Magazine article The Spectator

Sacred Ground for Golfers

Magazine article The Spectator

Sacred Ground for Golfers

Article excerpt

PLAYING THROUGH by Curtis Gillespie Scribner, L16.99, pp. 320, ISBN 0743209257

For golf aficionados Gullane is one of holy sites, which along with St Andrews and Prestwick should be visited at least once in a lifetime. As Bernard Darwin observed in his book about the golf courses of the British Isles, if the golfer can get up early enough and has the strength (and nowadays the money and the introductions) he can play on seven courses in one long summer's day. These include Muirfield, which last week hosted the British Open Golf Championship, and two qualifying courses for the Open - Gullane number 1 and Luffness on the eastern end of the town. The turf in these parts is like nowhere else. Springy like a trampoline, it takes all the pain out of walking and the views from the top of Gullane hill surely deserve three stars in the Michelin Guide to Scotland. On a clear day you can look east to Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat and the Forth bridges, north to the coastal towns of Fife, south to the Lammermuir hills, and west to North Berwick and its Law.

Gullane (pronounced Gillen if you live up the hill and Gullen if you live down in the town itself) has attracted the attention of many writers, the most eloquent being the Rev. John Ker, the Sporting Padre, who compiled a classic account of golf in East Lothian (and massive debts along the way). Now a young Canadian writer has found inspiration in the town which he first visited as a graduate student at St Andrew's university and which he returned to with his wife and young family on a twoyear stay. …

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