THE BULLET POINTS FOR THE ATTENTION IMPAIRED:
The six guys will dip their balls and clubs in the eastern sea then tee off from the eastern shore of Scotland (*Skinflats (Lat 56.045393, Long -3.727986)) on June 21 at 5:23 AM Greenwich Mean Time (precisely at Summer Solstice). After ~10,000 or so strokes between them, 5 days later they will arrive on the western shore, Sunday June 25 (Ardmore (Lat 55.967689, Long 4.702087)). We’ll hit the same ball we first hit 5 days earlier into the western sea, dip our clubs again, have a smoke and scotch and find our way to a road.
- We are playing 2 balls non-stop, 3 guys alternating shots on one ball, 3 guys on another. The teams will change daily for sure, possibly even several times each day. We may even break into 3, 2 man teams or play our own ball from time to time. But we’ll always be tracking the two balls. Our best guess: 3,500 to 4,500 strokes per ball in play.
- Roughly 50 miles over 5 days, countless ruins on the way, a few hills, a couple swamps, we cross surprisingly many golf courses (we’ll snarf around to reload golf balls as we do), many fields, a handful of towns, along an ancient Roman artillery road, and more. We researched 4 other magnificent routes but those all ranged from 65 to 135 miles across more challenging terrain and we decided not to risk setting ourselves up for failure. We also considered camping versus B&Bs, but chose against it for the same reason.
- We hope to meet dozens of people along the way, hear many stories, tell many others.
- Day 1: Play alongside a castle and a Folly, Arrive in Stirling. Day 2: Play through Gargunnock and arrive at Kippen. Day 3: Play through forests and estates to Balfron/Balfron Station. Day 4: Dodge lochs and cars, through Drymen to Balloch. Day 5: Play through abandoned abbeys and farmlands to the end of Ardmore Peninsula; then go play an actual golf course nearby (Cardross).
We’ve created rules governing play and behavior. We have many of the most important rules printed on T-shirts.
- When coming within 100 yards of a pub, stopping for a pint is a requirement.
- When a shot could cause harm or danger and chipping around the obstacle is not feasible, players can choose to throw the ball, pace off 10 steps and drop the ball, drop a foam ball instead, or a combination of these but with a penalty. We call this a ‘Kilt-up’.
- Balls can be moved or fluffed up to 12” in any direction (we call this maneuver a ‘Cock-up’). We have other ideas we may try, like scrambles, games where we make rules (like quarters), points for hitting into certain circumstances…this concept has never been tried since probably the time of gouff's creation so we’ll be tweaking as necessary. Also, once per day a Mulligan Extreme! can be taken and once per trip, each person is allowed to make a course correction (maybe to hit to something weird in the distance, because they are thirsty for a pint, whatever).
- Balls must be marked with our logo and custom poker-chips decals will be lost or left on the field of play for future lucky indigenous peoples to find and report where they found them on this site. See FOUND A RELIC tab.
- While Scotland allows anyone to cross anyone else’s property, we’re going to be as respectful as possible. We’ll be carrying cuts of turf mats to be placed down when needed (in vegetable gardens for example :-).
We'll be carrying most of what we need on us, forwarding the bulkier stuff on to the next B&B each morning via the present B&B owner.
- We each have a single adjustable club (collapses to 14”, extends to 42”, adjusts from a putter head loft to a 3 iron) and we share a collapsible driver. These are truly quality clubs! See Divnick Golf.
- We have golf balls with chips in them and 3 trackers (radargolf). We’re supposed to be able to find a ball with a radar device when we are within 30 yards of it...which experience proves is more like 12 feet though which is probably why we found these $550 devices on Ebay for $30 each and the company is now out of business.
- Other gear includes: Wrist and finger counters that will track swings, balls lost and pints drank, we’re considering loading up a pull cart (and abandoning it if it becomes too burdensome), everyone will have a backpack with their own stuff and stuff we’ll be parsing out items to each person (such as a first aid kit, ball retriever, golf ball stampers, speaker, telescope, drone, go pro, a hiking GPS, etc.).
- We have put our logos on shirts, hats, a rain suit, balls, poker chips, pull-overs, etc. Also, the day's captain (the gouffer in charge of plotting and researching a given day's leg) will be wearing a very nice 'sport utility' kilt.
Our website will allow people to follow us live-time. We’ll be streaming, we’ll have tracking devices on, we’ll be updating the site with stats and log entries each day, and more. The website is also how donations are taken, golf balls and other relics are tracked, facilitates how word gets out, etc.
- The charity is The Shepherd’s Crook (a 501(c)(3)). Their primary mission is to find permanent loving families for orphans with special needs. This organization unites remarkable families with special children and will often help them financially before and after the fact if necessary. www.TSCorphans.org. Amazing people. The founders have 4 of their own children (2 with disabilities) and adopted another 13 themselves.
- Donations are made via several options: Option 1: Simple donation. Option 2: Donate $X cents per stroke. Option 3: Split the pot – guess how many golf balls the whole group will lose plus how many pints the group will drink (basically guess how many jellybeans are in the jar). Option 4: Upon registering your preference with each, Amazon, Kroger, Target, and other entities will give ~.5% of your purchases to The Shepherd's Crook.
- THE GARGUNNOCK: Mythos has been built around it. It hates things in 3s – avoid at all cost. Thistle – it’s like garlic to vampires for them; if we see it, we must brush against it (and best carry around some with us). I’d say more, but the Gargunnock mustn’t be discussed (it's probably on our website every hour).
FINALLY, THE OFFICIAL QUASI-ROYAL AND NOT-SO-ANCIENT GENTLEMEN GOUFFERS OF GARGUNNOCK RULES OF PLAY:
1.0. When any competitor passes within 100 yards of a pub and a ball in in play, the entire group must stop for a pint.
1.1. When entering an establishment, your ball must be marked and then precisely replaced once they have resumed play.
PLAY AND MERCIFUL EXCEPTIONS:
2.0. Foam Up (known in Scotland as a 'Kilt-Up'): If a competitor deems a shot unsafe or ill-advised but wants to avoid a penalty, the player may choose to play their Foam Ball until the danger is abated.
2.1. A one (1) stroke penalty applies in the following circumstances:
* A ball has been lost (the dropped ball will be placed in the vicinity the ball was last seen or where it last crossed an inaccessible area).
* It has been deemed unsafe, unwise, rude (garden or crop damage) or idiotic to hit from where the ball lies; the ball may then be "Distanced":
* Thrown to where the competitor hopes to be able to play it.
* The competitor can take up to 10 paces and then safely drop the ball (1 stroke for every 10 paces)
2.1.a. Jail (Gaol) Break: A two (2) stroke penalty applies when the competitor takes up to 10 paces and then throw the ball to where the competitor hopes to be able to play it (2 strokes), or vice versa.
2.1. The competitor may, for any reason and without penalty, roll the ball up to 12" in any direction (to 'Cock It').
2.2. If the competitor deems a ball virtually incapable of being advanced, the competitor may - without penalty, do either, but not both (see 2.1.a. above) of the following:
* Fluff or tee the ball up.
* Drop the ball 2 paces in any direction.
2.2.a. Do the same if the competitor deems a shot to be unsafe or highly ill-advised.
2.3. <certain formats> If a player falls behind by more than 5 minutes, that player can choose to take a five (5) stroke penalty, pick up their ball, and Run (non-stop) to the group and drop their ball.
2.4. -future use-
3.0. Mulligan Extreme (later to be named after the player judged to have the most misses/duffs during the trip): Once per day, each competitor is allowed to count as 1 shot all the shots they have taken in a given temper-tantrum swing-fest. Said MU has the following stipulations:
* The total distance of any given shot can not have gone more than approximately 30 yards.
* The aggregate swing time, from first to last, can be no more than 60 seconds.
===> Royal & Ancient Rules Governing Golf; USGA Rules of Golf
=>Gentlemen Gouffers of Gargunnock Rulings of 2017.
===> Scotland Land Act 1650; Scotland Trespass Act of 1865; Land Reform Act of 2003
=>Applicable only to lodging, occupatin & encampment.
=> Codifies into Scots law the right to universal access to land.