The Road less Travelled
Q. What do you get when you put together 2 Canadians, 2 Englishmen, and 10 Aussies, put them in a bus around Northern Scotland, play some golf and mix them all around?
A. A good time had by all!
The Pullis McNutly invitational golf tour has been operating now for 25 years, and covered a lot of different courses and countries in that time.
In 2014, we all met at Aberdeen airport on 29 June ready for 12 days of golf, sightseeing and good company in Northern Scotland.
Whilst Heather and I had been invited to play in Tom Doak's tournament at The Renaissance Club, many others on the tour were keen to play The Old Course at St Andrews as a warm up. Indeed we arranged the dates to maximise the opportunity to play through the ballot system, and in the end everyone got to play.
But now came the main game- the tussle for the prestigious Pullis McNutly trophy.
Our courses were the little known Murcar, Trump International (which Trump himself calls the greatest course on earth ), Cruden Bay, Royal Dornoch ( regarded by many as the best of all links courses), Castle Stuart ( site of the last 3 Scottish Opens ), Machrihanish and Machrihanish Dunes.
The courses were all pure links terrain of the highest quality, but with a distinct difference in style and presentation.
At the end of the day most thought Royal Dornoch to be their favourite, although Castle Stuart had some support as well.
Along the way we stopped at castles, gardens, distillieries:
Crathes Castle and Gardens on the river Dee, Cawdor Castle near Nairn, and Dunrobin Castle near Dornoch where the falconry exhibition was world class.
We all fell in love with Cedar, the eagle owl, who sat nonchalantly in the crowd signing autographs after the show had finished!
Another highlight was catching the Jacobite train, famous for the scenes in Harry Potter. It was a real toot!
Our accommodation was pretty nice all the way around with particularly lovely hotels next to the courses at Dornoch and Machrihanish.
But Oh My God! The 12 star Inverlochy Castle blew everyone's socks right off, especially when we had our own room for dinner.
We felt quite special there for just a while, and quite at home I must say....
But it was the golf we all came for, and history was to be made this year.
Only once before in the history of the tournament had a lady prevailed, or even any female for that matter.
But there was a trend in the boys vs girls side bets that was worrying for the boys...they kept getting whipped!
Over 7 games Eileen Haw came out and beat her handicap on most ocassions on difficult courses- many of which she hadn't played before.
She won most day competitions and won the event in a canter...a very popular and deserving winner!
And a proper lady!!!
One of the highlights on our last night was the recital by our Canadian friend Jamie Pyper who penned this little ditty for us:
The Road less Travelled
by Jamie Pyper
We are all here together on the Machrihanish Links
Surrounded by friends, good food, and drinks
The golf is now over, the scores added up
It’s time to determine who won the cup?
Will it be Helen, although Terri was hot…
Or could it be Eileen, the invincible Scot?
It sure won't be Andrew, or David, or Rich
Their driving was shite, the gorse was a bitch
In spite of improvements, its not Mick or Kath
And Doc’s always a winner with his infectious laugh
Nigel and Sue came late to the game
Their lack of point form will deny them their fame
For me I put on a horrid display
Putting more time in the rough, and slashing the hay
But at the end of the day the winner won’t matter
Compared to new friendships that tomorrow must scatter
We played great courses, toured castles galore
Toured gardens, distilleries, and saw falcons soar
We’ve all now seen Scotland from coast to coast
And for that we must thank our two gracious hosts
We’ve all had a wonderful time here together
Thanks to the hard work of Peter & Heather
You’re a wonderful bunch, now we’ll bid you adieu
So let’s raise our glasses to old friends and new!
So for the 2nd time in 25 years we have a lady winner.
Our final task was to decide next years destination, and the majority indicated they would like to try a golfing trip through rural France playing the top courses, sightseeing, visiting wineries and taking in the culture... Hainan Island China is to be the back up should France not be finalised, or cost effective.
So that was the 25th Pullis McNutly.
We enjoyed the company of a fine and diverse groups of travellers, saw some of the world , and played some pretty special, if not so well known golf courses.
Let's hope we can do it all again sometime
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf tour to Northern Scotland to suit your group. For itinerary suggestion please see Great Golf Destinations: Northern Scotland
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