So there I was sitting at Edinburgh Airport having just dropped Nina and Jim Sorenson off, and thinking how good it was going to be to have a couple of days off before I collect George Fisher and his friends from Loch Lomond on Tuesday. The phone rings and it is Roy Anderson from McLaren Travel, "where are you and what are you doing " ? Was the question. You know there are days when you should not answer the phone and this was one of them.
As usual with Roy life is never straight forward or simple, but in fairness he would never ask you to do something that he is not prepared to do himself, unlike some people I have worked for in the past ! His request was a simple one, "could I get to St Andrews and finish off the tour he was on as he had to be elsewhere on Saturday". The catch was the vehicle he wanted me to use was in Troon. Now for those of you who do not know the geography of Scotland Edinburgh and St Andrews are on the east coast, Troon is on the west coast !
So off I go 78miles to Troon, 120miles back to St Andrews getting there just in time to collect the information about where the guys were playing on Saturday and there departure time for Sunday. Here's what happened next.
The guys come off the eighteenth on The Old Course and go for a drink in The Dunvegan Hotel with Ron Smart, who owns Travelling The Fairways, the company they have booked with. They quickly introduce themselves to me and say they will not be long. Roy meanwhile sets off to Edinburgh Airport with one of the guys who has to leave early. Now bear in mind my day had started at 5am and it is now 6pm.
About thirty minutes later one of the guys comes out of The Dunvegan and asks to be taken to the hotel and tells me by the time I get back the others should be ready to leave. So off we go out of town to The Fairmont Hotel, nice hotel but just too far out of town to enjoy the atmosphere of St Andrews. When I get back the others eventually appear and they want a ride to The Balaka restaurant, a grand total off 300 yards ! They then ask if I would wait until they have finished eating and take them back to the hotel. Not tonight gentlemen, you can catch the hotel shuttle. The reason I couldn't do it was not because of my early start today but the time I had to pick the guys up the next morning, 7am. According to the laws of the land there has to be a minimum of 9hours between finish and start, failure to follow these rules result in a criminal prosecution. So if your driver ever tells you he cannot do something it is not because he doesn't want to help.
7am the next morning I'm outside the hotel but they are not, when they do eventually appear there were some serious hangovers on view. There tee time was 7.54am on The Castle Course only five minutes away so no real problem. When we get there they were in for a nasty surprise. They thought they had ordered seven caddies, but somewhere along the way the request was not passed on, so no caddies, a nightmare course and a serious hangover. When you drive a group around checking that the caddies are in place is normally something you do the day before. I didn't pick the guys up till 6.30pm so the caddy office would have been closed, Roy assumed everything was in place because it had been everywhere else. Ron said he had made the request and The Links Trust said he hadn't. Not that any of this mattered at this point. Also when you do request caddies there is no guarantee that you will get any.
One of the guys had a tantrum that had to be seen to be believed ! Now I don't mind doing Roy a favour but putting up with that crap no ! Fair play to the man when I came back to collect them at lunchtime he did apologise and a very good one it was too. He said "he was hungover and behaved like a jerk", I said "no problem and thanks for the apology, but if you ever open your mouth and speak to me like that again we will go around the back of the building and there the issue will be resolved". Next stop a 2.20pm and 2.30pm tee tmes at Kingsbarns. As we set of for Kingsbarns he viewed me with great suspicion and I don't blame because believe me I would have kept my word.
Kingsbarns went well the caddies were in place and the guys loved the course, and once again my new friend repeated his apology. After a few beers it was back to their hotel as they were leaving for Glasgow Airport at 5am, thanks again for that Roy. After the debacle of Saturday morning they were all up and ready to leave on Sunday on time and sober. When we got to the airport at 7am I have to say the guys were very generous with their respect for my two days work, for that I thank them.
Tomorrow I'm off to Loch Lomond to collect another No Traps group and we move on to St Andrews. So we will spend the next seven days following the exploits of the George Fisher Party.