By Alex Narey
Question for all golfers who have played the Old Course: what did you do to commemorate your visit and your round?
Did you buy some logo golf balls from the pro shop?
Everyone gets themselves a ball-marker...
Perhaps you paid over the odds for a course planner...
Or maybe you went all out and bought an official club tie...
Well, you may have done all of those things, but one thing we have all done is take a group photograph on the famous Swilcan Bridge as we begin that final walk up the 18th fairway.
Such is its rite of passage that from the minute you tee off, thoughts are already turning to that iconic moment some four hours later.
It’s the same wherever you go, with many of the world's best courses having a suitable landmark that, accompanied with a photo, will confirm your presence.
Sawgrass’s 17th hole; Oakmont’s Church Pews bunker; the ‘Warning Sign’ at Bethpage Black; ‘Putter Boy’ statue at Pinehurst; the entrance to Magnolia Lane at Augusta; Turnberry's lighthouse.
But what if you want to take a little more than just a memory and a photo if you are looking to play at St Andrews?
Kansas golfer Dan Young did just that, and has started scooping up his divots from famous courses he has played!
Yep, Divots! Big ones, small ones, but not just any old ones.
They're all bagged up and displayed neatly on his wall back home.
Young’s quirky hobby began five years ago when a friend of his was heading to play Augusta National.
“I haven’t always collected divots,” Young says, who has been playing golf since the age of ten.
“My friend was going to Augusta and I asked him to grab me a divot as a joke … and he did."
“That’s how it all started. I have a friend who has also started doing it now.
“But I don’t really see it as quirky.”
Young – who also has a collection of Ping putters – says he only takes divots from famous tracks, although pride of place among his growing collection is a piece of turf from Prairie Trails Golf Club, which is his home club in El Dorado, Kansas.
On a recent visit to Scotland, as well as the Old Course, Young swept up divots from the Jubilee, Carnoustie and Royal Troon.
In fact, such is the prestige of the turf at St Andrews that Young actually has two divots from the Old Course.
“I played there, so I have one, and my brother brought me one, too.” he says.
While his habit for taking home his divots has raised a few eyebrows – with some people on social media questioning anyone’s right to sneak a piece of the golf course into their bag – there can be little argument that his idea is truly groundbreaking. Quite literally.
And next year, Young plans to add to his collection – that also includes Whistling Straits and Bandon Dunes – when he heads over to Ireland for a golfing trip in 2022!
Royal County Down, Portrush and Portmarnock – greenkeepers beware!
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