I enjoyed a sense of total freedom very early in my life and I never lost the taste for it. At fourteen years of age my family packed up and went to Scotland for a six-week vacation. I stayed home in our country home and played golf every day. Cycling 16 miles a day to the golf club, I played from morning to night, slept and went back again. It was heaven. The only downside was the last mile or two of the ride was uphill and I was frequently tired before I even started on the 63 holes of golf I played each and every day — some 15 miles of walking.
That was the summer of 1977 and, to be honest, I did spend a couple of those weeks at friends’ houses. The following year was the same script. Then in 1979 my father came home and announced that he had just gotten a plum job in the city of his birth, Glasgow. So, we were going to move from Newport, Shropshire, 300 miles north to Scotland. Without a moment’s hesitation, I immediately declined. I had close friends, was on the club golf team and the county team, and was perfectly happy where I was.
After much debate, my parents agreed that my passion and dedication won. They moved north with my younger brother after parking our 15-foot, Thompson T-line caravan (trailer) in a field adjoining the golf course that happened to belong to one of our friends. There I spent two of the happiest years of my life living like a gypsy, playing golf all day and consuming vast qualities of cheese sandwiches, cherry cokes, and chocolate cake. That summer I logged over 700 rounds of golf in my diary, about 100 more than in the Guinness Book of Records, last time I checked.
I had no car and the nearest store was an eight-mile round trip. My teenage friends reacted with amazement and horror. For sure I had freedom but no one to cook and clean, no one to run me about. Didn’t I get scared alone in the woods at night? Wasn’t I lonely? Sure, occasionally both, but for the most part I was far too busy and physically drained each day to worry about anything except how I was going to play better tomorrow. It was sheer bliss: no rules, no parents, no boss, no job, no bills, no tax and complete clarity and focus on what I wanted from…