Friday turns out to be once again one of the most beautiful days of our trip. The wind is fresh they say at breakfast in the Fairmont Squires Restaurant ( a breakfast fit for a royal knight). Today our round is at the Torrance Course, one of Fairmont’s 2 courses both of which are spectacular will be our 7th round of golf consecutively on the trip. It is apparent that conditioning is somewhat important on a long golf trip, a good warm up before our round is in order.
Fairmont Torrance & Kittocks courses sit side by side looking out over St Andrews Bay and the town with steep rock cliffs cascading to the rocky seacoast below. The views are simple fantastic as we begin our day on one of the best practice facilities in the region. The Torrance course was built in 2001 and designed by renowned Scottish player Sam Torrance and often voted ” Best Greens in Scotland ” by many. The course is classic links style along the rocky coast of St Andrews and is said to a solid test of ones skills.
The term ” Its a fresh wind” now has a new meaning to both John and I after just 3 holes. This course which is the Open Qualifier venue and home to the Scottish Senior Open is long and firm and the greens are set at about 10.5 on a regular play basis, during competitive events they cut to 11-12. The wind today out of the south / west is very fresh 35-45 with gust to over 50.
Play is traditionally suspended in any competitive event held at the Torrance course with wind above 30 mph as the course is deemed unplayable, quite simply this means you golf ball will blow off the green and will not remain still when placed to putt. This day proves to be the strongest challenge yet for us as we realize playing in the wind is an acquired talent that takes years of experience.
The Torrance is fast and firm throughout with rolling fairways and deep bunkers placed in very strategic locations. The celebration of some of the longest drives I have ever hit is soon lost by the lack of skill I posses in hitting high and soft shots into firm and fast greens in a 40 mph wind, John a very accomplished played faces a very similar fate as well. Torrance is a walking course and a good walk takes on a whole new meaning when its into a brisk wind on 13 of 18 holes, 3steps forward and two back they say!
My decision to play the white tees seemed harmless at first on the first tee with the course only being marked at 6642 yards. It soon became apparent that there was a solid reason most were playing the gold tees at only 6000+.
When factoring in the wind, 6500 yards on the Torrance course equates to about 8000 yards. Many of the course in Scotland have little or no water hazards so running up is the shot to play. Crossing winding streams on the front of many greens becomes as difficult as crossing the North Sea if you do not have a high flop shot or a good checking approach shot. Iron play here is at a premium indeed. We do not score well today but we survive the round. For me a low 90’s score feels like even par, as few players today, even the most accomplished, do not break 85.
In the evening at the historic Dunvegan pub we hear the stories of the day. It was a test for all and scoring and birdies were at a premium all day especially on the Old Course where the entire course is fully exposed at the shore. After another great day in Scotland a local says it best. We endured![nggallery id=32] WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?