Apologies to those who have placed advance orders, but it looks like the sequel will not be available before Christmas. The second page proofs are with me for final approval and the cover is being worked on, but to quote my publisher … I may well be able to get to print before Christmas but as for getting the book to you I do not know, last day for guaranteed delivery of books was 19th November, so to be honest, no it won’t be possible. Hopefully, this should mean availability very early in the New Year.
… just a quick update to reassure, particularly those that have placed advance orders, progress is being made. The editing process is complete and now the format and layout of individual pages is being finalised. A draft cover design has been produced but this needs to be agreed with the publisher, Choir Press. I am optimistic that the books will be printed by late November and I will endeavour to post out pre-orders in advance of Christmas. Many thanks for your continuing patience – I trust it will be worth the wait.
The 2021 Golf in the Wild Seniors Open at Allendale Golf Club is scheduled for Thursday 16th September. The competition is an individual stableford, open to gents and ladies aged 55 and over. It will be played off the white tees such that gents can experience the par-5 6th. Tee times can be booked online through BRS – click here. Gents maximum handicap is 28 and ladies 36.
Catering will be available from 08:30 – bacon rolls in the morning and light snacks throughout the day. Subject to the number of entries, prize money will be a minimum of £100 for first place, £50 second and £25 third. There will also be a £30 prize and additional trophy for the best gross. This splendid trophy has been kindly donated by Tony Brown from Scarborough North – named the Spartylea Trophy, it reflects his affection for the area and golf in the wild at Allendale.
I had hoped to have the sequel, Golf in the Wild – Going Home, available to coincide with the event however, publication is now scheduled for end October. The new book will be priced at £11.99 and but can be pre-ordered on the day at £10 – they will be signed and posted out f.o.c immediately following publication, together with any requested dedication.
Here’s hoping for the same excellent weather we had in 2020!
I was delighted to contribute to the latest article on Golf Club Atlas – a tour of some of the more quirky golf courses in Scotland and Ireland – Roads less Travelled:
I guess most golfers have an ambition to play St Andrews, the home of golf. Scheduled to play Anstruther at 13:30 we had some time to spare so we drove the extra ten miles north and spent an enjoyable hour gongoozling at St Andrews’ first tee and the eighteenth green.
Much as I would like to play the Old Course, I have some reservations. I would feel obliged to use a caddy and I would imagine a continuous analysis of my fragile game by an old hand who has seen it all before, not least the incompetent hack. There is also the gallery, especially at the eighteenth where a wayward finish is all too publicly on display – and always remember Doug Sanders.
This good man cleared the Valley of Sin but, his ball ran through to the rough at the back of the green and found a testing lie which he wanted the ‘gallery’ to know about. Despite this he chipped to within feet of the pin – a fine effort in spite of the attentions of the man with a camera.
The final drawback is the cost – all well and good if you are in reasonable form but a recipe for certain depression if you are having a poor day. Nevertheless, I suppose it has its compensations – later that day when I parred the eighteenth at Anstruther, there was nobody present to admire my final putt, just my good buddy who slightly resented me adding salt to his wounds.
Anstruther proved to be everything I had hoped for – a fine course with some challenging holes, not least, the three consecutive par 3s at the southern end of the course. The first of these, the fifth – The Rockies, was deemed the toughest par 3 in Britain in 2007 by Today’s Golfer. Ian parred this on the back nine, something I feel obliged to mention 😉 And, yes, but for Covid, Anstruther would have been in the sequel.
Tomorrow we head south again – this time to Jedburgh, a course I have not played since it was extended to eighteen holes. If the sun stays out, it should be a fine finish to an excellent three days of escape.
First golf impressions are influenced by the weather and how well you play. The skies over Gifford were an unbelievable blue and the scoring surprisingly good. Consequently I consider Gifford to be a spectacular golf course. A parkland layout surrounded to the northwest by Blawearie Wood and in the lee of the Lammermuir Hills, it is well presented with large, immaculate greens. The Speedy Burn runs across the course and comes into play at the second, seventh, eighth and ninth holes. The small but tidy clubhouse could feature in George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. At not far short of 6000 yards off the yellows with just three par 3s (6000+ off the whites) good distance off the tee will help post a reasonable score.
A nine-hole course, there is some variety on the back nine: the first is a par three whereas the tenth tee is at the edge of the car park – this being some 200-yards distant from the clubhouse where the first tee is positioned; the fourteenth par 3 is significantly shorter and easier than front nine fifth; the eighteenth tee is set back some distance in a small copse and turns the front nine par 4 ninth into a par 5. The narrow perspective from this last tee presents a challenging finish.
Had Covid not interfered with travel plans in 2020, it is almost certain that this course would have featured in the sequel – Golf in the Wild – Going Home. If asked what has been the greatest influence on writing the sequel, I would have to respond ‘Events, my dear boy, events‘ (H. Macmillan). As I head for Anstruther with my long time golfing buddy (Ian the L Plates – see book #1), I feel certain the same will apply.
The sequel is progressing – the text is currently undergoing review (by three separate editors!), I have completed the introduction and acknowledgements (my word what a lot of help I have had) and, here is the first draft of the new cover:
The eagle-eyed might notice a ‘slight’ price increases and the fact that the ISBN is the same as book 1. Some things might change before publication 😉 As an aside – in the 21st Century we are brainwashed by advertising. I keep seeing the Costa coffee sign on one of the back cover images!
The first print run of 1000 books has nearly sold out and so I have reached a decision point – reprint or make available online. I have always much preferred print media to e-books and it was this that motivated the high production standards for Golf in the Wild. It was the unknown book I wanted golfers to find on the shelf at Waterstones which would immediately inspire them to rush to the check-out. Not that Waterstones was ever persuaded to stock the book but, therein lies another story.
The sequel, Golf in the Wild – Going Home, is due for publication in September 2021. At the same time I will reprint the first book. With a gap in availability of several months, this seemed an opportune time to experiment with Kindle. After several frustrating hours with Kindle Create, I eventually decided to upload as a Print Replica which, in plain English, means that the content appears exactly as it does in the printed book format. Retention of the original formatting and imagery means it is a large download – more megabytes for your buck. The Kindle price is £3.49 in the UK, with equivalent pricing in other worldwide territories – Kindle Unlimited members get to read if for free.
The text is finalised, the route set in stone, the website partially updated and the target for publication forecast as September 2021, to coincide with the Golf in the Wild Open at Allendale (date to be confirmed). The journey is not quite as planned. World events intervened, the Scottish border closed and the trip to Anstruther abandoned. This is a major disappointment as it would sit nicely in the return journey and the setting for the course looks wonderful – see Anstruther Golf Club’s gallery. Consequently, there is a journey of 108 miles between Blair Atholl and Lauder without a golf ball being struck – needs must. Perhaps this is the basis for a trilogy – a return journey, playing all the good courses I missed the first time around: Golf in the Wild, Going Back. Will the Good Wife tolerate yet more golfing adventures, I wonder.
Chapter 7 of the sequel will take the reader to Portmahomack golf course and the far eastern reaches of the Tarbat Ness peninsula. Despite its easterly location, Portmahomack is famed for its sunsets – uniquely on the east coast, it is a fishing village which contrives to face west.
My youngest has recently produced the image for the chapter heading which features a SEPECAT Jaguar, the British-French jet attack aircraft which was in service with the Royal Air Force and a familiar sight above Portmahomack in the 1970s. As luck would have it, I am in contact with one of the pilots who flew these remarkable machines – Wing Commander Chris Barker RAF (ret).
In the 1970s aircraft navigation systems were not as advanced as we might imagine and finding nearby Morrich More bombing range was assisted by Stevenson’s maritime creation, the Tarbat Ness lighthouse … “we would fly over the lighthouse to get a fix, the most accurate way to do so and find the target for the Jaguar. It had an early inertial navigation system which was prone to drift and which needed frequent updates”. As for that all-important variable, speed … assuming a direct track of 12 kilometres (6.5 nautical miles) from the lighthouse and a level attack (called laydown) at 8 nautical miles a minute, the time to reach to reach the target would be about 49 seconds. They were not hanging about.