America, Countries, Europe, Sport

Open again for golf

A lot has happened in the last two years since I sat drenched on the banks of the Royal Portrush greens but now we’re Open again for golf,

It is doubtful whether the demure folk of Royal St George’s in Sandwuch, Kent on the English south coast will holler their man home.

The way the Northern Irish did County Offaly’s Shane Lowry on that deluge of a day in County Antrim.

Champion Golfer

Open for glory in Belfast

Shane has been a unique Champion Golfer of the Year in that his reign has spanned two years.

After last year’s tournament was cancelled because of Covid.

A bit like your Travel Editor of the Year who was honoured by Irish Travel as their Travel Editor of the Year in 2019 before the world shut down.

And is yet to truly open again.

Ben Sayers outside my house in North Berwick

Golfers have, of course, been waiting excitedly to get their clubs packed again for foreign trips.

Shane knows he has little to worry from this direction as I usually stick to the driving range.

But here’s a mixed bag of my golfing misadventures abroad. Fore!

Quatre en France

Captain’s choice?

The Old Course, Cannes, France: And continental Europe’s oldest course is where to play with Cannes’ Fast Set.

You’ll even have la joie of traversing a small stream between holes on a boat.

But be sure to remember the international language of golf when slicing your shot.

As I was reminded by the match behind to shout Fore. Needless to say it wasn’t Bryson DeChambeau!

My Ryder

Are you watching Pádraig Harrington?

Quinta do Lago, Portugal: Word had obviously reached Paul McGinley and his Golf Academy in the Algarve.

That I was open for golf again.

My driving was better than my riding with me going off road on our cycle and almost ending up with the spoonbill birds.

Another round in Vegas

Hotshot: In Vegas

Topgolf, Las Vegas: And in Vegas the pitchers are the jugs of booze.

They come to your golf range table with chicken wings and dips. And it helps with your golf driving.

As I also found on a Liverpool course as a guest of Irish Ferries and Jameson Whiskey where a drinks trolley would come round every few holes.

What a Player

My pal Gary Player

Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, Wirral: The north-west of England rivals Scotland as Golfland and where I wrote a golf column.

And where I got the tip that a Japanese TV station were filming a round with Gary Player and would I like to join them.

While I channeled my inner Gary at the Press round before an Open and putted back off the clubhouse wall as Gary did in ‘74.

Turk that

Swing time in the TA lounge

Turkish Airlines Lounge, Istanbul Airport: And the dream of golf nuts who will find every opportunity to play…

An airport lounge driving range on the way back from Istanbul.

Just go easy on the cornucopia of food and drink at the TA lounge or you’ll follow through.

And fill up with Turkish treats

So we’re Open for golf again and there’s an Open invitation to you all to come and see us in North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland.

Although my cousin Greg is still avoiding me after he stood too close to me on the tee box at North Berwick Golf Club

When we were kids and I clunked him on the head. Fore!



This Sporting Weekend – Solheim Cup

Golfing widows were a staple of Ronnie Corbett and Tom O’Connor stories.

Female drivers too – in fact it was probably the same lame joke.

Of course women are just as able to hit a wee white ball into a wee hole, sometimes even more able.

Sizing it up: Europe and the US

Wednesday afternoons for my Dear Old Dad and Mum were spent on the golf course.

Where my Dad would try to hit the skin off the ball… and end up in the thistle and the gorse.

And my Mum would drive straight down the middle.

It’s a long way up: For the US

Though she did confirm to Ronnie Corbett’s stereotype on the road by swaying everywhere.

The eyes of the golfing world are on its finest women players this week.

As Europe and the USA battle it out for the Solheim Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland.

We’re on ur way: Europe

Captaining Europe is North Berwick’s Catriona Matthew.

And she is as strong a buttress as the Law, or rock, that stands proudly in the Firth of Forth.

And which I know only too well with the Outlaws living on its doorstep.

Scotland’s ‘Golf Coast’ covers 21 golf courses along 30 miles of coastline in the hinterland of Edinburgh.

But the Americans are glum

While, of course Gleneagles in Perthshire further north is something of a lucky charm for Europe’s golfers.

With Paul McGinley’s men’s team winning there in 2014.

Where to find your golf

Catch these websites for more information, and,


And if you want to see how it should be done, er, here’s me at the Paul McGinley school in Quinto da Lago in Portugal

I’ll be looking out for you and your cup Catriona when I’m over in North Berwick seeing the Outlaws.