A hacker's guide to Turnberry

The links' glories are best appreciated as spectator rather than amateur, as James Corrigan discovered in a round that caught the attention of Sergio Garcia...

There are times when you wish the world would swallow you up and there are times when the world actually considers doing so before deciding you aren't worth the Rennies. My experience at Turnberry recently was a textbook earth-burper.

In truth, it should have been my cherished moment of what I laughingly refer to as "my playing career". There I was on one the most dramatic Open tee-boxes in the company of one of the Open's most entertaining competitors. Sergio Garcia was bearing a grin from one edge of his visor to the other as he welcomed the umpteeth press group of the day. "I am 'ere to adveese you about theees tee shot," said Sergio.

Being first to hit (somehow I had earned the honour on the ninth) I nonchalantly stuck in my tee peg, plonked on the Pro VI (at just the right angle so "Pinnacle" was concealed) took a few swings of the beast, turned to Sergio and uttered the bombshell: "Right then, what's the Tiger-line here?"

Before we go any further, there are two things you should probably know. The first concerned the drive facing me. The new championship tee on the 10th apes the famed old 9th tee in basically residing in the middle of the Atlantic with water to the left and in between the golfer and the intended target (which happens to be a fairway so narrow and at such an angle that it darts around in the mind's eye like an epileptic boa constrictor). It is neither for the wimps or the wayward; or in my case the wimpywayward.

The next thing you need to be advised of is Garcia's relationship with Tiger. The two get on like Popeye and Bluto; without having the benefit of Olive Oyl as a go-between.

So it really didn't matter that I wasn't referring to "Tiger-line" as in "Tiger Woods-line" or that the term "Tiger-line" was being used in British golfing circles for decades before Woods was invented. The hombre had taken umbrage. As I was about to recoil my weapon, Sergio said: "Tiger's line would probably be the green. But I'm not Tiger." As my ball was pathetically locating ocean with a directional sense that was less "Tiger-line" and more "Onedin Line", he might have been tempted to add: "And neither are you."

To be fair, Sergio was graciousness personified when we eventually left the tee, shaking me by the hand instead of the Adam's Apple. It ruined my equilibrium, though. Boy, did it. After going out in 54, I came back in 57. I can recall at least three 18-inchers I would have fancied holing if my focus had been unaffected. At least the memory of the Ailsa Course is left untainted.

It is pointless to explain how a hacker should tackle the spectacular layout widely revered as one of the top three in the British Isle. To be honest, a hacker should not tackle it. We don't have the game to enjoy it, but we do have the feet. A personal belief is that unless you can play a bit – and certainly drive a bit – it is impossible to achieve a proper perception of a Championship course with a set of clubs on your back. Most of the time is spent in the cabbage. Furthermore, from the tee there is too much trepidation to appreciate fully either the aesthetic quality or, indeed, the challenge confronting the golfer – and too much frustration on the green to do so in reverse. In this regard, Turnberry truly is the perfect course for a hacker to be a spectator.

Of course, there is a mystique about every Open venue but this particular one is right up there with St Andrews in the spine-tingle ratings. As for being picturesque it has no equal on the Royal and Ancient rota. The ninth is the signature hole, although all the holes that stretch along the coast, from the fourth to the 11th took the breath away, together with most of my balls.

However, it is the 10th that shall always live with me. The hole's name is "Dinna Fouter", which, as John Barton's excellent book The Golf Guru (Quirk, £10.99) reveals, is translated by Gaelic academics as "Don't Falter", but by the Turnberry members as "Don't Fuck About". If only I'd read that before my trip north.

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Dennis Rodman has confirmed he is not going to the Middle East to 'talk to with the leaders of Isis' as claimed in a recent satirical report
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam