“I’m sorry, we can’t make tee times for single players.” ‘Ugh’, I thought. Here I am standing at the reception desk of the oldest golf course in the world, the holy grail, half way around the world and all I’m told is, sorry you lonely man. ‘What are my options?’ I question as I gaze off at a lucky foursome teeing off on number one. “Well, singles can queue (line) up when we open and they will fill the extra spots on the reservation list, if you want to play in the morning, I suggest showing up at 2:30-3 am.” Surely I was not hearing things, I mean the smell of bacon breakfast sandwiches and coffee are flooding my nose from the cafe 5 feet away taking my thoughts into happy places, but did she really just say… “3 am?”. “Yes, sir”. Holy hell. “Thanks.” I’d been overly excited about being in St. Andrews. I hurriedly walked the 1.7 miles across the beach, past the church, university and town and directly to the pro shop with Jazmin in tow. Like a kid on Christmas. “There it is!” I told her. “The oldest course in the world, I want to, no I HAVE to play this course…Do you know how jealous my dad will be?”
We spend the rest of the day walking around the town before retreating to the van parked in the holiday campsite. While enjoying a beer, some wine, dinner and the company of our Scottish neighbors I still can’t stop thinking about the option to play the course. I reached out to my mom to ask if American Express could pull some strings to get me on. No luck. The tee sheet is published online, maybe I could findone of the players on Facebook and ask if they would add me to their tee time. No internet. “You’ve got to go and do it” Jazmin remarks, “it’s the oldest course in the world!”. She can tell I’m excited and she's making sure I don’t bitch about not playing without giving it a good chance. It’s a typical human error. We often create an excuse before we give ourselves a chance. I can’t be an artist, there’s no money in that. I can’t do that, I’m not fit/tall/athletic/good looking/talented enough. It is a subconscious barrier that we put up in order to ‘protect’ ourselves, when in fact we are just limiting our potential. “Fine, I’m setting the alarm for 2:30”.
2:30 am. “It sounds windy and cold out there.” Snooze. 2:40 am. “Maybe I’ll just play a different course, the pro shop doesn't even open until 6 am”. Jazmin is being very understanding but reminds me, “It’s the oldest course in the world”. Just like that I am out of bed, wearing pants, collared shirt, sweat shirt and wind breaker with a fuzzy grey blanket, camera and camping chair under my arm. It’s really not that cold, or dark. It doesn’t really get dark here, it is like perpetual dusk. 23 minutes and 19 seconds later, I have covered the 1.7 miles between my bed and the pro shop. It’s 3:14am and I’m “number 9” says number 3. Random golf/man talk is exchanged between everyone waiting. Out of the 9, 8 are americans and number one in line is from Guatemala. We watch the sunrise (at 4:15 am) and do whatever type of calisthenics we can to keep the blood flowing. By 6 am there are 24 people in line, I can’t tell you what happened to any of them beyond that sweet number 8 which I inherited after #4 left. I can tell you, the bacon/egg/cheese sandwich and latte is even better than it smelled yesterday. I stuff my face, grab myrental clubs and head to the tee for a 7:10 am tee time and a round I will never forget. Too often we shorthand ourselves by being afraid to fail. Failure is proof of a willingness to succeed. The only true defeat is the failure to give yourself a chance.
I hope this post finds all of you well and healthy. Jazmin and I have just boarded a ferry for Ireland from Scotland and have no idea what we are doing once we get there. Suggestions are welcome and as always comments are appreciated, you guys are the true success of this blog. Thank you for reading, being you, and allowing me to be me.