Leave Trolleys Here For Spion Kop

Just a quick note of introduction: I wrote this feature in the summer of 2008 for Travel + Leisure Golf. It was scheduled to run in the May/June 2009 issue–which turned out to be one issue too late. I want to thank my friend Oliver Pilcher, who traveled with me on this assignment, for his superb work in photographing the story, and my wife Megan for the layout to tie it all together.

Click the link below to view the feature in pdf format:



6 comments for “Leave Trolleys Here For Spion Kop”

  1. Inspired piece, Tom. The reference went right over my head, that’s for sure, and I’ve played both Crowborough Beacon and Balcomie Links. May have to excavate for the cards to see how I did on the Spion Kops.

    Posted by Tom Bedell | April 20, 2010, 11:33 am
  2. The Boer War reference is great. I suspect that many of us in the design field today would be inclined to bounce off such a feature as many differing ways as possible. Taking the hilltop head-on expressed true variety in itself!

    Posted by David Zinkand | April 24, 2010, 4:09 pm
  3. What a great story! Reminds me of the original cover of Golf in the Kingdom with the flag flying on top of hill. I asked Michael Murphy if Golf in the Kingdom took place in Crail. He said no, it took place in St Andrews – on the Old Course. But in my mind it will always be Crail. I can totally imagine Seamus McDuff living in a cave under the sixteenth. And scoring a hole in one there in the moonlight with a baffing spoon would be the ultimate.

    Posted by John Dunn | June 13, 2010, 10:14 am
  4. I hadn’t peeked in for a while, but what a pleasure to find this article when I did return. Some golf, some travel and some history—all tied up in a neat package enhanced by great photos.

    Thanks for posting, Tom.

    Posted by Mike T. | July 22, 2010, 7:38 am
  5. I loved Travel & Leisure Golf. I miss that publication very much. Nice piece, the kind of story you won’t normally find in other golf publications; more’s the pity.

    Posted by Joe Franceski | August 19, 2010, 6:37 pm
  6. We also have a ‘Spion Kop’ at Cork Golf Club, Ireland. There was a large British Army presence in Ireland in the early part of the 20th century. Many members of CGC at that time would have had Army connections. Thus the 6th hole, with a lump of limestone bewteen the tee and the fairway, was christened ‘Spion Kop’ after the Boer war battle. There was also a ‘Spion Kop’ Cup put up for competition at that time and it is still played for to this day.The hole is a short, but tricky, par four with a three-tier raised green. I had the pleasure of having a birdie putt, (which I missed!)there this morning and went on the clock up 37 pts Stableford for my round in the Cork Charity Cup. What a small world!

    Posted by G. A. Finn | September 7, 2011, 6:53 pm

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