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Thursday, February 22, 2024
Feb. 22, 2024

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Milne has vacation of a lifetime

Highlight was playing ancient course before major

By , Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

Chuck Milne’s recent vacation turned into an experience of the ages.

Playing on a course that dates to the year 1562, Milne qualified for last week’s Senior British Open. Though he missed the cut, he considered the experience a nice bonus at the end of a three-week visit to Great Britain.

“I didn’t think I’d get in,” Milne said. “You never know in golf.”

At 68, Milne said he doesn’t know how much longer he can play competitive golf, so he wasn’t going to skip the opportunity to enter a qualifier held on one of Scotland’s oldest golf courses.

On July 18, Milne made a couple of key 15-foot putts to shoot 2-under par at the ancient Montrose Medal Course, tying for third place in a qualifying tournament that sent seven golfers to the Senior British Open three days later.

Milne began teaching at VanCo Driving Range in the mid-1970s and has owned the business since the early 1980s.

This was the fifth time that Milne has played in the Senior British Open and his 12th senior major tournament. He has made the cut in eight of those. His best finish was 24th place at the 1998 Senior British Open.

He said his game isn’t what it used to be so he was happy and surprised to qualify.

Milne said the length of the Carnoustie Golf Links layout — it played 7,200 yards — challenged him. He said his drives are 20 to 30 yards shorter than they used to be and his skills are not as sharp as they once were.

“It was fun. It’s a fabulous golf course and very, very difficult,” Milne said.

Milne shot an 84 in the opening round on July 21 and a 76 on July 22 to miss the cut.

But playing the qualifying round on the picturesque Montrose course, which is considered the world’s fourth oldest golf course, will be a lasting memory.

Milne said he could sense the history of the course as he played his qualifying round.

“It’s staggering, really,” Milne said about playing on a course that is 450 years old and embodies the history of golf. He was struck, he said, by “the ambiance of the place, the architecture, the naturalness of it being right by the sea.”

Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter