I am a big fan and follower of golf traditions. I like them almost as much as I like my beer, and they are as integral to our glorious and historical game with its near-mythical social status as the blessed amber nectar itself.
Golf is imbued with many great and varied traditions. From the big post lunch serving of Kummel and afternoon two balls at Muirfield, to the early morning gunfire in St Andrews as the new Captain of the R&A drives into office. He hits a shot off the first tee of the Old Course and eager local caddies, which line the fairway, scramble and fight for his ball in the hope of winning a gold sovereign. Our traditions are quirky, unusual and part of our rich golfing heritage.
The Muirfield two-ball format, which is now called ‘Scotch foresomes’ throughout the world, is ostensibly to facilitate members to ‘walk off’ their hearty lunches, of which the Honourable Gentleman’s Club is of course famous. However, it could also clear the head a tad after the consumption of the renowned Kümmel digestif, for that liqueur is not for the faint-hearted or lightly constituted.
This may now have worryingly penetrated Japanese culture, and this is how. A St Andrews caddie, George Murray, who lives in a beautiful flat overlooking the 18th tee of the Old Course was invited out to one of the premier clubs there with a friend, where they happily played their morning round. However, at lunch, they were each presented with a bottle of malt whisky. So, in true Scottish fashion and of course not to appear rude they duly consumed the whole bottle. Afterwards, they somehow made it out to play two balls. At least that is what George said he saw.