I learned one of the cardinal rules of golf while at Turnberry....well at least if playing a links course, be it Scotland, Ireland or England. Let me explain.
When I arrived at Turnberry I was greeted with blue skies and comparatively warm temperatures. It lulled me in to a false sense of security. In Scotland and the UK in general it is a fairly widespread custom that you either carry your bag, or pay a caddy to do it for you. The budget hardly extended to the cost of a caddy, so carrying was the only option. Unlike in Australia the use of a hand pulled buggy is not a particularly common habit. Given the sparkling weather I decided that I would leave my wet weather gear in the car. Just to save my back by lightening the load I had to carry.
The first four holes at Turnberry run parallel to each other and you play back and forth before heading pretty much in the same direction on holes four through to eleven. Turnberry is a beautiful course with omnipresent sea views and absorbing golf. At the twelfth hole one turns around and looks back over the course and you begin the trek back to the clubhouse. As I made this turn I looked to the south west for the first time in an hour or so and was dismayed to see a rapidly approaching storm. By the time I made it to the tee of the 15th I was soaked to the skin. Against my better judgement I abandoned ship and scurried back to the clubhouse to dry off.
Undeterred I saddled up again the next day, complete with wet weather gear in my bag, and played a full 18 holes. The lesson learned was that despite blue skies, a shining sun and warm temperatures one should never leave the rain gear in the car when playing golf in the UK. Don't be lulled in to a false sense of security by travel brochures and pretty pictures. Golf is a battle with the elements and it is best to be prepared. After that first day, and my short brush with sunshine, the sun didn't shine again for the entire time I was at Turnberry. The picture above aptly shows what golf in Scotland can be like. The courses are magnificent, but the weather is hardly in the same category.