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MrCaleyjag

Barclays Scottish Open

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All in all I think they did an excellent job with the course considering it's a relatively new course compared to the major championship lynx courses of the British Isles which on the whole are on the coast and are generally battered by winds and weather that come off the sea and have been around for decades. Castle Stuart is on the edge of a loch which is pretty secluded taking into effect the peninsula's of Fort George and the opposite near Fortrose. The usual battering winds and rain coming from the sea are limited after coming down the loch compared to the likes of St Andrews that sits on the coast of the North Sea.

St Andrews is in it's own way an expansive course with huge fairways and massive run off areas around the greens, the difference is that the rough is more challenging, the greens are huge and the fairways are very dry making driving for players easy if they can keep it straight. Very rarely do you see pros taking a driver off the tee at a championship lynx course due to how far they would hit it and also lack of control. the difference I saw with castle Stuart was the lack off battering winds from the coast, I am sure over the coming years the course will be improved and will host many more championships.

It is also worth noting that it is a course than any Joe Bloggs can go and play unlike the major courses around the country that we can only hope about playing so taking this into account the fact they were able to host the Scottish Open is an amazing achievement.

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It is a Firth (ie. an inlet of the Sea) rather than a loch, but other than that I do agree with you MrCaleyjag ... St Andrews is also a good example of a course with extremely wide fairways but due to clever placement of hazards such as bunkers, streams and rough ... and even buildings they make the most of the course.

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I think the commentators made a bit too much of comments made by players about the course simplicity. Saw a couple of snips of interviews where they didn't give the full comment/quote from players who, for the most part, followed up comments about simplicity with comments about it being exactly what they need in preparation for the British Open as it provided the opportunity to play just about every type of shot in the links game.

What's more, I believe they were set to make the course more challenging by way of pin positions for the third and fourth rounds but weather conditions and the eventual order of play did not allow for that to happen. I've not played the course, but I have walked/caddied it a couple of times and I think it has a lot more to offer than we witnessed at the weekend and it's probably a little unfair to pass too much judgement on it given the unfortunate circumstances that dictated events over the weekend.

In saying that, as with any new course, there's going to be room for change/improvement and I imagine that all feedback will be taken on board and we'll see some tweaking before next year.

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Anyone know Sandy Lyle's views on the simplicity of the course? :tongueincheek:

Seriously though, I think Sandy should restrict his outings to the Seniors' Tour. I was sitting in the stand overlooking the 17th Green on Friday and the stand steadily filled when three groups came through with McDowell, Cabrera, Rose, Harrington, Mickelson, Lawrie, Gallacher, Kucher and Els. Next up was Sandy and as he stepped onto the tee there was a mass exodus from the stand and the area around the green. How disheartening must that have been! And the poor guy must have had that throughout his two rounds. No wonder he was last. He's been a fantastic champion of Scottish golf - a former Masters champion and 80% of the crowd disappeared when he was next to play in the Scottish Open. No criticism of the fans who reasonably enough want to follow the best players of the day, but I just felt it was really sad.

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First and foremost I'd like to make clear I hugely admire the vision and financial bravery of investors involved in the developement of Castle Stuart and understand the massive benefits etc involved for the area.That said, let's not kid on this is close to being the best test of links golf in Scotland or even the North East. A lot is subjective but Nairn and Dornoch are both far superior in variety and test of skill. Loch Lomond,Castle Stuart and Rennaisance where the Scottish will move to next all have one thing in common,they are all built by investors who have vested interests in raising the profile of their course and the coverage of having a Europen tour event hosted makes the course a "must play" for thousand of cash rich American and Japanese golf tourists.

The Ryder cup being awarded to Celtic Manor was blatant corporate manipulation,with dozens of courses more "worthy" of hosting the event but money talks so a brand new course on the side of a hill overlooking a power station was awarded this prestigious and hugely lucrative event.

The term "championship course" is slapped glibly onto every new course built these days but very few new ventures could hold a candle to Brora, Tain or Lossie.

I am not naive and understand the requirement for investment and corporate support,and sympathise hugely with the investors for the losses incurred but let's not kid on this is about testing golf courses,it's about money,plain and simple.

Hopefully lessons will be learned,the course will be toughened up,the investors and corporate backers will make shed loads of money and the weather will be just a wee bit kinder next year.

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I am not a golfer but I enjoy watching golf on the TV and have been to odd days at various championships. I thought it would be fun to buy a season ticket for the Barclays Scottish Open and did so in March for the pricely sum of ?55. Not bad for a possible five days entertainment. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will do it again next year. Certainly, Saturday's problems were frustrating and I visited the course that evening when it looked like play would re-commence. The whole place had really taken a hammering.

Certainly the leading players were taking advantage of Castle Stuart with its wide fairways, short par 4's and others that are downhill all the way. That's not uncommon on the European Tour where many tournaments are won with scores miles under par. I also saw plenty examples of how Castle Stuart can bite back. I got the impression the players were really enjoying the excperience. Also read in a newspaper today that Jim Furyk was watching the tournament on TV down south getting ready for the British Open and is keen to come next year. Hopefully, there are more like him.

If you weren't there this year, plan to go in 2012. You'll enjoy it.

So here are the things that impressed me most.

There are lots of really good vantage points. Plenty places where you'll get a great view. Probably the worst course from this point of view is the Old Course at St Andrews.

Getting to and from the course was simplicity itself. The car parks and shuttle buses were very well organised. It will often take longer to get out of the Caledonian Stadium car park after a game.

When the sun shines the place truly looks stunning. It has to be seen to be appreciated. TV does not give you the full picture.

The work that must have gone into getting the course ready for Sunday was monumental. I tip my hat to everybody involved.

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Anyone know Sandy Lyle's views on the simplicity of the course? :tongueincheek:

Seriously though, I think Sandy should restrict his outings to the Seniors' Tour. I was sitting in the stand overlooking the 17th Green on Friday and the stand steadily filled when three groups came through with McDowell, Cabrera, Rose, Harrington, Mickelson, Lawrie, Gallacher, Kucher and Els. Next up was Sandy and as he stepped onto the tee there was a mass exodus from the stand and the area around the green. How disheartening must that have been! And the poor guy must have had that throughout his two rounds. No wonder he was last. He's been a fantastic champion of Scottish golf - a former Masters champion and 80% of the crowd disappeared when he was next to play in the Scottish Open. No criticism of the fans who reasonably enough want to follow the best players of the day, but I just felt it was really sad.

Yes, I agree with you about Sandy. It has been hard watching his steady decline over the last several years. To be fair to him though, he has done OK on the senior tour this year with a 1st and 2nd to his name already.

I think I might have a nostalgic fiver for him to make the cut this week at Sandwich.

Over the years I've followed him round several championship courses down here, including Wentworth, Sunningdale, Woburn and The Oxfordshire and generally there have been a fair few diehards watching him with me.

The time at the Oxfordshire was quite funny. It was back in the 90s and I went up there to make a day of it. Lyle had an early start. After watching his round on a cold, wet morning I went into one of the refreshment tents for a spot of breakfast. I was there in my full golfing wet gear including white bonnet. A lady came up to me and asked me for my autograph, something that is not a regular occurrence I assure you. I asked her who she thought I was and she replied "Mark McNulty" (a well known South African player who always wore a white bonnet). I laughed and told her I was not Mark. "oh", she said, "I'm dreadfully sorry, you're Christie O' Connor".

At this stage I didn't have the heart to let her down again so I scribbled "C O'Connor" on her programme (right below Nick Faldo's name) and off she went quite happy.

By this time there were a few people taking notice so I thought I'd make a quick exit. I went along to the practice area to decide who I would follow round in the afternoon, and who should be there but Christie O' Connor, respendent in full, identical wet gear and his trade mark white bonnet, so I told him what had happened and we both had quite a chuckle over it.

My one and only claim to golfing fame!

Edited by Caley Mad In Berks
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