Do you have Claret Dreams? Those of us who love the game, its history and its homeland certainly do, and that love is detailed in Tim Alpaugh’s work — from his book “Claret Dreams” to his artistic craftsmanship of wooden golf tools like no other (found at his @claretdreamer account on Instagram).
As Scotland Week continues, Alpaugh joins “Talking GolfGetaways” co-hosts Darin Bunch and Mitch Laurance for a conversation about his travels along the east coast of the country — and we promise it’s a conversation that will whet your adventuring appetite, entice your inner historian and even tug at your hickory heartstrings as he recalls a memorable personal interaction with a St. Andrews staff member.
Tim opens the episode talking about “Claret Dreams” — a story that connects the history of golf through generations, using a set of hickory clubs passed down from Old Tom Morris’ day to a modern golfer. Tim’s own connection to hickory golf started after writing the book, and he talks about how he began what is now a flourishing business restoring hickory clubs by teaching himself the skill bringing history back to life.
Alpaugh has traveled to Scotland on a couple of occasions. On the advice of a friend who told him to stay in one spot as a “home base” and play surrounding courses, Tim settled in St. Andrews for his first visit, playing the Old Course, New Course, Eden Course, Crail, Elie, Craigielaw, and a wonderful nine-hole hickory course called Kingarrock. He talks about the special qualities of the neighboring courses in St. Andrews, and why they’re so worth playing in addition to the more well-known tracks.
On his second trip, Tim forged more of a bucket-list-style path, playing Gullane, Muirfield and North Berwick in East Lothian first, then heading north to Cruden Bay, Brora and Dornoch before returning to the Old Course once again. He details his stay at the Links House in Dornoch and explains why it is one of the most surprising and best customer-service experiences he’s ever had (including calling him in advance to ask what type of bedding he’d like on arrival). And he also offers info on 5 Pilmoure, a “cozy little boutique” bed-and-breakfast up the street from the iconic Dunvegan Hotel, and highly recommended for its great pricing compared to the more well-known St. Andrews hotels. His recommendation for Cruden Bay? Stay at Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, which offers a connection to Bram Stocker’s “Dracula” origins.
Tim finishes this detailed Scotland Week episode with a couple of wonderful stories about bridging generations of people through hickory golf clubs (he and Darin share a deep respect for local Gullane legend Archie Baird).
It’s an episode full of wonderful information from Tim Alpaugh, a man who is clearly passionate about Scotland and all it’s given him — as well as all that he’s giving back to the game of golf through preserving and restoring its history.
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“Talking GolfGetaways with Mitch Laurance & Darin Bunch” is sponsored by PacificGales.com and can be found on GolfNewsNet.com and across the Golf News Net platform. New episodes post daily, five days per week (for the most part), and “Talking GolfGetaways” is also available on audioBoom, iTunes and Stitcher.
Follow us @GetawaysGolf and @MitchLaurance on Twitter, and use #TalkingGolfGetaways and (most importantly during Scotland Week) #2HaggisBags to hit us with your favorite places to play, stay, eat and more — plus any personal hickory stories you might want to share with us.