Golf: First Tee - Letter of the lore down to a tee

ALL HIGHWAYS lead to Carnoustie for The Open this week but for those less than enamoured at the prospect of a festival of golf, take the low road to Carnousie. If Carnoustie is Scotland's sleeping giant, Carnousie is its dormant mouse.

It lacks not only the T of the great Angus links but a tee. There is no golf course at Carnousie, a wee hamlet four miles west of Turriff in Aberdeenshire. However, it does have a castle, dating from 1538, a barony, the Burn of Maggie, and a reputation as a refuge for those on the run, not from The Open but the Jacobite Uprising.

Carnousie stands very much as it did in the 16th century, although there have been no recent reports of a laird hanging a pageboy for taking food to the laird's wife (she was imprisoned in the tower) as happened several hundred years ago. And the dialect is guaranteed to confound all but Robbie Burns.

Here, courtesy of the Aberdeenshire library, is a sample: "There wis a dizzen hooses wi mairried folk at Carnousie. They were aye wheel contented in their wark. They were great ploomen an een ti gan fae hame. There are only fower original families left noo."

So, go miles oot o oor wy and enjoy the unique distinction of saying that you didn't watch The Open at Carnousie.

Sign of the time

CARNOUSTIE last staged The Open in 1975 and one of the reasons for its restoration is that it has fulfilled a Royal and Ancient criteria - a new on-course luxury hotel. The Carnoustie Golf Course hotel, as it is named, boasts several unique features.

One is that it is possibly the only place in the world to charge more for a view of the golf course than the ocean. The summer season tariff is, per night, pounds 149 for a course view, pounds 139 for an ocean view and pounds 129 for a park view with, of course, a full Scottish breakfast thrown in. Thus you will pay pounds 10 more to watch somebody hit a ball into the rough at the first hole.

The hotel also has suites named after Carnoustie's Open champions. They range in price from the Cotton suite (pounds 275 per night) to the Hogan suite (pounds 650). The latter, with its own dining room, lends itself to corporate hospitality. It also has a mock book case which, when detached from the wall, converts into a double bed.

The hotel has 85 bedrooms, 60 of which have been commandeered at a special rate by the R & A. Ideally the Player suite would be occupied this week by Gary Player and the Watson suite by Tom Watson but they have been beaten to them.

However, the most distinctive feature of the hotel - it has already been put on the market by its owner Michael Johnston - is that it boasts the world's largest Rolex. Weighing half a ton and measuring 2.8 metres, the clock, which overlooks the first tee, dominates not only the hotel but also the skyline. As great clocks tend to do on great stages (witness the timepiece on Waterloo station) it is sure to become a meeting place, with no excuses for tardiness.

Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about Carnoustie's Big Ben is that in exchange for the most prominent site, with the promise of extensive television coverage during the Open, Rolex did not pay the hotel a penny for the privilege.

Goofing around

IF LUKE DONALD (the subject of a feature on page four) and Robert Duck come through the second round of final qualifying tomorrow, it raises the possibility of a Disney theme to the Open. Both players, who are honing their skills at Universities in America, have regularly teamed up for the England amateur side in what could never be described as a Micky Mouse partnership.

Alliss in wonderland

PETER ALLISS, the BBC's voice of golf, is selling his corporate, not to say corporation, image to promote a golf holiday for the man who has everything except a private jet. The Alliss in Wonderland tour takes in courses in Bermuda, America, Australia and the Middle East.

"When PrivatAir asked me to be the host of these tours for amateur golfers and their partners I was intrigued and delighted," waxed Alliss, lyrically. "The idea of having your own VIP jet at your beck and call, as you fly from one great course or exotic location to the next, must surely be the dream of all golfers. PrivatAir is the specialist in VIP travel and regularly flies Royalty and heads of state around the world." And now, BBC commentators, Lottery winners and public utility shareholders.

The cost of this jaunt for 49 passengers is pounds 31,850 per person, a turnover of pounds 1,560,650. For the less well-off, Alliss is hosting a European trip at just pounds 18,650 per head.

Haul of fame

TIS THE season to be upmarket. Tomorrow sees the launch of The Finest Golf Clubs of the World, a union of 100 private establishments, including Riviera in Los Angeles, the Oxfordshire and the Buckinghamshire in England and Druids Glen and the K Club in Ireland.

The "Club of Clubs" will have its own clubhouse, the Eden Pavilion at St Andrews. "This is the first association of its kind to offer existing members the opportunity to play other courses across the world and build relationships between clubs and members into an international fellowship," said a spokesman. Aiming for 10,000 members, they also plan to make a few bob. Platinum membership costs pounds 10,000 for a 10-year period (gold membership is pounds 5,000 for five years) and if everybody goes platinum the income will be pounds 10m. Subscribers will also get to play in a tournament with the final to be held at Riviera, once the haunt of O J Simpson.

The biter bit

A MAN who stole two sets of clubs from Greg Norman's house on Jupiter Island, Florida, has returned them. "Once he realised that they were the clubs Greg uses in tournaments he panicked," explained a police officer.

Of course, given the former Open champion's recent form, it's possible the thief found no takers for the Cobra clubs.

Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

Structured Finance

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

SQL Server Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

C#.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone