North Berwick, Scotland – This country doesn’t need your mega-millions to “grow the game”. It works fine on its own.
Just down the street from Muirfield, where the best women in the world are pinning it down at one of the best courses on the planet, are the old ladies’ ties. It’s nine holes, about 60 to 100 yards each, and has been hosting golfers for over a hundred years. From members of the North Berwick Lady Golf Club, in 1888, to Luke List and some other troubled tour professionals during last month’s Scottish Open. Today, it goes through “The Wee Course”, and of course, it hosts both boys and girls on Saturday mornings.
“This is one of their specialties. There are five of them,” proud father Tom Halliburton said. His son, Idan, who is 11, won the event in 2020, and came back for more. It’s called the Malcolm Cup, and it’s a competition for the under-14s, It is played every year at Wee Stadium, with five different titles to seize at 29 Stadium.
Before the gun started at 11 a.m., under a cloudy gray sky, the boys and girls covered their little green drills. Some are milled over 8 feet tall; Others practice their festivities with birds. Mothers carried batons, fathers carried scorecards. The grandparents provided extra sleeves of balls, just in case.
North Berwick is the kind of small golf community that only enriches itself Universe Itself. Great golfers will grow up here, because of the paragraph above. But others in this field came from East Lothian, and even from Oxford’s Lin Fox family. They spend the summer in Scotland for a few weeks, staying at Grandma and Grandpa, just off the ninth tee.
Harold Lane Fox and his brother Walker were late additions to the field. Harold is joined by Aedan, young Harvey Blair and another boy older than him, Luke McLaughlin. It was seven sets and four sets, and because of that, tournament officials reminded the players to play quickly. They obeyed with joy. Within seconds of the starting horn, young Harvey had already slapped the iron up the hill in the first.
There was a run in between the shots, so why not?
Players constantly praised each other, even from other groups. Oh, bad luck When he missed the knockout hole. They learned this from their parents. It was a great reminder that although the people most eager to “grow”, some corner of the “game” to be determined are the pros who have earned huge appearance fees, the first golf coaches are always Dad or Mom.
The sometimes unfortunate truth is that professionals matter a lot, too. And you can see that in the behaviors in the Malcom Cup. The kids were bobbing like the pros, accurately marking their balls, retracting the ball, and imagining shots. Luke’s passion for watching Catriona Matthew. Aedan’s favorite player is Justin Thomas. Harvey was among the lucky few who met Ricky Fowler during a clinic at the Scottish Open last month. He was still wearing his Scottish Open hat on Saturday morning.
I couldn’t get a favorite pro of 9-year-old Harold – he couldn’t decide – but his favorite track is Golan No. 3. He and his brother, Walker, play on the front tees. The Lynn Fox family has a favorite game: Three Hexagons. Any alternate shot played by three teams of two randomly selected between Mom, Dad, Harold Walker, and Grandma and Grandpa. No sport can accommodate generations like this.
My mom, Chrissy, grew up in Kansas, but she now has one of those split dialects that comes from many years abroad. She never played golf growing up, but does so now because she lives in Scotland. She attributes that to the obstacle-free nature of golf here. They call this corner of the country the “Golf Coast.” It’s cheap, social, and all welcome.
“You can play with guys in their fifties, and older ladies in their eighties,” she said. “And you can always have a good match.”
Chrissy carried Harold’s briefcase and was the unofficial attendant to the group, teaching and reminding who had the honor to follow World Health Organization He was keeping track of the results of both of them. They whipped as fast as they could, 75 minutes of sparrows, pars, ghost and doubles. Before long, each rider and their parents gathered around the rookie hut to hand over their results. The top eight will advance to the match play. Anyone else who wants to continue playing will be grouped into separate nine-hole rounds. There were still four more awards to give.
The tournament official started to read the names of the eight lucky ones who applied for the play match. The name Aedan came first. Luke came next. Harold and Harvey waited next to each other, anxious to see if their grades were good enough. Finally, the name Harold was called, immediately followed by the name Harvey. Their faces said it all – a combination of Wow, you did it And the Oh boy, here comes the play. All four players from the group successfully played the match, and now they are about to compete head-to-head. They grabbed the scorecard and bags and eagerly turned around to the first tee.