Unlike every other member of the Golf Monthly team, this is my first visit to Turnberry and indeed my first visit to the Open.
I can tell you, it is quite an experience.
It started last night when we were being driven to a party hosted by Hendricks Gin and the road we took was the coastal strip from Ayr towards Turnberry. The experience was something else.
The sun was beginning to set, the sea was tranquil, and from the lofted position I found in the editor’s Range Rover, I could see in the distance the famous lighthouse which juts out from the side of the quite stunning Turnberry Ailsa Course.
In the distance clearly visible was Ailsa Craig itself, which seemed to have its own climate as a heavy cloud had formed above it, even though we were under the clearest of skies.
The party at the Hendricks distillery was an excellent affair, with a hog roast, gin cocktails of course, and a nine-yard chipping challenge that was not as easy as it looked, as assistant editor Alex Narey shows here.
Today, my first visit to the course itself is also turning into an amazing experience. With fairways that are tight, and seem tighter with the grandstands the ability of these golfers shows why they are the ones playing, constantly finding the short stuff. However, the weather is superb as there is not a hint of wind, and any bad weather that nears the course see to by pass it. If they can’t find the short stuff on a day like today, then they are going to struggle if the wind starts to blow.
I was lucky enough to follow the Tom Watson, Sergio Garcia and Matteo Manassero group, and got to see Tom birdie the long par-5 17th. The 59-year-old outdriving Garcia… incredible!
The media centre is a hive of activity, with the desks filled with people busily typing away, interspersed by the odd interview when a player comes in off the course. The amount of work that goes on behind the scenes is something that you will never understand unless you are here in the flesh.
Well that’s the first 12 hours or so of my Turnberry ‘09 experience, can’t wait for the next 12.