heels were beginning to hurt so much I had sharp pains with each step.

The match was devastating for me. Not one well-played hole. I shot a record high of 106, while Tony shot a respectable 92. Was it time for me to return to New York?

Saturday, June 24
Although we had a tee time at the Turnberry Kintyre Course, I opted out. I needed to rest, sleep and rebuild my confidence, which was shattered. We drove to Edinburgh and checked into The Balmoral hotel. The others walked the city while I stayed in my room to soak my feet.

That night we had an amazing dinner at an Italian restaurant in downtown Edinburgh called Bellini. Interesting pasta and vegetable dishes washed down by a magnificent 1985 Gaja Barbaresco. My mood was somber. I was quite concerned that from a golfplaying standpoint, this trip would turn out to be a total disaster.

Sunday, June 25
The four of us drove the 20 minutes to Kingsbarns. It was a beautiful setting. While I was highly skeptical of the day ahead, my wife, Hazel, kept reminding me it was "only a game, lighten up and have fun." Easy to say, hard to do when you're on your first golf trip to Scotland! I prayed for help.

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