It's Dornoch - and the sun's shining! Well it is now at 2 o'clock in the afternoon but let's say it was less than conspicuous first thing this morning when the players ventured into the wind coming at them down the first. Fair play however all of the tee shots went straight and true with only a single very conspicuous exception but more of that below.
There'll be plenty of time for thank you's later but every time you come to Dornoch you realise just how magnificent this golf course is. It may not have hosted an Open Championship but that is purely down to location. You never know perhaps global warming and Scotland's reported population growth may see Inverness become the capital of Scotland and a population in the Northern Belt of 3.5 million in a hundred years time celebrating Royal Dornoch's first Open!
Until then we can just be settled with the knowledge that it is the best course in Scotland never to have hosted an Open Championship.
And it also reminds me that if it wasn't for Dornoch and the support of it's club manager John Duncan that the Highland Golf Classic would have got even thus far. The recognition of John that Dornoch's involvement could assist the revenues and profile of nearby Golspie was instrumental in them being involved. They didn't necessarily need the business nor the coverage but knew that by collaborating they could contribute and make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.
If collaboration is the only way forward for all enterprise models (and it is) then understanding how this can be developed in tourism is critical for us all. We've seen the potential benefits recently with our involvement in Scotland's West Coast Golf Links with recognition that even the strongest can benefit in partnership with perceivid weaker partners. This principle has to underwrite the future of The Highland Golf Classic and we genuinely hope that the golf courses can come together to achieve the original objectives of all those years ago when we first teed the idea up at Inverness Castle.
Back to this morning; freezing!
No pretence of summer, not arguably even a hint of Spring. Just wintry winds. In a few short hours however the wind has died (slightly), clouds have lifted (slightly) and the temperature raised (slightly). It may even mean some of the golfers heading back onto the Struie this afternoon for an impromptu Texas Scramble.
And that first tee moment? Well it had to come from Stewart Spence's group and in the form of the irrepressible David Gillanders.
As stated above every tee shot this morning went straight and true - until David stepped up. And of course with the ladies tee sitting forty yards forward Mr Gillanders to the true, and clearly expressed, delight of his North East playing partners failed to pass the Ladies Tee. At this point Mr Spence was insistent that Rules are Rules and that the normal punishment for this misdemeanour should be taken... like a man! DG vanished into the pro shop where for all we know he fulfilled the requirements - I guess we'll never know. He vowed he'd secure his five... we'll let you know if he did!