Jim Holtgrieve, 60, of St. Louis, Mo., is on a ‘scouting’ visit to Royal Aberdeen Golf Club (aka Balgownie Links) in Aberdeen, Scotland, in advance of the 2011 Walker Cup Match, which will be played Sept. 10-11. Holtgrieve, who won the 1981 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, played on three winning USA Walker Cup teams: 1979, 1981 and 1983.
Everything went very well the first day (July 23). I got to the St. Louis airport early and it was a good thing as the flight was rescheduled to leave earlier.
I made it to Edinburgh 20 minutes late at 8:10 a.m (July 24). My luggage arrived (clubs most important and intact), I went through customs, got the rental car and I was off. I am driving so I made a couple of wrong turns (they drive on the wrong side of the road) and finally arrived in Aberdeen.
I was too tired to play so I took a small nap and then drove out to Royal Aberdeen Golf Club to see the course for the first time.
It is simply awesome. Golf in Scotland is magnificent. I met the pro and took some pictures.
Later, I went into town from the golf course (trying to learn my way around town). I tried to find a place that the team will be able to enjoy a decent burger and wind down.
I then returned to the hotel, the Marcliffe, an outstanding establishment. This is probably where the team will stay, according to Niall Farquharson, the chairman of the 2011 Walker Cup Match.
Sunday (July 25), I went back to the golf course and teed it at 10 a.m.
It is a wonderful course that will take some time for our team to learn. There are a number of blind tee shots. I lost two balls and fired 78 from the blue (back) tees. Not bad for a first time.
This will be a great experience for 10 young men from America. I will write more later, as we go to the golf course today to "map."