“St Andrews in Scotland is regarded as the Home of Golf, so it’s fitting that it is hosting the 150th Open Championship next week on the Old Course.

Tiger Woods, who won two out of his three Claret Jugs on this revered course, has been focussing on this Open since his struggle in the final two rounds at The Masters.  He told the BBC that he didn’t play in the US Open as it would put The Open in jeopardy because of his ongoing injury issues.

The first Open Golf Championship was played at the Prestwick club on the west of Scotland in Ayrshire. The 100th Open at Royal Birkdale was won by popular American Lee Trevino in 1971. Of course, years were lost because of international conflicts and, in 2020, Covid.

The course hasn’t changed much since golf was first played here centuries ago, all the bunkers have names and the famous Swilken and Barrie Burns still cause havoc among the thousands of golfers who take on the challenge of the Old Course each year.

It is a daunting place to play from the very first shot. The nerves get to you as you stand there right outside the clubhouse, praying that you will at least hit the ball. I remember having a practice round for the Amateur Championship one year with a colleague from Bristol who was a scratch player, and he suffered the ultimate humiliation, having an air shot off the first. Indeed, the Old Course can tell many stories over the years.

With good weather anticipated, this year’s event will see low scoring as the wind will not add to the hazards.  The winner will come down to who conquers the greens.

The Americans hold a big hand this year, and I see Justin Thomas as the leading American, but my idea of the winner is Shane Lowry… watch this space.

Scotland is definitely not a one trick pony when it comes to supreme golf courses and of course has an impressive collection of hotels to match. Apart from St Andrews, where there is now an  impressive collection of courses,  enjoy a round at Craigielaw, Crail and new kid on the block Dumbarnie Links.  Designed by ex-player Clive Clark in the style of a classic links course, the elevated tees offer panoramic views of the Firth of Forth.  But that’s no excuse for an air shot.

Whether you are settled in front of the TV or heading up to St Andrews enjoy the golf.”