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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July 2005, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
St Andrews - A galah's guide
By Matt Slater
Golf editor

Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Club
Is this for the good of the greens or a more general health warning?
Membership of the Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Club in South Australia brings many benefits.

Use of the members' dunny, ripper tee times, somewhere shady to park your ute...oh, and reciprocal rights to play at St Andrews.

There can't be too many things that link the Opal Capital of the World with the Home of Golf, but a CPOFGC membership card is one of them.

And Opal Fields is the only club in the world to have such an arrangement with the famous Fife links.

So to help CPOFGC members overcome the shock of actually playing on grass, and extend the hand of friendship to our Commonwealth cousins, we have decided to prepare a short guide to playing at St Andrews.

THE DRIVE

The drive
Just as it is Down Under, canny use of the big stick is absolutely crucial at St Andrews.

Split the fairway and your ball will roll and roll towards the hole. Hook or slice it and you could find yourself on another course, or the beach.

If you do miss the fairway, you will have to play it as you find it or take the penalty.

On the positive side, however, rattle snakes and exposed mine shafts are like sunburn in Scotland - relatively unlikely.

THE APPROACH

Having hammered the ball into position A on the fairway, you're now sitting pretty.

Ignore the jumbucks grazing in the fields - that kind of thing is frowned upon by the Pommies, anyway - and attack the pin.

But remember, stopping a ball on these hard-baked greens ain't easy.

Many local experts opt for a bump-and-run, which may sound like something you'd try on a Sheila at the Desert Cave underground bar, but is in fact a legitimate links shot.

THE TRAPS

St Andrews is rightly famous for its deep, sand-filled bunkers.

Coming from a course that it is famous for crater-filled, sand-covered fairways, you should be fine.

But if you do find yourself in a bunker, don't be a drongo: take your medicine and get back on the green stuff.

Only someone with a kangaroo loose in the top paddock would try anything fancy from St Andrews' bunkers.

THE PUTT

Everybody knows driving's for show, putting's for dough - it's no different here.

And while there's no need to pour oil on St Andrews' greens to stop them blowing away, the putts here are pretty slick.

If you pick the right line and get a good roll on the ball, you'll be left grinning like a shot fox.

Make a blue and you'll be as mad as a cut snake.

THE 19TH HOLE

The Scots like nothing better than a few schooners of the amber nectar after a round, so you should fit right in.

But you'll have to leave your cook and ankle biters at home if you want a drink in the clubhouse.

And remember to wear your best strides - trakkie daks and bathers are banned.

Yabbering on about your round is perfectly legitimate, swerving your round at the bar isn't. It only encourages the locals.


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