Golf could be the most confounding sport known to man.
Michael Jordan – one of the greatest athletes to ever live and the master of a slightly larger ball – once quipped that golf was the only sport that truly tested his limits as a competitor. Because the only person you’re really competing against is yourself. Mentally and physically, there’s nothing quite like the rollercoaster one experiences on the golf course.
But somehow, the beautifully frustrating game has stood the test of time, and its birthplace – St. Andrew’s, Scotland – still reigns supreme as the literal and metaphorical “Home of Golf,” a staggering five centuries beyond its inception circa1551 as the world’s first golf course.
It’s only natural, too, that such a well-established sport comes with baggage. Golf has its traditions and its rules, and to many casual athletes like myself, they might seem a bit archaic. Which is why I was quite surprised to see BOSS – a contemporary rebrand of the household name Hugo Boss – host a global takeover of the little Scottish town earlier this month with a hundred VIPs from around the world.
Actors, TikTok stars, world-champion free runners, photographers, rugby players, and golf influencers (not to mention the unlikely addition of myself) descended upon the prestigious Old Course to celebrate BOSS’ partnership with The Open, which is being held at the iconic links course for the competition’s 150th anniversary next month. Not the usual roster of individuals you’d normally expect to find at an exclusive invitational for a course like St. Andrews.
Now I’ve been to some extravagant events in my time at Boss Hunting, but I can confidently say that a complete takeover of the most coveted 18-holes in the world has to be one of the most impressive undertakings I’ve seen in recent memory. Everything from the star-studded roster – including Alvaro Morte, Schoolboy Q, James & Oliver Phelps and Lucien Laviscount – right down to the BOSS branded helicopter, Porsche fleet, and even the flags on the greens. This was no regular golf day.
None of which helped the nerves I had to battle while staring down the barrel of the first tee. Huge “I50” grandstands towered above me, boxing me in on all sides. Piercing eyes from hundreds of curious onlookers in my periphery cast their judgements on the “all the gear, no idea” fella standing on the tee box, wondering how the hell this bloke found himself in such a position. At least that made two of us.
Throw former Open winner Sandy Lyle into the entourage, hovering smugly next to the trophy that bears his name a few metres behind me, and I had one hell of a choke waiting to happen.
At that exact moment, there was not a single thing in life I wanted more than to smash the absolute shit out of that little white ball dead straight for 300 yards.
And that’s exactly the opposite of what happened.
But thanks to the encouragement of my overly positive caddie, I quickly realised that all those pent-up nerves and preconceptions that came before and after slicing the first tee at St. Andrew’s Old Course dissipated almost immediately. Overall, the next 17 holes were genuinely some of the most enjoyable I’ve ever experienced on a golf course.
Circumstantial, sure. You’re wearing thousands of dollars worth of fresh BOSS golf gear head to toe. The sun is shining in an otherwise usually miserable Scotland. Your four-man squad (with the help of a few dodgy handicaps and an overly enthusiastic scorer) take home the win. Not to mention the course is beyond immaculate ahead of one of golf’s biggest events of the century, and, of course, the company from all around the world is absolutely first class.
After decades of casual playing, riding that emotional rollercoaster through every peak and trough the game has thrown at me, it took a 17,000-kilometre slog to the place where it all began to really appreciate every aspect of the sport for what it was worth.
Check out my snapshot of the day in the BH Daily below, and catch The Open from Thursday, July 14th. Thanks to BOSS for the opportunity of a lifetime.