Mercedes-Benz 4x4 Golf Drive to The Open: Day 3

Windy Saturday still proved an action-packed affair

Rob Smith
An unlikely holder of the Claret Jug: GM's Rob Smith

Day 3 of Rob Smith's and reader Chris Walker's amazing Mercedes-Benz roadtrip was due to focus on the Old Course action, but the Golfing Gods had other ideas

All aboard the Mercedes- Benz GLEs for the drive to St Andrews

All aboard the Mercedes- Benz GLEs for the drive to St Andrews

After their own competitive golf on Thursday and Friday, the weekend was time for GM's Rob Smith and reader Chris Walker to see how it should really be done on the Old Course.

It is hard to imagine a more pleasurable or indeed luxurious way to travel to St Andrews than an hour-long drive putting the all-new Mercedes GLE and GLE Coupe through their paces.

For Chris and Rob, it was hard to decide whether to be more impressed by the striking appearance of their cars, which gained admiring looks throughout the journey, or the detailed and stylish interior which contains every imaginable aid to the driver and passengers, even down to the cup holders with their built-in heater/cooler for whatever drink you have with you.

Finding out all about sustainability and environment-friendliness

Finding out all about sustainability and environment-friendliness

For the writers in each team, the morning was spent with their Mercedes hosts in a workshop with The R&A which was chaired by the governing body’s director of golf course management, Steve Isaac.

Both Mercedes and The R&A are working extremely hard on sustainability and lowering any carbon footprint, with the aerodynamic designs of some of the latest models cutting fuel consumption by up to 30 percent.

Greenlinks looks at how to protect nature throughout Major Championships while also catering for the massive crowds that visit such events, minimising waste and re-using materials wherever possible.

With Mercedes’ long-term goal of zero-emission driving, the two have much in common and will be working closely together for the benefit of all.

And the winner of the Claret Jug is... not GM's Rob Smith

And the winner of the Claret Jug is... not GM's Rob Smith

A personal highlight for Rob was that following the workshop, he finally managed to get his hands on the Claret Jug, somewhat eclipsing his 6th place finish in the June medal at his home club, Tandridge.

Precious little golf took place on a ferociously windy Saturday

Precious little golf took place on a ferociously windy Saturday

The big disappointment of the day was that the ferocious winds meant play was restricted almost entirely to the evening. This caused much speculation over the timings of the event, with Golf Monthly pondering possible new ways to deal with the delays.

Inevitably pace of play was again a major subject for discussion although under the circumstances, speed was not really the issue. Impressively, this did not seem to deter the crowds who filled the stands on the practice ground and had a great time exploring the tented village.

Reader Chris Walker poses for the cameras beside the 18th

Reader Chris Walker poses for the cameras beside the 18th

Following a photo opportunity for Chris alongside the closing hole, there was a further treat for the pair with an early dinner with their new friends from Germany, Spain and Italy in the spacious Rocca Restaurant that is part of the Rusacks Hotel lining the 18th fairway.

Watching on the big screen in the Rocca Restaurant at Rusacks

Watching themselves and the action on the big screen in the Rocca Restaurant at Rusacks

There, they enjoyed the novel concept of seeing the restaurant they were in on television, just as the final groups walked past at the end of a very long day.

The sun sets on a 'different' third day at the Old Course

The sun sets on a 'different' third day at the Old Course

As the sun descended over the grandstands on what turned out to be a perfect summer evening in St Andrews, there was no doubt that despite the earlier frustrations caused by the wind, it had been a day very well spent indeed.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf


Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response