While Britain, Germany and Sweden shivered through the winter months, playing conditions in Andalusía, the Canary islands and the Algarve were just about perfect. Portugal and Spain have long been favourites for northern Europeans seeking a holiday home on a golf course, and the pandemic has only accelerated the trend.
Whether you’re the next Tiger Woods or a poor man’s Happy Gilmore, there’s absolutely no excuse for any self-respecting golf enthusiast to chip balls on a driving range or navigate rickety windmills on a crazy golf course.
When Bobby Jones stepped onto the first tee of the Old Course for his opening drive of the 1927 Open, his place in the pantheon of St Andrews greats was far from assured. His first visit to the hallowed links six years earlier had ended in public ignominy.
Ian Poulter is one of several English players with realistic hopes of Open victory this year. He’s in the top 10 of the official World Golf Rankings, and has a soft spot for the Old Course. “I qualified for the 2000 Open at St Andrews through a regional qualifier and literally the day that tournament ended I went up there. I absolutely loved it.” It was the rookie 24-year-old’s maiden Open.