The Open 2021

I was idly watching golf at a local bar and wondered where the action was taking place. It looks really desolate, like a golf course in a prairie. I didn’t see a single tree. Every golf course near Cleveland looks more scenic. A bit of Googling shows that is a fabled course, Royal St George in Scotland. Now I’m a Scottie by heredity so I suppose a couple hundred acres of heather should beckon to me but I have to wonder - is it played there because of tradition (which is fine) or is it a really challenging course that leaves pro golfers weak at the knees and grasping for a tumbler of Macallan?

Damn. It looks like Royal St George is in bloody England.

The Open is always played at a links course - there is a rotation of about 8 or 9. “Links” is a Scottish word referring to a wide area of grassed over sand next to the sea. The sport of golf developed on such courses in Scotland. There don’t tend to be many trees, probably because of a combination of salt, wind, grazing animals (traditionally) and a lack of deep soil etc.

I’m lucky that it is taking place on my doorstep. Me and the family will be there every day. We just have a short cycle down to the course.
I wouldn’t describe the links themselves as desolate though. The surrounding areas are some of the richest and most important wildlife habitats in the UK. Home to lots of rare and endangered species and the golf course is criss-crossed by public footpaths and the manicured tees and greens are perhaps 5% of the area. The rest is wild and fiercely protected.
It is a very specifc type of course though, really undulating. There’s barely a level bit of ground there and your legs know about it after walking the course for the day.
We’ll be back there later today and if anyone wants any first-hand impressions or experiences then I’ll be happy to oblige.

I’ve done more reading about the course and can now see how complex it is. It may not have dense woods off the fairway but, as you point out, the constant up, down and tilt of the land makes a tough course. And apparently some of the bunkers are really deep and hard to hit out of.

That’s pretty interesting about the word “links”. I always thought it came about because the holes were linked to each other.

Just back in from the course and what a glorious day with some great golf. Spent the last couple of hours in the big 16th hole grandstand watching the last groups come through and it is a proper auditorium. A par 3 with plenty of chances for birdies and disasters.

We are all sun-baked and knackered and looking forward to tomorrow, no-one is running away with it and I’m sure there’ll be many a twist yet to come.

Very jealous that you get to see it live. Interesting Saturday. And it should make for an even more interesting Sunday.

Well it is going to be another cracking day weather-wise and our only decision is quite where to position ourselves in order to anticipate the action.
That’s the only drawback with following it live out on the course, there is so much ground to cover and you can’t be sure where the story is going to emerge.
No matter. We can listen to the on-course coverage via the app and spend some time in the various grandstands and watch the main groups come through. Also all of the refreshment areas have big screens and cold beer to take some time out and catch up on the action all around the course.
There’s something very exciting when you sit in the middle of the course with roars coming up all around you from the other holes.