The Hacker: Girl power gives blokes the bum's rush at Portrush

One of the beauties of golf is that mere mortals can not only try to emulate the great gods but that we can do so at the great venues. Your average park footballer will not often get the chance to put one in the top corner at Stamford Bridge, but your average club golfer, on production of the necessary fee, can live the dream on a famous fairway.

With certain qualifications, of course. All of the courses that host the Open are open to visitors but some have a larger welcome mat than others. At Royal St Georges, for instance, where in 2003 Ben Curtis leapt from obscurity and made hybrids fashionable, hackers need not apply; the handicap limit is 18. Perhaps Thomas Bjorn should have been made to produce his certificate after his fracas with the bunker on the 16th.

And at misogynistic Muirfield don't bother if you're female; unless you turn up as someone's chattel you won't be allowed on the course. We are forbidden unless accompanied by a man, and we're not allowed to eat properly afterwards either, being banished to a side room and graciously allowed sandwiches.

Another problem is the cost; both paying and playing at a championship links can be fairly daunting, although probably worth it as a one-off venture into Mittyland. The most expensive of those on the Open rotation is Turnberry, where you'd have to shell out £190 for those views of Ailsa Craig but it does compare rather favourably with the $495 demanded by Pebble Beach, where the US Open will reach its climax tonight.

The most famous and historic of the lot, St Andrews (where the Old Course is now being prepared for next month's tournament), is perhaps surprisingly accessible, with a high season cost of £130, a daily ballot and, for singletons, the chance to rock up on the day to see if you can get a game.

St Andrews has hosted the Open 28 times already. Two courses have done so only once: Prince's in Kent in 1932 and Royal Portrush, in Co Antrim, in 1951, and a double quiz question in that it has been the only Open venue outside England and Scotland.

Which is a shame, because not only is it stunning but also because Northern Ireland seems to produce high-class golfers in inverse proportion to its size. Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell are Royal Portrush members and the course record of 61 round the Dunluce championship course is held by one Rory McIlroy.

I was fortunate enough to play it recently in an international media event. I will quickly point out both that availability, not ability, was the criterion for selection for GB2, and that the use of the word fairway above was, in my case, something of an exaggeration.

The wind blew to make it interesting but not punitive; the views over the North Atlantic of sand, sea, cliff and islands to Scotland were a perfect foil to any golfing deficiencies. And almost entirely due to my team-mate Carly, we saw off China and Canada. We were the only all-female pairing in the field. How they'd hate that at Muirfield.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Tip of the week

No 54: a bad workman blames his tools

If your clubs don't suit your game, this saying may be justified. All the major manufacturers will now produce custom-fitted clubs for no extra cost, so it is important that the loft and lie angles, shaft length, material and flex, grip size and weight of club all suit your individual style. If they don't, you won't be performing to your best.

For example, if the lie angle of your irons is too flat for you, the face will aim right at address, and the toe of the club will dig in at impact, opening the clubface further with pushes and slices. This doesn't mean a costly new set of irons is required; your existing set can be adjusted by your professional and made to suit your swing.

None of the top pros leave their clubs to chance. Every club will be specifically built to suit their game.

Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Bramley GC, Surrey. www.theshortgame.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor