In June of 2019 I took a golf trip to St Andrews with two of my buddies. At the end of our trip, I slid my golf clubs into my locker at the New Club and left town for a wedding in England. Little did I know, I wouldn’t return to St Andrews (or really travel for golf) for three years!
Since that last trip to St Andrews I left the golf industry, set roots in Asheville, North Carolina, and the pandemic shut down golf travel. My priorities in life have shifted, and instead of focusing on my next golf trip, I turned my attention to home. This website has taken a backseat to life, but, with this post and a lot of work behind the scenes, I plan to post more and more in the coming years.
When I was seven weeks old my parents took me to Scotland. At each stop along the trip, my parents snapped pictures and they eventually created a scrapbook of the trip, complete with photos of baby Graylyn in castles, near lochs, and in the pubs. When I enrolled 18 years later at the University of St Andrews, my mom pulled out the scrapbook and I excitedly turned to the St Andrews page. I was disappointed to find no pictures, and instead a note saying, “Ralph forgot the camera!”
30 years later, I just returned from my own trip to Scotland with my three-month-old son and we’re compiling photos for a scrapbook as we speak… thankfully we didn’t forget the camera on the St Andrews leg!
To take my son to Scotland was an emotional experience. In practice, the days were filled with planning naps, feedings, and finding diapers, but in the quiet moments, the emotions hit me. That was especially true walking little Henry across the Swilcan Bridge and up the 18th on the Old Course. Even more special, we were walking amongst the Open Championship amphitheater, with the enormous grandstands looming around us.
To take Henry on the streets and fairways where I lived and played during my college years was something else… I can’t wait to take him back once he’s able to play golf and walk on his own two legs!
After walking the 18th, my wife, my mom, and my buddy Josh and I took Henry into the New Club and then up to the Dunvegan, we clinked pints and told stories about our rounds and past trips to Scotland.
What Was St Andrews Like Before the 150th Open?
Our trip fell exactly four weeks before the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews. Oddly, the town was relatively quiet. Mere days before we got there, the Old Course closed for final preparations before the championship. With the Old closed, the visiting golf tourists went elsewhere, leaving the town eerily quiet.
Josh, my dad, and I played rounds on the New Course, the Castle Course, and the Eden Course. In all three cases we walked up to the starters and were almost immediately on the tee. It was strange to see the town with so few golfers in the middle of peak season. No complaints!
The town of St Andrews has the power to connect people. The very idea of this website was suggested to me by a golfer from Texas who randomly joined our group on the Old Course in 2010. I’ve met and made some of my best friends in the town, including my wife!
The ability to introduce my son to St Andrews and Scotland at such a young age is special. I have no doubt that the town and country will carry the same meaning for him as for me. He’ll certainly be going back as often as possible.