Well, Cliff Richard may have taken his friends on a summer holiday round and around the great cities and beaches of Europe, but we feel there’s a much better option up here in the true blue beautiful north of Scotland. Especially for golf lovers of course! Golf as a sport provides a wonderful opportunity for a holiday, far more than any other sport we can really think of (those badminton safaris really haven’t taken off…) and Scotland is one of the most beautiful counties in the world and has some of the best golf courses in the world.
A golf holiday can be a lovely retreat for you and your golf loving friends, or even your golf loving family if you’re lucky enough to have one (are you?). What about a golfing stag weekend? What about a golfing work team building get away? What about a father son golfing reconnection retreat? What about a father son and sons son golfing tri-generation golf vacation? Why not invite someone from another country to come with you? Why not get all the lads from down the pub? A log cabin is a perfect place to hole up whilst you all try and get a hole in one. Golf is fun, and here in Scotland we take it seriously. When I was a wee lad we used to go out to some log cabin near a golf course and spend a week perfecting our game on the course. Log cabins in Scotland have a rich history and have deservedly taken their place as one of the images synonymous with Scotland and Scottish culture, up their with kilts, shortbread and haggis. And, of course, Golf! So if you want a true Scottish experiance go stay in a log cabin, eat nothing but shortbread and haggis, through logs around and play Golf! Now that beats Butlins any day!
In the modern internet age, what is so fascinating about sport and golf in particular is its demand for space, its demand for physicality. Golf requires a mass of land to be carved and shaped, both by man and by nature, to create a course that can be played. You play the earth when you play golf, it really is quite astonishing. Such a small ball, and just you and a few clubs, and the earth. Your opponent is on such a scale that you feel both momentous and insignificant, it is quite a sport.
When you send that ball souring over the earth, when you let your mind consider the movements of the course in front of you, when you are playing with these lands, you can feel massive, feel like a god. It like flying. When you soar over the earth in a plane you feel everything get smaller, even the cares of people, even the lives of men, they’re all just things happening down there in the mass. You can see it as a system. It’s amazing.
Flying and Golf are fundamentally connected. The international golf circuit could not happen without international air travel or at least, it would be a lot slower. I regularly have to drive out to Edinburgh Airport, park the car up, and head out to any number of countries to keep up with this magical sports progress. Parking at the airport can get a bit hairy at times, and sure can be expensive, when you’re parking before your flight to Edinburgh Airport, you’ve got to compare every option. Well, that’s what I’ve learnt anyway. It’s a travelling life, the life of a Golf enthusiast. The more cynical class warrior might say that’s its just an excuse for rich men to get away from their wives and children that they’ve never built a relationship with because they’re too obsessed with their work and their male status!
“Bye Honey, yah, yah I know, yah can’t hear you! Yah? Yah see you in a few weeks”
But whatever else comes into play, golf is just a fantastic game loved globally. And a cultural and sporting phenomenon that I am proud to be a part off.
Golf has been being played in Scotland for around 500 years. That is longer than any other country on the earth by a fair distance, and that is because Golf was invented right here, here in Scotland. Golf, according to Scottish Golf (the governing board of the sport on the country), is vitally important to our ‘national psyche’. That’s right, when young Scots are running down the street in Glasgow at 3 in the morning screaming expletives at the moon, Golf is fundamental to their thinking. Golf makes sense in Scotland as we have an abundance of green space.
Golf doesn’t make much sense in Scotland, a country of viscous winds and high rainfall. But it has happened, it has evolved and grown here and become what it is today. And what is it today? It is an industry whose economic impact is estimated to be up to $70 billion per year. The whole of Scotland’s GDP is $240 billion. So Golf is almost a third as big as Scotland and only 500 years old. People have been settled in Scotland for around 9,500 years. So golf has grown at an average pace of $140,000,000 a year over its 500 year history, where as Scotland levels out at a mere $25,263,157 per year over its 9,500 year history.
This means that in a thousand five hundred years, continuing at this historic pace, Scotland will have a GDP of $277.5 billion, whilst the Golf industry will be sitting pretty at $280 billion. Scotland will have been consumed and destroyed by a beast of its own making. Scotland will be nothing but Golf. Some far away ancestor of Donald Trump will own the whole thing and have covered it in luxury resorts where the world can come to play golf. Scottish people who weren’t either professional Golfers or employed in Golf resorts will be remembered only in museums. We signed out own death warrant, the day we first hit a ball with a stick…