Jimmy Laydens 2014 Blog
Jim Layden's 2014 Father & Daughter Blog
It's that time of year again. 68 degrees, mostly cloudy, and a chance of rain. In Southern California it happens only a few times a year but in Ireland it's perfect golfing weather. In Los Angeles you actually feel entitled to good weather but that just seems wrong and selfish as I look at Ireland's Eye from the deck at Sutton Golf Club. As my good friend Marty likes to say "It only rained twice this week. Once for three days and once for four days!". That my friends is called perspective. three_jackets4.jpg
This years Father/Daughter is all about perspective as I have the whole family here with me. I'm playing with Katie while Annie and Mary are playing in the adopted category. Joan is keeping a close eye on all of us. In a few short weeks we will be dropping Annie off at Boston College and officially will be empty nesters. I'm not sure what it all means but it's great with everyone's schedule to have this chance to be together!
Today is arrival day and a group of us headed out to Sutton Golf Club for dinner and a chance to see the Joe Carr Trophy Room. Three British Amateur titles, numerous Master's appearances, and 40 amateur titles is very impressive but I think the three jackets below are quite the collection. His Augusta, World Golf Hall of Fame, and jacket from being Captain of the R and A are an achievement that even today's great crop of Irish golfers will most likely not match. While I only met him well after his playing days were over I remember his enthusiasm for the game and his belief that friendships and life lessons were the real gifts the sport offered. That's the perspective I'm bringing with me to Kinsale tomorrow!
James "Tour Caddie" Layden
I love breakfast in Ireland! For me it all starts with the butter. I can't explain to you why it's different then our butter but I like it. I like it a lot. I'm telling you that brown bread drenched in butter is delicious. The white toast which is delivered on a toast rack is also damn good when you add the proper amount of, you guessed it, butter. Getting good scrambled eggs use to be very difficult in Ireland but I'm happy to report that problem seems to be solved and when you throw in Irish breakfast sausage which is just superior you've got quite a start to the day. My weight loss program is definitely in jeopardy.
Katie like her mother is a much more disciplined eater than I am and understands portion control. I on the other hand only understand portion shame but thanks to Katie's fine example I kept my butter intake below embarrassing but still in the highly satisfying category.
Off we went to the golf links with positive thoughts in our minds and love in our hearts. My previously mentioned wool dress slacks looked good with my Old Head shirt and cap. A fellow competitor loaned me a pair of shoes (thank you Liam) and I was styling. When we got to the range I was introduced to my rental set of very nice Titleist golf clubs and realized I was down one excuse before we even started.
Our warm up went well except for the fact that Katie didn't like the new driver I bought her. She would have preferred her old one but I didn't bring it. It got into her head and I think it cost us a few points. My bad.
There was a slight change in the tee times and we ended up playing with Marty and Julia Carr. There is a new golf star emerging in the Carr household as 13 year old Julia hit many impressive shots in between bossing her father around. Sister Sophie and Julia have great potential and I look forward to watching their games improve. Julia also didn't listen to her dad. I can't really blame her as she was only following the example set by her mother and I really can't blame Shelly because who wants to listen to Marty!
We had a great day and Katie was very consistent with her driver occasionally giving her a problem. Our putting left a little to be desired and we had a few bad holes at the same time but we finished with a very respectable 41 points. Marty as always was great company and Julia kept us very entertained. It does my heart good to see Marty having to deal with two young teenage daughters. He is going to have his hands full for the next few years and I would expect a few more gray hairs on his head. Don't worry Marty it's still better than losing your hair.
Broken down former Walker Cup and European Tour Player, Roddy Carr along with his daughter Sophie took the first day lead with a very impressive 50 points. All I can say is, Sophie must be really good!
We had a wonderful dinner at Finn's Table in the beautiful Village of Kinsale followed by pub night. The camaraderie was good and spirits were high as we entered The Folk House. This year the daughters stole the show. I am hoping Marty puts the video on the website because it is very impressive. Who knew that we had accomplished triangle, tambourine, maracas, and kazoo players as well as an underwater dancer. Katie's performance was quite impressive, Annie got the biggest laugh, and Mary's enthusiasm was contagious. (The Layden's like pub night) Peter Keighery did the Beatles proud and I closed out the night with a spirited version of Fields of Athenry. Wendy and Mike Foster we missed you!
Three sets of golf clubs and one piece of luggage arrived in Kinsale last night. Truth be told I was glad Annie's clothes made it as I think she was more frustrated than me. After all, I had my gray trousers as the Irish would say.
I am also ignorant to the mystical beautification process that is an essential skill for all women. I think they are beautiful just they way they are but I get that you just don't understand look when I tell them that. There is something ironic about telling the opposite sex they are beautiful and having them tell you that you're wrong! One of the best laughs I've had in the last few months was when my wife was absolutely dumbfounded when I told her that I don't use a moisturizer. It still makes me laugh and with the exception of Coppertone Sport I'm still not using a moisturizer. Outrageous! What a wild man I am. Sorry, I got off track.
It was very foggy when we arrived at the course. On the range we were hitting into the great unknown and when you are use to sunny Southern California it can be a bit unnerving. Katie and I were paired with Rocky and Hannah Downton from Alberta Canada. They could not have been nicer and the very athletic Hannah hit the ball an Alberta mile.
I got off to a very poor start. I was in my pocket on the first four holes due to a faulty driver that pulled hooked everything into the deep mist. I of course blame this on being able to use my own clubs. I'm a finely tuned athlete who is a feel player and switching from Titleist to Taylormade mid tournament is a lot to ask. It's like putting Ferrari parts into a McClaren. You know what I mean.
Thank goodness that Katie came to the rescue and kept us in the tournament. I know I mentioned this before but I just love Katie's attitude. She never gives up and keeps a smile on her face good or bad. Katie, I want to be like you when I grow up.
We did our best and had a few brilliant moments (Katie parred 16 for four points). When we were done the number added up to 38 points which is respectable but far short of what we were looking for.
My hero, Roddy Carr, like the wily Odysseus, had to play the last nine holes alone. He fought to the finish and fell one point shy. Homeric! Joining him in second were Liam and Hannah Reedy (Liam, thanks again for the shoes).
This year we truly turned into an international tournament as our winners were Italian. Up until this point we only had Irish and American winners but this year Massimiliano Perletti and his 13 year old daughter Vittoria finished in first place! Between her winning smile and his great acceptance speech it felt like a big time event.
I completely enjoyed hearing Roddy talk about the Carr's association with Old Head and having Mary Carr there made it extra special! Marty, moving to Kinsale was a good move. I heard a number of the girls say they wished it was one more day!
At some point I always think about playing with my dad in the Father/Son and what I wouldn't give to play one more hole with him. I think about my mom and what I wouldn't give for one more hug and to hear her reassuring words. Spectacular places do that to you. I just had three fantastic days with my beautiful family and at this moment I'm not looking back or forward but instead I pause just to be thankful for what I have! Thank you to my four beautiful girls. I love you.
Many thanks to my friends from Michigan,California, and NY who made the journey. I have badgered you for years and having you there made it very special. Admit it, I was right! Finally, as much as I hate to admit it, Marty, you are the man!!!!!!!
Same time next year, so reserve your spot now. Once people find out about this blog it surely will be a sell out.
James "Tour Caddie" Layden