I had thought publishing Golf in the Wild was the end of a long journey but it turns out it was just the beginning. The slow, arduous distribution and PR process has already introduced me to some very supportive people from out-of-the-way places. Last weekend the good men of Traigh (see chapter 7) visited Allendale and were as enthusiastic about our course as I am enthusiastic about theirs. David Shaw Stewart produced an impromptu watercolour of Allendale’s signature hole, the 17th – Grand Canyon, in celebration of a grand, if windy and cold day out. I am proud to be mentioned and wish I had the talent to reciprocate.
Golf is all about numbers – look at a scorecard and it is covered in them: the holes 1 to 18; the White, Yellow and Red distances for each hole; pars; stroke indexes; gross scores; nett scores; stableford points, handicaps. Non-golfers might be surprised to know that there are GPS systems which tell you exact distances from where your ball has landed to the hole – more numbers.
Golf in the Wild takes you on a journey of 727 miles from Northumberland to the far northwest of Scotland, taking in fifteen courses – assuming you play eighteen at each that is a total of 270 holes and this is what awaits as a finale, on the last course, Durness – what a finish (click on the image to see if you can make out the flag):
This is exactly what the sadistic inventor of golf had in mind when he explained his intentions to Robin Williams – sensitivity warning – those offended by bad language should not watch/listen:
And this image just to prove that I don’t ‘dress like a pimp’ and no wheels are involved – I carry my own bag.
This post was first published at www.northumbrianlight.wordpress.com
Having finally bitten the bullet and subscribed to InDesign CC, the formatting of the book is slowly taking shape. Starting with a blank sheet of paper is quite a daunting prospect – it seems like it should be easy – the page size is pre-defined, there is guidance on fonts and margins but there is still much to decide. It has taken me three days to get this far – the chapter heading is intended to echo a golf flag and there must be space for all the various course names and quotes, all of which vary in size e.g. Selkirk & Innerleithen. Then there are header and footer/page number options, line spacing, font sizes, footnotes, dropcaps etc etc. The challenge is to be original but professional – it has to “look right”. Hopefully it does.
The search for a publisher goes on but in the meantime here are some encouraging words from the friend of a friend (both writers):
Very interesting – and not just because I like the book idea. I think I probably told you I’ve embarked on a similar operation – blog etc – to help market my books. I’m no expert but your pal’s looks very good to me. I genuinely like the sound of the book and all your friend can do from now on is promote it as vigorously as possible. Sadly it’s a fact that many, many good books don’t get the success they deserve and many, many crap books become best sellers. A novel by the topless model Jordan once sold more copies than the aggregate sales of all the books on the Booker short list. It’s also a fact that some books come out of nowhere and sell many thousands and your friend can only hope his book is one of these. It could easily be the case.
The kindness of strangers…..
The weather has finally turned in the North East of England but this picture gives me hope. It was taken late October 2011, the sun is low but shining brightly and the autumn-coloured leaves still cling to the trees; there are more golfing days to come this year, hopefully dry ones. This is the view from Strathtay’s third tee with the par 3 green showing as a light patch between the trees. I can think of no other golf hole that climbs quite so steeply in such a short space – everything contrives to leave you breathless.
The course once played around the castle at Inveraray, on the other side of the view shown in this picture. Much in the way the town was relocated by the 3rd Duke of Argyll on aesthetic considerations, the 10th and 11th descendants took a similarly dismal view of the great unwashed playing golf in the Castle grounds. The course remained closed until 19th June 1993 when it was re-opened by the 12th Duke at an appropriate distance from the castle, on the southern side of town. The artist’s impression of the course at the beginning of the Inveraray chapter portrays the Castle overlooking the first – a slightly misleading juxtaposition.
If asked to name my favourite course from the book I would probably have to say it is Traigh. My opinions may be different had I arrived on a soggy dreich day but on both occasions I have washed up on its shores the conditions have been perfect, none more so than on my first visit. This photograph of the but’n’ben style clubhouse was taken in the early morning as I hunted for somewhere to pay my green fees. The skies were a near-flawless clear blue except for the scars of long-spent vapour trails.
An interesting fact – taking into consideration all of the detours, the overall route is in the region of 727 miles and forms one part of a figure eight. A return trip via Thurso, Strathendrick and Dumfries & Galloway would form a pattern worthy of Torvill and Dean.
As a taster I will use this blog to publish occasional golf course pictures which will not appear in the book – this is Allendale’s second/eleventh approached from two different tees. Named Penny Black on the front 9 and Penny Red on the back 9, it pays homage to Troon’s Postage Stamp.
The picture of gentlemen golfers putting out is from the course at Broadwood Hall, probably taken not long after the club was formed at the turn of the last century. The farm buildings in the background, which still exist today, are at 955 feet, a slightly lower altitude than the current clubhouse. Thornley Gate was just down the road from Broadwood Hall and even Portgate Links near the town centre was well above 800 feet. Golf at these altitudes is always testing. Consequently, Allendale golfers have always been obliged to play the elements as well as the course and it is evident as soon as you arrive at High Studdon that the present day course is no exception.