The back nine?

Wandering around St. Andrews last week, in the middle of visiting friends and family in varying degrees of good health, it occurred to me I’m pretty much on the back nine.


That’s a sobering thought, and enough to send you in search of the nearest microbrewery, but for once I managed to resist. St. Andrews Brewery, rest assured I’ll visit next time. Instead, I spent quite a number of happy hours walking in the rain, all around the edge of the Old Course, along the Eden Estuary, past the castle, the cathedral, the university buildings, and down to the pier.


I have to say, even in the rain, I found St. Andrews to be a pretty and genteel little town. I’ve no idea if it is full of golf snobs in the bars and clubhouses – I didn’t bother going in – but everyone I met and chatted to was very pleasant indeed. They had time to stop and share a few words with a damp and bedraggled tourist, which was nice.

Swilken Bridge

It’s been many years since I’ve tried to swing a golf club with real conviction, but I’ll admit to being absolutely thrilled seeing the bridge over Swilken Burn at St. Andrews. The course looks easier and smaller than it comes across on television. Many a fine golfer has been undone on this famous course, and long before reaching the 18th.

I saw excellent golf shots played as I mooched about, and I also saw many poor shots – shots I’d have been proud of. Maybe I should dust off the golf clubs and bring them with me next time? I’m on the back nine, perhaps I need to (re)take up a more sedate pastime?

From the pier

Best not – as I recall, my ability to remain calm under (golf) pressure wasn’t ever (ever, ever) a strong suit. Sport and comedy will have to remain the poorer for my early golf retirement. I’d rather be out not spoiling a good walk, and enjoy smelling the flowers. Almost every day when we’re out and about, Scout reminds me of that and I’d be wise to listen.

Smell the flowers

Being on the back nine isn’t so bad, if you can convince yourself you’re wiser for being older and that having hair on top of your head is overrated. We’re all headed for the nineteenth, might as well enjoy it, water hazards, sand traps and all, before getting there…

Close to the end!

Thanks for reading, and wherever you are on the course, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

“Smell the flowers!”
Scout and friend doing the right thing

Published by


I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

16 thoughts on “The back nine?”

  1. I’m not a golfer, Adam, but your life-as-a-golf-game metaphor is interesting, even without a stop at the brewery. St. Andrews is a picturesque, historical location, certainly. And the image of the Swilken Bridge helps an old “back-niner” like myself transcend the game to an older time when youth was calling. And it sure is good to have Scout & friends as company– to remind us where to stop & sniff at life’s bright colors. Thanks for another fine report!


    1. Thanks, Walt! Not much of a golfer now – or ever – but I understand why many enjoy the game. I think I prefer it as a metaphor, and Jet said it well when commenting that at least we’re still on the course! The back nine is always the best stretch…


  2. So I believe you are referring to the “back nine” as the latter years of one’s life. Beautiful scenery, love the pastel buildings beside the harbour, the texture of the stones and the dogs look very content. Enjoy your walks. In my older age, I think it would be nice to go to the countries of my roots and discover the history there.


    1. Thanks, Jane! Yes, a wobbly golf as life metaphor…
      If you get the opportunity to visit Scotland and around, you’d likely love the trip. Such beautiful country and interesting history to explore.


  3. Really enjoyed your philosophical ponderings of the “back nine,” PC. Better to be on the back nine than not on the course at all. Also enjoyed your photo of the Swilkin Bridge at St. Andrews; I know nothing about it but I find that bridge so very cool. Great photo of the boats, too. Lovely post, my friend.


    1. Thanks, Jet – I burst out laughing about better to be on the course than not at all! How right you are!
      The bridge is quite lovely, and very well known to golfers the world over – it was fun to see.
      I hope you’re having a pleasant Saturday!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved the photos and musings and now that I’m thinking about the “back nine” in a new way today, from now on I’m only golfing the front nine (or maybe skipping the golf altogether) and enjoying an extended stay in the clubhouse with a cool beverage or two saving myself from losing years and years lost in sand traps! Because for some reason all this middle age wisdom still hasn’t given me some important answers and the right golf swing when I need it! One of my favorite golf tournaments to watch is the British Open (could be an interesting finish to the tournament today) and have always dreamed of golfing at St. Andrews and a few other favorites and love the photographs you captured. Thank god after that sobering beginning you had me smiling by the end with the adorable photo of wise Scout and her friend.


    1. Thank you! I think the trick might be to be on the course and guilty of slow play (and too many shots!) – enjoy the scenic and slow route, sand traps and all. Failing that, your clubhouse and cold beverage approach should work.
      It was great fun to “walk the course” at St. Andrews, and I’m sure it’s way harder to play than it looks. Links courses are deceptive, as I’ve found over the years, with a high cost in lost golf balls and – whisper it – even a golf club or two hurled in temper. Not cool…
      Much better for the blood pressure to be hanging out with Scout!
      Very happy to see Shane Lowry keep his cool and win today.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Not a golfer myself (I’m saving that for when I can’t walk anymore) but I greatly enjoyed your tour of the venerable course and town, Adam. Swinging the clubs might be a nice way to show out my own time on the back nine, but for now I’m sticking to putt-putt, which, I’ll add, tests my skill level far more than I care to admit. The parting shot of Scout and friend is great, by the way.


    1. Bob, I think you’d like wandering the Old Course and town, even if you’re not a golfer. And if you do take up the game at some point, this is a pretty good place to lose a few golf balls! (My worst and best golf scores come from putt-putt – if you’re good with a putter, that saves more shots than any other club!)


    1. Thanks, Wayne! Whenever I play, and that’s hardly ever these days, it’s all about the search!
      I have to confess, the last shot was sent to us – Scout (and friend) playing to the camera!
      Hope all is well with you. Won’t be this coming weekend, not with the excitement of Ukee Days to keep us entertained, but maybe the following Saturday we’ll head up to Tofino, check in with you if you’re at the market.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s