Doing anything this weekend? Why not do the Dunhill!
I’m referring to the Dunhill Links Championship which brings even more golfing madness than normal to the home of golf (St Andrews) and the East Neuk of Fife for four whole days each Autumn (or Fall to our North American cousins). This year’s championship runs 6-9 October 2016 at 3 stunning and challenging links golf courses: the Old Course, St Andrews, Kingsbarns Golf Links and Carnoustie. It’s a “pro am” event which means that professional golfers are paired with amateurs, many of who are celebrities from the sporting world, Hollywood, TV and music industry. It somehow manages to be both fun and a serious competition with big prize money at the same time.
Here’s my lowdown for visitors to this year’s event.
Who’s playing: The professional list this year includes many of the Ryder Cup players. Big names include Graeme McDowell, Danny Willett, Lee Westwood, Edoardo Molinari, Victor Dubuisson, Martin Kaymer, Paul McGinley, Padraig Harrington and many more. The celeb list this year includes Jamie Dornan, Hugh Grant, Kyle MacLachlan, Andy Garcia, Greg Kinnear, Ronan Keating, Sir Steve Redgrave, Jamie Redknapp, Alan Hansen, Shane Warne and Sir Ian Botham. See the full draw.
Cost: Free entry for the opening rounds Thursday to Saturday. Ticketed on Sunday when the play is in St Andrews only – £20 (concession £15, free to students and under 16s).
My top tips: Beat the crowds and spend Thursday, viewing from around the 15th hole and maybe following a group of players you like right along to the dramatic finish at the 18th. Bag a seat, burger and a beverage afterwards at the golf-tastic bar at the Dunvegan Hotel, which is a good place to bump into players. Then enjoy the best viewing at Kingsbarns (not to mention the stunning scenery) on the Friday, gourmet grilled cheese from the Cheesy Toast Shack and a drink afterwards at local country pub The Inn at Kingsbarns. Bring layers of warm and waterproof clothing to cope with all weathers (it is Scotland after all!), comfy shoes for walking, your camera and phone (so you can brag to your friends about whose swing you’ve just seen!).
In pictures: Here is a small selection of the many photos I have taken at previous Dunhills:
Hugh Grant on the 18th, Old Course, Dunhill Links