After several months of waiting around for promised responses from publishers – they never did – I am making steady progress towards self-publication. Finding an organisation that is informed, responsive, helpful and UK based has been a trial but they do exist, or at least one does. I am about to start detailed layouts with InDesign CC, I will finalise the text for the umpteenth time and worst of all I need to decide on the photographic content. When researching many of the courses I only got one opportunity for photographs and if that day was dreich, as it was at Durness, then the results could be less than satisfactory. This is one image that will definitely not appear in the book, simply because the course doesn’t – it is Hexham one bright but misty morning in June 2012. Commissioned by the Newcastle Journal to photograph Great Golf Holes of the North, it was possible to respond immediately once the weather conditions were ideal, the course being five minutes from home. Just popping back to Durness when the weather bucks up is not an option.
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…..
This is the week I finally got to see the much anticipated movie Rush by Ron Howard. For dramatic purposes it plays fast and loose with history but there is no denying its entertainment value. Motor Racing from this time is one of the ‘sub-plots’ within Golf in the Wild. By strange coincidence my racing journey ends almost exactly at the point Ron Howard chooses to start the Lauda/Hunt F1 story – with the death of Francois Cevert at Watkins Glen (although he is not named in the film). In reality Lauda’s F1 career started long before – this photograph is from the British Grand Prix of 1972 when he was driving for March (another paid drive).
This is one of the most spectacular views on the entire journey. Gairloch’s sixth tee is set high in the trees on the southern borders of the course. Facing out to sea, the aptly named Westward Ho! encompasses the sixth green, the bay which the course embraces and the far mountains of the Skye and the Hebrides. It is a sublime distraction and a real test of golf – go left at your peril!
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.