Bulldog's blog: How to prepare for St. Andrews
Friday, August 2, 2013
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – As a rule, any event played at "The Home of Golf" is a special one, and this week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open is no exception. Spending the day wandering around the Old Course, watching the women get used to the course has been interesting. The course is a lot less bouncy than it was just a few weeks ago, a combination of Mother Nature and the maintenance crew putting water on the course.
PHOTOS: Castle Course, near St. Andrews
As the Ricoh Women's British Open began, Alex Miceli squeezed in a round at Castle Course.
A concern in slowing the course down is the fact that the wind could come up and a hole such as No. 11, the par 3 at the back of the property, could get a little out of control.
In preparation for my "On The Range" show on Golf Channel, I got to talk to a lot of the women this week about their preparation for the Old Course. It seems some took different routes in getting here.
Japan's Ai Miyazato went to Sweden and, with coach Pia Nilsson, worked four days on the only natural links course in Sweden: Torekov Golf Club.
England's Charley Hull and New Zealand's Lydia Ko decided to use local caddies.
In talking with the equipment guys this week on the range, I found out most of the pre-tournament practice by players this week was happened on the course. There was little time spent on the range.
During the buildup to the first round, I had an opportunity to see the Castle Course again.
Many people have been critical of the Castle (they say the greens are a little over the top), but since the course opened in 2008, some of the greens have been softened and the course has become fun. It’s also hard to beat the views of St. Andrews and the coastline along St. Andrews Bay.
The course was in great shape and plays like a links course even though it is built on farmland.
It is hard to believe all the great options for golf presented to any St. Andrews visitor. In addition to the courses at St. Andrews, you can go outside of town, where Castle and Kingsbarns come into play in the East Neuk. Drive farther out and you’re greeted by Crail and many others.
As I’m sitting here in the media center, we just heard that Stacy Lewis finished with a 5-under 67 and Inbee Park just doubled the 16th hole to drop from 5 under to 3 under.
Still, there’s a long way to go in this championship. A quick look at Park in the majors this year reveals she has 54 birdies, 25 bogeys and one double bogey, which occurred in the first round at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, when she doubled the 18th hole in the first round.
Clearly she has a history of recording a double and getting it back in the end.