Scotland is in the news today on a few fronts.
First, September’s massive national Curlathon fundraiser has been boosted by a big-name challenge match.
Secondly, there’s a pile of neat stuff posted at Curling Today, from the steady progress of a new Gogar Park facility to a very cool look at the coolest place to curl at – and not once but twice, in back-to-back weeks next month – Madrid, in Spain.
Speaking of that blog, The Scottish Curler’s Bob Cowan will celebrate his 60th birthday this Saturday evening at Greenacres, and it’s a shame TCN must decline its invitation. According to the agenda, the evening looks promising:
7:00pm – Guests arrive
7:15pm – Scottish Washer Toss Championship and other assorted nonsense
8:00pm – Buffet
8:30pm – Scottish Washer Toss Final
8:45pm – Awards
9:00pm – ABBAMANIA
11:59pm – Carriages
Happy Birthday, Bob!
Finally, the following weekend sees a special golf junket – På tur med Curlinggutta (Part II) – featuring a pile of Norwegian curlers (led by Pål Trulsen) and of course the host Scot of choice (noted curler and hotelier Hammy McMillan). Also along for the ride last year was the sole North American invitee, jolly Tim Wright of Duluth, Minnesota.
Here, deep from the unpublished archives of The Curling News, is Wright’s heavily edited report from last year’s event (photo shows Hammy, Pål and Tim a year ago). It’s fair to guess that this month’s edition should be equally amusing ...
The Team Trulsen golf outing took place at the North West Castle in Stranraer, one of several first-class hotels owned and operated by the McMillan family. Hammy was our host for the weekend, and defied his reputation and spent most of the weekend working, although he was able to sneak away for a pint after hours.
The golf outing itself was designed for the Norwegian Olympians to offer a weekend of thanks for their sponsors and supporters - Hammy and Pål set it up on their plane ride back from Duluth last March, after surviving a weekend as House of Hearts celebrities. Apparently they needed a token American so I was invited. I hesitated a bit when, four days before my flight was to leave the UK, a terrorist plot was foiled... but Pål assured me flying was much safer than golfing with 20 drunk Norwegians. I couldn’t argue that logic.
I entered the tourney knowing one Norwegian word - Skol - which I used frequently. I told my fellow golfers the only English word they needed to learn was “gimme.”
When we arrived for the first match, I was assigned the honorary first shot in the first flight, so I went in to pay for my golf cart (or buggies as they call them in Skotland) and drove up to the first tee. 20 Norwegians looked at me in astonishment as most had never heard of golfing with a limo. Once I explained that the cart wasn’t necessarily to avoid walking or carrying the clubs, but was in fact equipped with four slots to carry your beverages - there was a mad rush for the clubhouse and every group thus had a buggy.
Other North American golfing customs were quickly enjoyed as I taught them how to save steps and bend the rules to one’s advantage. If you haven’t figured it out yet, we were better curlers than golfers. 36 holes later the organizing committee determined the winners. I still haven’t figured out how they score over there - some combination of the Stapleford System with handicaps built in – but it didnt matter, it was a blast. Skol!