Mr. Multitasker: Amid the “homework,” I manage to squeeze in two rounds of golf

Mr. Multitasker: Amid the “homework,” I manage to squeeze in two rounds of golf

Home with a View -- Here's a shot of our the neighbor's place (Floors Castle where the Duke of Roburgh, allegedly the wealthiest man in Scotland, resides) from our garden. I wonder if he takes pictures of our home?

Home with a View -- Here's a shot of our the neighbor's place (Floors Castle where the Duke of Roburgh, allegedly the wealthiest man in Scotland, resides) from our garden. I wonder if he takes pictures of our home?

My “homework” is far from done. And given that we’ve taken up residence in an empty house and our belongings won’t arrive for another three weeks yet, it won’t be any time soon.

So it’s high time I got back on the golf course. After all, isn’t that one of the big reasons I made this move? I am very happy to report that, with a bit of creativity, I managed to squeeze in two rounds in the past four days amid multiple trips to auction houses, antique stores, IKEA and the local “superstores”—not to mention tending to the day job.

MOT and KGC

The first came on Thursday at my new hometown’s local track, Kelso Golf Club. In this case, “track” is definitely the appropriate term as the club’s routing is fully intertwined with the Kelso Racecourse. As you make your way, several holes are adjacent to or incorporated with a grass track made even more challenging with several hurdles that the horses must clear en route to the finish line. Given my journey in recent months, I can fully relate.

Sweet Swede -- We're now the proud owners of this 2006 Volvo V50. And, yes, the golf clubs fit very comfortably in the boot (UK for trunk).

Sweet Swede -- We're now the proud owners of this 2006 Volvo V50. And, yes, the golf clubs fit very comfortably in the boot (UK for trunk).

Score this one a victory for multitasking. One of the items near the top of our “must do” list was to purchase a car to minimize the cost of renting one. Fortuitously, we found exactly what we were looking for—a 2006 Volvo V50 compact estate (UK for station wagon)—being offered up by a charming middle aged couple that owns a interior decorating shop in town. Change of ownership here requires the buyer to “get an MOT,” which is short for a Ministry of Transportation inspection—somewhat akin to a Smog Check procedure back in California. The sellers recommended Watson’s Garage for the task. When I dropped by to make an appointment, I couldn’t help but notice that the Kelso Golf Club was a very short walk away. So when I returned the next day, I brought my sticks along with me and played a round while the mechanic did his work. Also fortunate: I essentially had to course to myself, so I was able to cruise the full 18 in just 2.5 hours.

That’s the good news. The less than good? Kelso Golf Club isn’t exactly Scotland’s finest when it comes to golf courses. Unlike links that are cut in and among grass-covered sand dunes, this layout is set on turf that—quite frankly—is probably better suited for cattle than golfers. But given that it’s encircled by the racecourse, what else were they going to do with it? Just 5,614 yards from the yellow (member) tees. Minimal elevation changes. Holes set mostly parallel to one another, so not much variation in the wind angles. Conditioning that’s acceptable but nothing to write home about. Then again, whenever the Volvo needs tending, I can’t beat the location!

Truth be told, it was exactly what I needed to reacquaint myself with my golf swing after nearly a three-week layoff. Some cobwebs had definitely begun to form, which I managed to knock off during my quick spin around this 128-year-old club’s course.

Racing Around the Course -- The Kelso Golf Club fits within the Kelso Racecourse's infield. I raced around my first tour of that track in a little over two hours.

Racing Around the Course -- The Kelso Golf Club fits within the Kelso Racecourse's infield. I raced around my first tour of that track in a little over two hours.

Giving Goswick a Go

It was also a helpful prelude to yesterday’s round at Goswick Golf Club, a James Braid gem about a 40-minute drive from Kelso just on the other side of the Scotland-England border. Two of my friends here—Duncan and Mark—are members there, so it was your basic no-brainer to follow in their footsteps. Both were away playing in an open competition at another course. But Duncan called ahead on my behalf to: 1) alert the club pro of my interest in submitting an application; and 2) letting their regular Sunday group know that I wished to join their game. So, in yet another nod to multitasking, I initiated my membership process and got to play a first rate links course with a cadre of welcoming and entertaining lads, all in one fell swoop.

It was a very good afternoon. Though, alas, I’m not sure Bill, my partner would agree. My game largely collapsed in a 35-mph wind, leaving him to fend off our opponents, Keith and Johnny, mostly single-handedly. Thanks to his par with a stroke at 18, we managed to avoid a clean sweep. Though I should note that my gambling losses were more than offset by the hospitality of two beers and lively conversation in the clubhouse afterwards. It was a most excellent transaction, all told.

So as I drove back to Kelso in my newly registered vehicle amid the picture postcard Scottish Borders, I couldn’t help but give thanks. My shaky golf game notwithstanding, there’s no place on the planet I’d rather be.

Now, with golf back in the mix, I am most definitely at home!

Southerness Smackdown: I compete in a medal, confirming my game lacks mettle

Southerness Smackdown: I compete in a medal, confirming my game lacks mettle

I Made It! The 5,000-mile trek complete, now my real Scottish journey can begin

I Made It! The 5,000-mile trek complete, now my real Scottish journey can begin