I eventually arrived in Cran last night at 8pm after two planes and a train journey but once you arrive it really is beautiful. I was up early and spent all morning on the range. I spent a bit of time with the Taylor Made guys getting a new r11 in the bag.
The view from my hotel balcony
We had our Foundation sponsors day at Deeside today, I gave a clinic then it was a better ball competition. I then went to Peterculter to present the prizes at the 'Paul Lawrie Schools Team Challenge' Robert Gordon's College won the scratch trophy, Craig made the speech on behalf of the RGC team and did very well. Aboyne Academy won the best nett.
In the evening we had our Foundation dinner at the Marcliffe which went very well. My thanks to Richard Gordon (MC), John Gahagan (main speaker) and Peter Martin (auctioneer) and all the companies for taking tables. It was also really nice of David Law to come along with his Scottish Amateur trophy, I haven't seen him since he won so it was great to catch up.
JWC 4RD 72+72+73+75=292 (+4)Five over after three holes is never a good start..........I made an eight at the 2nd and a six at the 3rd ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I battled away and ended up shooting 75 +3 It was a bit tougher today with slightly more wind. I hit it awful on the front nine (41) Walking to the 10th tee my caddie Davy said my swing looked short and quick so I tried to go longer and slower on the back nine and I hit it really good. As I said earlier in the week, 5 weeks off through injury that I wasn't expecting much so to play 4 rounds was ok. I drove straight to Murcar to present the prizes at our Foundation Junior Jug. It was extremely windy with the best scratch score being an 82 from Sean Burgess of Nairn and the best nett was a 79 from Calum Fyfe of Cawder. Well done to all the prize winners and to all the kids who completed their rounds no matter their score. I know it was tough today but I can't believe how many NR's there were which is a bug bear of mine.
JWC 3RD 72+72+73=217 (+1)I hit a lot of fairways today 12/14 and 12 greens but I actually felt as though I struggled today I seemed to hit it high and right with the woods and low and left with my irons. I again missed so many putts (32) but first week back so I wasn't expecting much from this week. Davy my caddie and I were heckled at the 18th today! Two guys were really noisy so Davy asked them for a bit of quiet and was told to 'p*** o**'.........brilliant!! Both of them were drinking and carrying drink in a bag, not good really but funny. I'm in the gym now as I have been trying to strengthen my back.
JWC 2RD 72+72=144 (LVL)We finished off our first round at 7.30am this morning, I made two birdies and a bogey to finish with level par 72. We had an hour in between finishing and starting our second round. I shot 72 again to be level par overall. I have struggled a bit this week with short game which I suppose is understandable as I've hardly been able to play much the last few weeks. Hopefully level will make the cut.
JWC 1RDThere was thick fog this morning so play was delayed nearly three hours which meant I didn't tee off till 4.20pm. As I was practise swinging on the second tee today I noticed a slight crack on the top of my driver which became a much bigger crack after my tee shot, so I called a referee who said I couldn't use it but could replace it. As I had no spare with me I had to hit three wood all day. I called Marian and she organised our good friend Davie Wilson to drive down with my spare. The hooter went on the 16th fairway for bad light......I'm +1 and have hit it lovely but with only two single putts all day makes it impossible to score well. I re start at 7.30am tomorrow.
I had a press conference at 10am this morning. The media were asking me about the Walker Cup selection and some other general bits and pieces. I played in the pro am at 12.30 with three English guys who were guests of Diagio. We were -14 team score which was pretty good, I played lovely making 8 birdies. The Nicklaus design team have made a good job of the new 7th green which is now much flatter and bigger. We had some showers today but overall not too bad.
I was at First Group headquarters this morning to unveil the buses that will carry the teams for the Walker Cup. Most of the press were there so it was a busy morning. The buses look great and both teams will be travelling first class when they're here.
I then went out to Balmedie to meet the Trump team who showed me around the whole project. It was especially nice to meet and chat with Martin Hawtree who is a legend in the course design business. After lunch Sarah Malone (vice president) called Donald Trump and I spoke with him on speaker phone which was cool.
Tim O'Toole (Chief Executive) and myself at the launch
Day 7 Kinlochleven to Fort William 16 miles
Today was our last day (ye ha) The climb out of Kinlochleven is pretty steep and at one point Brian was asking about a stretcher!! but after the first hour it's quite a flat walk to Fort William. Marian was walking backwards to take a picture of everyone when she tripped and fell on her a*** Good job there's some padding there (will I get off with that?) We have all really enjoyed it again this year especially having Brian and Audrey with us who have been great fun and given me lots for the blog. Tom and Jerry's indeed!! We arrived into Fort William at 2.45pm there to meet us was Nicola, Kenneth, Doreen and Ben with drinks and snacks. My thanks to Alan and Val and Brian and Audrey for making it a great laugh and also to Nicola and Kenneth for keeping our cars.
Best Hotel......The Winnock Hotel, Drymen
Best B&B.........Rose Cottage, Inverarnan
Best Pub...........Drovers Inn
Picture of the Week.........Brian and Audrey on the bench
Quotes of the week...........Tom & Jerrys Ice Cream (Audrey)
I'm breathing through a thing I can (Brian)
Fit like the day min? (Brian)
Favourite day............First day as it's the only day it didn't piss with rain!
Bravest..............Audrey (walked 50 miles minus a toe nail)
Best breakfast.............Tailrace Inn, Kinlochleven and Rose Cottage
Day 6 Kingshouse - Kinlochleven 9 miles
I was on the computer at the hotel last night when a group of woman from Glasgow arrived and one of them said. 'My erse is ringing' which I think sums up the weather perfectly. Its only 9 miles today but up and over devils staircase is nae easy. Half way up today Brian looked as though he was struggling a bit so I said to him. Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. He said ' I'm breathing through a thing I can '. There were a few people passed us going the other way today who were only wearing trainers (madness). We arrived at 1 30pm with our feet again soaked through. Ahhhhhhh eh.
Top of Devils Staircase
Day 5 Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse 12 miles
We had a really nice meal last night in the hotel. We were a wee bit noisy especially when Alan broke the salt/pepper shaker and it landed in his tartare sauce. We set off at 8.45am this morning, the first 2.5 miles is pretty steep over the hill to Inveroran then its pretty flat through Rannoch Moor to Kingshouse. I forgot to tell you.... the other morning Brian jammed his finger in his bedroom door and let out a huge yelp, after Audrey had stopped laughing she stuck on a plaster. Brian said yesterday with a mile to go ''My feet just cana go any further'' (dina worry Brian you're nae alone) Doing this to raise money last year was worthwhile but as a holiday **** ****
Injuries so far........
Alan.....shin splints, blistered back, blistered tongue!!!
Val.....sore right knee, blistered toe, sore ears listening to Alan moaning!
Audrey.....lost two toe nails, blistered heel
Brian......blistered heel, sore feet
Day 4 Inverarnan to Bridge of Orchy 19 miles
7 miles down, 12 to go
Last night before going to sleep the room was dark Marian was sleeping and I needed a wee so the options were 1 - put on the room light. 2 - put on the bathroom light (which had a noisy fan). 3 -wee in the dark which means a wet floor. Went with option 1. WRONG...... Marian bolt upright and said put out the f...... Light. Cana win eh lads. Early this morning Brian said to a passing walker... ''Fit like the day min.'' The poor German's face was a picture as he has obviously never been to Turra. It was 12 miles to the green welly for lunch which was hotching then 7 miles to the Bridge of Orchy the weather was ok today but 19 miles is hard going.
Day 3 Rowardennan to Inverarnan 14 miles
Last night at the bar Alan and Brian were arguing about who was going to pay for the drinks when the bar maid said 'what you 2 on about?' Alan said he's a nightmare won't let me pay for anything to which she replied. 'What a baw bag eh'.
Day 2 Drymen to Rowardennan 15 miles
Last night we had dinner amongst a party of Dutch people who were making such a racket we couldn't even hear precious (Alan). Audrey also said last night that Brian's brother Eddie also used to do the highland dancing and was a jockey at one time (must have been some horse Ed) and she said 'oh good they've got Tom and Jerry's ice cream.' Brilliant.
Every step of today was in pouring rain which was tough but still enjoyable. Marian twisted her knee late yesterday afternoon but still walked the whole way today without any complaining (very unusual) After lunch half pint (me) was out front leading us up the hill when someone shouted 'we're away the wrong way.' I'm ok when I've got a lob wedge in my hands but for everything else I'm useless. 'Get him to the back' Marian shouted, nice.
We arrived at Rowardennan at 4 30pm soaked right through.
Day 1 Milngavie to Drymen 12 miles
We had a lovely big cooked breakfast at the Hilton this morning then jumped in two taxis to head to the start point. Our taxi driver had verbal diarrhea especially when he attempted to speak Aberdonian (loons and quines) etc Weigies eh!!!! We gave our luggage to the travel lite guys who will drop our bags at our hotels each day. Today is a very gentle introduction which is nice. As we were going up one hill I said to Audrey 'Old thumper (Brian) has some pair of legs eh'. 'Aye' she said 'they come from his highland dancing days' the rest of us were on the floor and I said 'give us a twirl Brian!!!' We stopped at the Glengoyne distillery old half pint (me) was nearly half cut from the smell. We arrived at the Winnock hotel around 3pm. I have just ordered our supper chicken and leek pie with a belhaven.
This week Marian and I are walking the West Highland way with Alan and Val Reid and Brian and Audrey Morrison. We enjoyed it so much last year we thought we'd do it again but just for fun this year. We picked up Alan and Val at 11.30am, we met up with Brian and Audrey at the Cairngorm hotel in Aviemore for lunch then headed to Fort William to leave our cars with Marian's cousin Nicola and her husband Kenneth. We boarded the train at 5.37pm to Glasgow, we are staying at the Hilton Hotel tonight. I went to the toilet on the train and pushed the open button to find a startled woman frantically trying to hit the closed button, she had forgotten to hit the lock button (unbelievable) could only happen to me!
I dropped Craig at Newburgh this morning, he was playing in the North East Youths over 36 holes. He shot 79 and 69 so he was cut .4 today and is now 1.5 hcp which is great. Craig's pal Grant Joss won with two good scores of 72 and 69.
Marian, Michael and I were at Pittodrie to watch Aberdeen v Celtic which ended 1-0 to Celtic which was probably a little unfair as a draw would have been about right. There was a pretty poor crowd especially as the Celtic end was sold out.
Congratulations to Steve Williams on winning the Bridgestone Invitational!!! (or was it Adam Scott). At least Adam knows his caddie is a fantastic front runner!!!!!!
I was out at Lumphanan Golf Club this morning opening their new practise area, it has been done extremely well.........congratulations to everyone who has been involved, you should be very proud of the results. I joined in at the putting competition with the kids then I did a Q & A with everyone and had a cup of tea.
I stopped in at Deeside for lunch then it was home to do some short game. We had Marian's cousin James and Ada staying with us last night and we now have to re stock the whisky cabinet!!
Michael made it through to the scratch matchplay this morning, he teed off at 8.08 against Liam MacDonald who is a local lad playing off 1. Michael played really good and won 2&1 which was a fantastic result for him. He plays at 8am tomorrow.
After lunch in the clubhouse at Brora we headed to Skibo Castle to visit David Thomson then we did some shopping at Dornoch (lovely!) we stopped at Dunrobin Castle on the way back, the castle and museum are amazing and well worth a visit.
We had a fantastic meal last night at the Powell household (thanks Mum). Lasagne and all the trimmings - not to be beaten.
It was a much tougher day today with heavy rain and a fair bit of wind. Michael shot 79 net 73 and should qualify for scratch which is a fantastic effort when you are 12. Craig had a tough day shooting 84 a pity but that is golf.
Heading to the Marine hotel for tea tonight.