Somewhere in another lifetime, I’d live in Scotland. I’d live in a small city by the sea where a unique links course is the center of the community. I’d go for walks by morning light with a coffee and a putter in my hands. Evenings would be spent repeating the same links routine with my clubs in tow and a dog by my side. In that life, I would play every day and the pub owners down the street would all know me by my first name.

In reality, I don’t have another lifetime to live. I likely won’t ever live the life of golfer in a city by the sea. What I do have is a wonderful wife, a beautiful baby, and a great job. I have a happy home, a convenient golf course, and a love for the life God gave me. Somedays I dream of living that Scottish golf life, but in reality, I have to find that Scotland dream in the life I love at home.

Our city isn’t by the sea and my course isn’t a Links. However, I have found that with a little suspension of disbelief, my neighborhood can be my Scotland. I can live my dream golf life if I am willing to step out of the American norms of how the game works.

My house sits just a few blocks from the golf course. Between me and the greens are my neighbors, our parks, and a short walk down the street. After many years of dreaming about the Scottish style of life, I decided to make it for myself right here at home.

I swore off the golf cart and downsized my bag. I put my car keys down and grabbed the dog leash. I took out my modern metals and put in a set of persimmons. I let go of what I had been told was golf and I created a world where the game is purer and the experience is more memorable.

My walk to the golf course has become a highlight of my days. Sometimes it is on a Sunday morning with my pup and a 4 wood. On the way to the course, we can smell the bacon cooking from an open window of the house by the park. I sip coffee and stroll with a pocket full of pellets on the way to hit some shots before the morning groups make the back nine.

Other evenings I’ll have a leash in hand and my lightweight bag over my shoulder. I stop and talk to my neighbor planting a tree in his yard and the people passing in cars look at me funny. A man, a dog, a golf bag, and some tartan head-covers stand out on the busy street corner. It looks different because it is different.

I quit keeping scores but I do keep a dog treat on hand. I try shots I normally would forgo and I even find the fun in failing. I walk a few holes and maybe play some backward. I chase for a moment that I saw somewhere in my mind. My golf world seems upside down to some, but by God, it feels right to me.

The dog gets unleashed when we cross from the street to the fairways. We both find a little bit of freedom out there. He from the restraint I put on him and me from the restraints I’ve long accepted from the game. We can’t smell the sea, but we can pretend for a few hours a week that the world we live in and the world we dream of is indeed the same place.

The walk home has its moments too. The kids playing in the park ask me why I’m carrying my clubs and my response comes with a smile. I tell them that I’m a golfer and that I love to walk and play. They don’t understand now but somewhere in a distant daydream, they will seek a place of refuge from the restrictions of the life they live. They may not dream of Scotland, but I hope they can someday summon their childlike imagination to take them somewhere they seek to be.

Some nights I pass by joggers when my pup and I head home. I can’t help but wonder what they must think. How strange it must be for those people who believe they are in their neighborhood, while I know it’s really Scotland.

When we get to the garage and hang up the clubs and leash, my dog and I are back from a distant land. Scotland may be far from home, but when we walk and play it’s not too far from our reach. I’ve got a wife I want to kiss and a baby I love to hug. There are bills to pay and a yard to mow. I’ll need to be in the office early the next day too. Life is real and Scotland is thousands of miles away, but when I walk my dog to the course now, I can hear the waves lapping on the shore and the bagpipes playing in my head.

Golf in Scotland is a pastime and a way of life. Golf in America is, well, something different. I dream of living a golf life in the land where the game began. It’s a dream that I have found a way to live on the walk from home to the course. The only thing I need now is a pub down the street. Preferably one that doesn’t mind golf clubs and dogs.

My trusted friend Leon along with my clubs and Seamus Golf tartan head-covers.