Bought the new issue of Golf World today and towards the back was the new ratings for the Top 100 Courses in England.
Starting at Number one, the Old Course at Sunningdale, I read through the top fifty and I was like an annoying 13 year old in my mind as I ticked off the courses. Been there, played there, seen that, over and over again. By the end of the top fifty there were only six courses that I hadn’t visited St Endoc, Siloth on Solway, Beau Desert, Aldeburgh, West Sussex and Royal Ashdown Forest.
When I considered this it was quite something. It was recognition of how deeply committed I have been to golf, all my life. About 1982 I got hold of a paperback copy the Telegraph Directory of Courses of the British Isles by Donald Steele I became fascinated by it. I wanted to go see these places. And as soon as I was old enough so I did. Whenever there was spare time, off I went. And remarkably, it was all OK. Rarely did anyone say “you can’t do that, you’re female”. Well except that one time, at Royal Cinque Ports when the greenkeeper gave me a ride back to the clubhouse on his tractor after a pompous old army colonel in the halfway hut said “For Godsakes woman what are you doing in here? I can see you are a right pain” Ah, the charmers of the Halford Hewitt match. But apart from that what a joy it has been to see and play and visit the best of the best, it is part of my soul.