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Reminiscing what it used to be like at Open

I was trying to explain recently to a group of juniors how the professional game of golf has advanced over the years.

I mentioned my experiences of travelling to the 1971 British Open at Royal Birkdale.

I was a young assistant professional who just wanted to see the world’s top players up close but ended up earning £20 for the week as a caddie.

I found a bed and breakfast and took a bus to the tournament venue every day.

No caddie was allowed in the clubhouse and I remember well my initiation on the range, whereby every player brought along their own balls to hit.

After emptying his bag, I was told by my employer to walk out to around 120 yards with the empty bag. It was like going over the top in the battle of the Somme during World War I.

About 30 players were practising at any given time and all aiming at their caddies.

Balls were whizzing everywhere and there…

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