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What a weird dog,” said a stalwart traveling buddy of mine as our taxi curved around the driveway of the Tollygunge Club in Calcutta. Something piebald and mangy stood at the edge of a putting green. “I don’t think that’s a dog at all,” I replied, peering past the driver. “I think it’s a fox.” Whatever it was cocked its snout and swiveled its pointy ears, nostrils quivering to scout our scent. In the backseat, our novelist friend Susanna craned her neck as the taxi approached the clubhouse’s porte cochère. She nonchalantly leaned forward and said, in a way that this particular pal has of making uncanny things sound matter-of-fact: “Oh, that’s not a fox. It’s a jackal.” Of course it was.
Aren’t there jackals in the suburbs of every major metropolis, loping around the golf course and skittering onto the runways at the international airport to shut down flights?(This has actually occurred.) We were in Calcutta (or Kolkata, to use the official name) and it was getting toward the hot season and the curious occurrences were only bound to get curiouser. We had come into town, my traveling friend and I, a few days before from the Indian back-of-beyond. Upon our arrival we learned from the Telegraph, Kolkata’s daily newspaper, that we were in for a day unlike any “ever before seen in our lives.” An astronomical confluence would result in Good Friday, the natal day of the Prophet Mohammed, and the big Hindu festival of Holi occurring simultaneously. “It is extremely rare that three events of different religions fall on the same day,” a spokesman for the All India Federation of Astrologer’s Societies said on the radio. His unctuous tone put me in mind of Constella of the Daily News, an astrologer on the radio when I was a kid. “The stars guide,” an announcer used to say when introducing Constella, his voice reverberating as if he were talking through the wrong end of a megaphone. “They do not govern. Your life is largely in your own hands.” That notion is loopy, of course, and never more so than in India, where anyone deluded enough to imagine that fate is theirs to decide will soon be persuaded otherwise. An old Hindi adage points out that in India, there are seven days in a week—but eight religious festivals (“Saat vaar aur aath tyohaar”). This is one piece of local wisdom that, it strikes me, is worth keeping in mind. It’s not that I had outsize ambitions for this visit. Kolkata is not renowned for throwing travelers a welcome mat. More than any Indian place of my acquaintance, this alternately tony, intellectual, and legendarily squalid Bengali city expects to be taken at its own pace and on its own terms, and that was fine with me. Still, had the hotel been any other, it might have felt like misfortune to land in a city when everything was half shuttered in anticipation of a big holiday. But my friend and I put up at the Oberoi Grand, and few lodgings are more accurately named. Like Claridge’s in London or (at one time) the Plaza in New York or the Taj Mahal in Mumbai, the Grand has been a source of civic pride and a landmark of social arrival for more than a century. A vast block-long pile at the heart of the city’s main thoroughfare, Jawaharlal Nehru Road (formerly Chowringhee Road), the Grand is equal parts fortress, mansion, and society bastion, the kind of place where anyone who has ever been anyone in the city has been proud to let you know they are lodged. Period photos show Chowringhee Road as a broad European boulevard, but a snapshot taken now would tell a different tale. In place of the sahibs in natty straw hats and ladies in starched linen are teeming crowds sheltering beneath the hotel’s covered colonnade. That street-facing façade is now a market where refugees from the poor Indian state of Bihar set up shop daily on militarily contested patches of ground. Each morning they unroll bundles of T-shirts, cheap wallets, batteries, plaster birds, paperbacks, and handmade gizmos and set about advertising the superiority of their wares at pain-level volume until well after dark. Discordant juxtapositions, let’s face it, are nothing new in India and no novelty, either, to the foreign audiences that crowded into Slumdog Millionaire. At the Oberoi Grand, a guest slips in an instant from tumult into a hushed security. Even before November’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the transition from the hubbub of the pavement into the enveloping safety of the hotel (armed guards pass mirrored wands under the chassis of each incoming vehicle) was welcome, largely because the greatest luxuries in India are private space and a place to escape the insanity of the street. Not that Kolkata is a maelstrom. Yes, there is plenty to deplore. But one could say the same of Detroit. Unlike Kolkata, however, Detroit was never known as the City of Palaces and it does not possess the marbled texture of urban nougat, studded and veined and patterned with the strange and wonderfully accreted remnants of centuries. One may not visit Kolkata to tick landmarks off an imaginary life list.
And unlike, say, Delhi, where the remnants of ancient dynasties lie jumbled atop one another in landscapes that read like palimpsests, it more closely resembles a crumbling South Asian version of a Victorian industrial center. Its pleasures, like its citizens, take time to know. But it is, for India, an unusually good place for a walker, abundantly supplied with the decayed civic furniture of the British Raj. And the food is justly celebrated, as anyone knows who has ever tucked into a plate of yellow lentils and the river fish called begti at Kewpie’s Kitchen, a landmark restaurant in the southern part of town. The Indian Museum there, the country’s largest, is a vast and stolid colonial edifice full of unheralded oddities and treasures hidden in plain sight. On the morning of the day after our arrival I took an extremely pleasant stroll to the museum along Jawaharlal Nehru Road, which was just waking up, the fruit vendors and chai wallahs bustling around to set up their stalls by the curb. Paying my $3 admission, I entered the museum and found, to my pleasure, that I had it almost to myself. My main accompaniment was the noisome gossip of the local mynahs, which kept up a running conversation in the museum’s interior courtyard as I mooched contentedly along, from spaces full of first- to third-century Gandharan friezes to rooms where cases held items like a pair of women’s iron bangles—recovered, a label explained, from the intestines of a crocodile. Another morning I made a pilgrimage to the tumbledown Marble Palace, in North Calcutta, built during the 19th century by the trader Raja Rajendra Mullick to accommodate a strange hoard of Chinese urns and ornate statues of naked European ladies and pictures allegedly by Rubens and Murillo, whose paint now flakes and whose canvases sag in their frames. Feeling a bit weighed down by the place, I exited the palace and went walking in its scrubby gardens, where stood the rajah’s aviary and the wood-caged remnants of what must have once been an impressive menagerie. For a time my attention was so absorbed by the morose Bengal porcupine and some molting pied hornbills that I failed to notice a large, wild-eyed monkey advancing along a pathway until it was almost on top of me. I hotfooted it out of there and spent the rest of that day threading the labyrinth of roofed lanes inside the dusty colonial-era New Market (or, rather, its replica; the 19th-century original burned in 1985) behind the Oberoi Grand, shadowed all the while by a man whose official badge identified him as a coolie.
It is probably worth noting here that, like the existence of barefoot rickshaw pullers in the streets, the presence in Kolkata of anachronisms like coolie is troubling in light of the city’s preening new status as a booming tech hub, home to a sophisticated and highly educated middle class. Last year, for instance, the city donated six acres for the creation of a contemporary-art museum to be designed by Herzog & de Meuron, architects of London’s Tate Modern. Set to open in 2013, the museum will be anchored by holdings amassed by some of India’s new art-infatuated superrich. insert nut These types may share the air of Kolkata with the tout who trailed me past vendors of jasmine garlands, plastic flip-flops, and bolts of sari cloth, but it goes without saying that such people inhabit a universe very distant from his. My tout steered me forcefully away from my stated goal (the Tibetan antiquarian shop Chamba Lamba) and toward stalls operated by Kashmiri vendors, where my charitable purchase of a $5 pashmina would bring him that much closer to his kickback, the fake Rolex of his dreams. It happened that, conducted by friends or else carrying letters of introduction from the hotel, we were able to visit some of Kolkata’s private clubs, which was how we happened to find ourselves wandering the empty golf course at the Tollygunge one hazy afternoon, eyes peeled for the jackals that, I learned later, are a routine hazard on the fairways. We had afternoon tea on the lawn of the Saturday Club, watched a cutthroat game of indoor badminton, and, on another day at another club, were served fish croquettes by a doddering ancient wearing frayed cotton gloves and a lopsided turban. On one of these outings I asked an acquaintance for help making sense of the distortions of a city where, from the window of the car ferrying us from the airport, I spotted a man asleep on a median, naked and barely recognizable as a member of human society. She gave me an indulgent look Indians tend to reserve for foreigners who come to Kolkata seeking easy explanations or cheap profundity. “There are missions for that,” another acquaintance remarked when I posed the same question to her. Kolkata is full of them, she added, and of missionaries happy to distribute one’s largesse. “That’s what Mother Teresa is for,” she added, and it was admittedly a relief to acknowledge that better and worthier people than I stand ready to take on tasks that, given a thousand lifetimes, I could not. Why falsify things?Or why do so in Kolkata, where realism can be voiced in a tongue as lashing as that of Kali, the ghoulish deity locally venerated for her bloodlust and rapacious appetites?It probably says a certain amount about a place that its presiding goddess is usually pictured enwreathed in flames and wearing a garland of skulls. Kali, the destroyer, the insatiable, devours her enemies in a cavernous maw; in her tantric form, she is commonly depicted squatting atop the corpse of Shiva in an act of unseemly posthumous carnality. An old friend I had unexpectedly run into at the hotel’s breakfast buffet consented to join me for an outing to the famed Kali Temple on an imposingly muggy afternoon. “In God’s name, why?’’ another friend, a devout Hindu, asked when informed of our plans. “That temple is the most godless place on earth.” At least, she added, avoid the place on sacrifice day, when the paths can be slick with freshly spilled blood. We went anyway and found a scene that, far from tumultuous or gory, was oddly domestic. Shedding our shoes at the gateway, we fell in behind a few pilgrims shuffling toward a shrine where devotees chanted or else slumped in any available patch of shade. Like everyone else, we paused at the door of the sanctum, peering intently at an idol that looks much smaller in real life than in her photographs, the way movie stars do. Trailing the crowd through to what looked like an exit we found ourselves instead in an adjacent temple dedicated to Shiva, Kali’s erstwhile lover. Not unusually for such places, we were soon accosted by a Brahman priest. Knotting an auspicious thread around my friend’s wrist, the priest whispered that 1,000 rupees was the customary temple donation. The figure, he went on, was barely enough for a bag of rice with which to feed the starving local populace. Being relatively new to temple scams my friend gamely forked over the cash. Then it was my turn. The priest rewound his spiel, first favoring me with a smile of oily insincerity rarely seen outside a Jerry Lewis telethon. Ignoring his scandalized look when I did so, I handed him a more customary 100 rupee note (about $2) and remarked that, if rice was going for $20 a bag in these parts, he should get out of the god business and onto the commodities floor. From the Kali Temple we took ourselves to South Kolkata and the Weavers Studio, easily the most sophisticated textile gallery I know of in India, and wandered around in a daze induced by the wealth of crafts traditions (among other things, India invented block printing, calico, chintz, crewel, and tie-and-dye), and also somewhat sticker-shocked by the price tags on saris of embroidered kantha cloth or shawls of naturally golden silk from Assam. Toward the end of our stay, I went walking in Kumartuli, near the Hooghly River, where about 600 families of traditional idol makers work and live. It is at Kumartuli that countless effigies of Hindu gods and goddesses are constructed from mud dredged from the river bottom and then molded over frames of bamboo, lath, and straw. Passed from one generation to another, the idol-making craft reaches a pitch of activity in autumn, during the festival of Durga Puja, when gaudy images of the goddess Durga and her daughter Saraswati, tarted up with glitter, foil, and sequins, are carried to the Hooghly on palanquins and sunk. Or they were, until soggy idols polluted the river-banks to such an extent that officials insisted worshippers fish them back out after immersion. Other than crossing it on a bridge, we had not seen much of the Hooghly, so we hired a boat to convey us to Belur Math, the campus of the Ramakrishna Vivekenanda wing of Hinduism. The vessel, about the size of a small ferry, carried just the two of us past the Nimtala Ghat, the crematory where a stoned Allen Ginsberg once sat through the night watching the flames consume the dead; by the imaginary demarcation between the old “white” and “black” cities; and beneath the Hooghly Bridge, where hordes from among the 2 million pedestrians who cross the river on foot each day staggered along, each carrying what looked like an armoire on his head. We landed at Belur Math’s temple complex, which is kept unusually pristine by funds from international devotees. We walked around for a while but soon grew bored by the bandbox modernity of the place and spooked by the expressions on the faithful’s faces, a familiar smug look that seems to creep over the spiritually assured. We reboarded the boat and headed south. Suddenly a squall came out of nowhere, the sky went dark, rain pelted, and a chop in the Hooghly caused the boat to list drunkenly to port. More alarming still, the wind pressed smoke toward us from the industrial east shore of the river like an infernal cloud bank, a shroud. Suddenly we were in a scene out of Blake. At the approach of the storm most people had scattered for shelter. But my eye was caught by the sight of two children laughing and splashing at the water’s edge near the burning ghat. If their insouciance struck me as strangely wonderful it may be due to a passage I had read that morning by the 94-year-old Indian writer Khushwant Singh. .
(Some part of those holes must have been incorporated into the resulting eighteen—the space on the hill did not accommodate four full holes. Two years later the land was sold again, to the Dempster family, merchants who saw an opportunity to raise rabbits for meat and pelts. His focus seems to have been repairing the area between the Road Hole green and the beach. Old Tom Morris used to take a swim in these waters every morning: “Two strokes out, and three strokes back. This triggered one of the darker periods for the course. The Old Course may be the spiritual home of golf and a major championship venue, but it is also something of an archaeological site. The most recent period of significant change to the Old Course’s bunkering scheme began in 1904, when thirteen were added, largely as a response to the lively new Haskell ball. It is now over ninety. Far from emerging from the sea fully formed, the Old Course is the product of scores of architectural decisions made through the generations. No other championship course has a public road crossing two of its fairways. Take as an example Grannie Clark’s Wynd, the road that bisects the first and eighteenth holes. The task was carried out as an expansion of the existing greens by Allan Robertson in 1857. In 1856, greenkeeper Allan Robertson began to cut a second hole in each green, and the next year both the greens and fairways were expanded to accommodate the new visitors. Prior to this development, the first hole was only a matter of yards from the beach, as depicted in John Smart’s remarkable painting (now a part of Archie Baird’s golf museum, in Gullane). The Four Lost Holes Some of these decisions traveled far beyond St. It is to be hoped Mr. Soon I’d left the town far behind—it was just me and the seagulls. . Almost all the stones marked on the plan can still be located, giving an indication of how much the area of the Old Course has increased. During that time I was exposed to all corners of the course, in all conditions. Late one night, two men roused a local gardener from his sleep and bribed him with gold to recut the bunker, and a note with Sutherland’s name on it was left in the reinstated hazard. 1821 James Cheape buys the links and grants priority to the Society of St.) Apart from being beautifully drawn, this plan is the first to significantly document the course, its boundaries and length. I listened to other caddies—few of whom seemed to let truth get in the way of a good story—and to locals, and all of them were usually adamant about how unchanged the Old Course had remained over the years. 1842 China structural rivets Suppliers Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair has Halket’s Bunker, on the eighteenth hole, filled in. Andrews Golfers. What’s Under the Eighteenth? Not far from the Wynd is the famous Valley of Sin. After pausing to collect myself, I walked along the strand. Andrews Golfers becomes the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St.April 23, 2009 My first visit to St. It continues to live up to its name: Who can forget the image of Costantino Rocca spread-eagled in the Valley, having just holed a monster birdie putt to get into the playoff with John Daly for the 1995 Open Championship?But the green has its own story to offer. Generally the width of the golfing land was between 120 yards and 160 yards. Tillinghast concurred, saying Morris had told him it had been “built over the bones of dead men.” Some of the greatest golfers in history had come down to this beach to hit shots, as well. Just as interesting is the elimination of the mysterious Halket’s Bunker. 1856 The R&A, under its new captain, Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair, approves the cutting of two holes on each green. But the rabbits soon overran the links. 1834 The Society of St. It lasted all of two hours, and it took me a decade to return. Andrews for a long time—a primitive layout was in existence before the university was founded, in 1413. Eliminating them did remove an inconvenience for townspeople who wanted to get to the beach, and it also eventually presented the Royal and Ancient Golf Club with a superior location for their clubhouse, built in 1854. At any rate, this change would have a seismic effect on the world of golf: Due to the growing influence of the R&A, eighteen holes became the standard. St. Andrews Golfers, bringing the Rabbit Wars to an end. Located on the eighteenth, it lay halfway between the Swilcan Bridge and Grannie Clark’s Wynd and would be a hazard of considerable distraction today. 1866 Old Tom Morris builds the new eighteenth green. For example, early courses in Scotland did not have a standard number of holes—some had five, others seven. Andrews first had eleven, then twenty-two: Golfers played eleven holes out to the Eden Estuary, then turned around and played back along the same narrow strip of land. However, due to the extent of the whins (gorse), the playing area was almost certainly a good deal tighter. In 1764, however, the Society of St. The March Stones Visitors may notice another distinct Old Course oddity in the form of the small markers—they look much like gravestones—in the middle of fairways (such as the fifth and seventh) and near teeing grounds (such as the second and eleventh). . After soaking up the afternoon ambience, I continued on to the West Sands. 1754 The Society of St.” The Dempsters asserted that of the 280 acres they farmed, only ten were part of the golf course, and that they should not be prevented from pursuing a legitimate commercial enterprise. This occasional contact with the distant past is one of the course’s charming aspects. I came to realize that what the caddies and locals meant was that there hadn’t been major changes to the course in their living memory. Until Old Tom Morris began his custodianship in the 1860s, the aptly named Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair may have been the most influential shaper of the links. I devised a spreadsheet that became the heart of the research, charting changes to the holes over the years—everything from increases (or decreases) in yardage to the transformation of features to their relative difficulty in Open Championship play. Andrews Golfers passed a resolution that two of the first four holes (and, therefore, two of the last four) would be dropped, thus reducing the links to eighteen holes. I spent late 1998 and 1999 caddying on the Old Course while waiting for a job as the on-site architect at St. When he was appointed captain of the R&A in 1856, the course was narrow and long, there were no fairways (in the modern sense), and bunkers were undefined, unraked pits. A. Andrews Bay (now the Fairmont St. Andrews in the time I’d been away. Andrews. Who was Grannie Clark?According to historian David Joy, “The Clarks had a cottage on the communal drying green [an area next to the lifeboat house where townspeople dried their laundry], and from about 1830 to the 1860s Grannie Clark supervised the activity around that site and provided endless cups of tea, sandwiches and so on. 1869 A bunker on the fifteenth that had been turfed over reappears and takes on the name “Sutherland. Andrews has a modern seawall now, and the tract of land between the houses and the sea along the line of Grannie Clark’s Wynd is twice as wide—at about two hundred yards—as it was prior to 1821. This layout began and ended on the hill where the Martyrs’ Monument stands today. When members of the Society of St. Andrews was in 1988. One of my favorite aspects of the research was finding the many graphic representations of the Old Course. The base of the Valley was likely the original ground level, with the green pushed up behind it by Old Tom Morris. A Mr. What the Wynd Was Discussing one feature on the Old Course often leads to the reference of another. 1893 George Bruce plans embankment (seawall) and land reclamation. My calculations suggest it was just over fifty acres in 1821. 2005 A furor erupts when, in preparation for the Open Championship, the Road Bunker on seventeen is slightly reshaped to gather more shots. Though the links have been designated as common land since the twelfth century, control over them has historically been turbulent. 1764 The twenty-two-hole Old Course is trimmed to eighteen, setting the standard number of holes for a round of golf. . The course we know today is replete with curious vestiges of previous eras, a few of which are detailed below. Andrews in 1895, the Old Course was known simply as the Links. It was removed in 1842, when Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair had it turfed over as part of his program of repairs to the area, but its imprint remains. Next time you tap in on eighteen, consider this: The foundation of the green may include human remains! As Andrew Kirkaldy, Morris’s successor as the professional at St. To allow for this, Allan Robertson expands the greens. But the more I caddied (and played the course myself), the more rumors I heard of lost holes and filled-in bunkers. Andrews is founded. Andrews) to commence. My questions multiplied. At the same time, he commissions a survey of the links, delineating the length (3,189 yards) and boundaries of the course. When the Town Council went bankrupt in 1797, the land was used as a bond for security on a loan. The Rabbit Wars continued in and out of court until 1821, when James Cheape, a significant local landowner, bought the rights to the links from the Dempsters and deeded it to the Society of St. Cheape said afterward: “I am confident that in putting an end to all future litigation, I am rendering a service to my successors as well as to the Society. . Martin on December 8, 1821, it shows the area of the links that had been purchased by James Cheape, who dedicated the land exclusively to golf. Though I didn’t intend it at the time, the project would become my book, St. Of course, the lifeboat house has long since disappeared, but not only does the access road still remain, it is an active feature of the course. W. Its evolution will continue, but one can only hope this essential truth of the Old Course is preserved. Andrews and now define the game in the most fundamental of ways. 1799 The Rabbit Wars begin, with the sale of the links to the Dempster family. And it is not unheard of for a greenkeeper to turn up an ancient guttie when clearing gorse or renovating bunkers.”) As the layout widened, features that were once at the margins moved closer to the middle. The course begins to widen. Surveyed by A. Because its primary use has not changed, many remnants of its past can still be found aboveground. But in the 1850s, the railroad’s arrival and the invention of the cheaper and more durable “guttie” ball led to more feet stomping down the gorse and heather that lined the holes, not to mention increased traffic around each green’s cup, which served both inward- and outward-bound players. As snapshots in time, they proved a terrific way to trace the course’s evolution. This is the nature of evolution: Things come and go, and sometimes more than once.” A. The first tee is now about a hundred yards from the beach. I’d come all the way from New Zealand—never had sand between my toes felt so good. I’d read a lot about St. Golfers who have the misfortune of having their ball end up on the road must play it as it lies or take relief under penalty.
The 1893 construction of the seawall known as the Bruce Embankment is a prime example. In late 2000, I began to study the evolution of the Old Course in earnest.” (“March” is an archaic term for “boundary. With this freedom of body, mind and spirit came an epiphany: This was how the Old Course was formed, the progeny of the sand beneath my feet and the wind blowing through my hair. There were acres to wander, but I tracked along the high-tide line, where the sand was warm, and enjoyed the light breeze and sunshine. I was puzzled by their presence until I found a second copy of the Plan of Pilmoor Links in the National Archives of Scotland. . Andrews: The Evolution of the Old Course. More legible than the first one I’d encountered, which hangs in the office of the Secretary of the R&A, I discerned from it that “the March Stones with the letter G on the side next to the Golf Course .” As for the road itself, it is a feature unique to the Old Course and a true golf oddity. But how? It took two years before I could even attempt to answer that question. defined the outside limits of the course. Andrews Golfers is founded. When I finally did, in August of 1998, the first thing I did was walk down to the Old Course. The Tee by the Sea Upgrades to the town’s infrastructure greatly affected the links, as well. How the Greens and Fairways Grew Until around 1850, play on the Old Course took place in both directions—the routing lends itself to reversibility. The transformation was almost complete by 1870, when Old Tom Morris constructed a new first green (prior to this, the seventeenth green had also served as the first). In 1869, a bunker on the par-four fifteenth was filled in. My favorite is the Plan of Pilmoor Links. Finally, Playfair’s decision to separate the outward-bound golfers from those heading inward by cutting two holes in each green led to one of the Old Course’s most famous features: its double greens. G. The Swilcan Burn was edged, Halket’s Bunker was turfed over, and Playfair set about stabilizing the dunes to the right of the first hole. . The breadth of the holes varied. But its greatest strength is that it remains a viable test for the best players in the world and also provides enjoyment to the thousands of others who visit each year.. But golf has been played in St. The course at that time was 3,189 yards out, and because that same land was used on the way back, doubling this number gives us the yardage for eighteen holes. Sutherland, believing it was of strategic merit, wrote many vigorous letters to the R&A insisting the hazard be recut, but to no avail. Andrews Links Station from 1852 to 1969, are long gone, but the path they took is clearly evident by the sixteenth and seventeenth holes. Andrews, wrote in My Fifty Years of Golf: “What is now the eighteenth green on the Old Course was built up from a rubbish heap that had also served as a burial ground. . Historically it was a route for townsfolk to get to the West Sands, and it was also the connection between the beach and the lifeboat house. 1949 Hull’s Bunker (on the fifteenth hole) is the last known bunker to be filled in. The most notable of these was cut into the front left of the fifteenth green, but several fairway bunkers also appeared along the right sides of the second, third, fourth and sixth—all of which increased the risk of taking the direct line to the hole. There’s little doubt in my mind that Playfair’s vision is the reason the first and eighteenth holes look the way they do today.” It did survive, and the land behind it was raised up to gain the opening hole a buffer from the sea.) It is unclear exactly why the holes on the hill were removed from play; maybe they were unsatisfactory in length or just too different from the holes down in the sand dunes. Bunkers Come and Go Given the uproar caused by the alteration of the Road Bunker during preparations for the 2005 Open, one can scarcely imagine the furor that might have ensued if entirely new bunkers had been proposed. From quirky hand-painted maps and Alister MacKenzie’s magisterial 1924 rendering to modern satellite imagery, each has its own visual style and distinct manner of organizing information. George Bruce has constructed, at his own expense, a breakwater composed of four old fishing boats, weighted with stones and otherwise secured, at the east end of the West Sands. As an 1893 account explained: “Mr. Gentlemen, I have saved the links for golf! 1413 The University of St.” 1870 Old Tom Morris builds the new first green. The plan was the first to situate the Swilcan Bridge in its present location, and it tells us, among other things, the width of the links and the length of the holes. Of all the features that are man-made, the Home green is perhaps the most significant, and Old Tom was said to have been exceptionally proud of it. The railway tracks that used to be the town’s lifeblood, carrying travelers to the St.
This was the first attempt to reclaim land from the North Sea, and although these efforts were destroyed by strong tides, they laid the groundwork for George Bruce’s successful seawall construction a generation later. Part of the agreement allowed the bond holders to sell the links, and they did so later that year. The bunker is still there, a simple pot waiting to catch drives blasted too casually from the fourth or fifteenth tees. . Bruce’s breakwater will stand the winter tides. 1904 At least thirteen new bunkers are added to the course in response to the livelier Haskell ball. Golf was hard. Andrews Golfers (the forerunner of the Royal and Ancient) saw the ongoing destruction of the golf course, they began killing the rabbits, claiming the Dempsters had contravened the rule of the sale “that no hurt or damage shall be done thereby to the golf links. Since then, the creation of new back tees has formalized the right-hand course as the championship layout, leaving the clockwise “reverse course” as a curiosity that is only open for play a few days a year. Nature’s hand was clear, yet I knew that nurture had played a role, too. St. Golf is being played on a primitive links layout. (Before the New Course opened in St
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