Your brain is frazzled, you can’t remember the password for your work laptop and the WhatsApp group chimes incessantly. This is when you know you’ve been on a truly great golf trip.
The golf trip takes many forms. The cheeky awayday that grows into an itinerary that would make hardened tour pro go weak at the knees. The obsessive checking off another venue on the Top 100 rankings. Or just a deal on two nights and three rounds with a group of mates who don’t see one another often enough.
For me, however, the golf trip is about escaping the daily grind. And there’s nowhere better to escape to than the links of Britain and Ireland. We are blessed with the finest linksland in the world. We’re an island nation, where changing sea levels have left us with these wonderful, undulating, sandy playgrounds – located alongside remote and quintessentially British seaside towns.
The great Bernard Darwin captured the romance of these towns. The trek to Westward Ho!, a pilgrimage to Machrihanish, pulling into the train station at Aberdovey or bunking down at the dormie house at Rye – his writing is so evocative, and almost spiritual. I love the arriving in these places, feeling the same excitement that Darwin felt 100 years ago, with the anticipation of the golf to come.
Time moves much faster these days. Our working week is occupied with angry commuters, incessant deadlines and relentless connectivity. Even the short caffeine hits which chapter our days are now served with a side-order of social media.
We are privileged to visit so many of Britain's finest golf clubs, but still there’s no feeling quite like arriving in a golf-rich seaside town. You turn off the motorway and gently the A-roads give way to tight lanes, listed buildings, a church (or two), and the turn into ‘Golf Road’ where the sound of seagull and the first lungful of sea air awaits.
Golf at these clubs is not just about great architecture. It’s about escaping from everyday life. From the moment that you get out of the car you feel yourself slow down. ‘Phones away please’ - a sign you love to see. You have time ahead of you, and while these clubs value fast play, being present is really the key.
For when I’m sat at the bar, swallowed up by a leather armchair that’s seen more than its fair share of rear-ends, I know that I’m on my time. And that’s where planning the next adventure can begin.