Josh Poysden has played on cricket and golf's most hallowed turf. He discusses his experiences of both and how they compare
I have incredible memories of both Lord’s and the Old Course. As a professional cricketer, I’ve been very fortunate to play at some of the most prestigious sports grounds in the world, such as the Sydney Cricket Ground. However, there is no cricketing venue more special than Lord’s.
Its golfing equivalent is no doubt the Old Course at St Andrews. I mentioned in a previous article about pressure that I have had the privilege to play the Old Course twice.
For starters, both Lord’s and the Old Course are places that have been known to me since a young age. Watching England play, and county cricket finals both on television and at Lord’s itself, gave me an affinity that meant when I did eventually get to play on the hallowed turf, it felt even more special.
St Andrews is world famous for being the birthplace of the game, and also hosting the Open Championship more than anywhere else (it will be interesting to see the ‘Open for the Ages’ next week). It is also a special place for my family, as my Uncle Kevin was based at the nearby RAF base Leuchars, and I have since visited the base with my father on multiple occasions.
Both have quirk in abundance. At Lord’s, there’s the famous slope that runs across the ground (I’ve bowled at both ends and I can tell you it does make a difference) and also the iconic pavilion, complete with MCC members in their egg-and-bacon ties.
It’s a special feeling to walk through the long room, walking past portraits of cricketing greats such as Shane Warne, cheered on by the members.
Distinguishing features at the Old Course include those enormous double greens, the wide fairways, hundreds of bunkers with their own names, such as the Principal’s Nose’, and even a tee shot over a hotel and then a road in play on the 17th hole.
It is for me these quirks that make the course so fun and architecturally fascinating.
For the iconic Lord’s pavilion, see the R&A clubhouse, both homes to the custodians of their sports. It would be remiss of me talking about the Lord’s experience not to mention the food – nothing compares on the cricket circuit to eating a rack of lamb in the players’ dining room.
I haven’t been in the R&A clubhouse, but I’m told the lunch is similar to Muirfield, something I have experienced. This would suggest it isn’t just the food that is crucial to the lunch, as anyone who has tried to play an afternoon round after copious amounts of Kummel will attest to.
Even the biggest cricket aficionado in the world couldn’t just pay to play a game at Lords, due to the ground only hosting international matches, county cricket, and the odd historic game such as Eton vs Harrow.
However, anyone who is committed enough can queue up at the starter’s hut at St Andrews on any given day and soon find themselves hitting off the 1st towards the Swilcan Burn. It’s a special place for any golfer, and one we are all lucky enough to have access to.
Josh Poysden is a professional cricketer for Yorkshire CCC. He’s also a keen golfer and has a particular interest in golf course architecture. You can follow him on Twitter here.
More from Josh:
- Why we professional sports people just can’t get enough of golf
- Comparing the pressures of playing cricket for a living and golf for pleasure
- Mind games: is golf gentler than cricket or just more sneaky?
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