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Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen, Scotland, plays some of the most dramatic dunes we have seen. It would make a spectacular Open site.

Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen, Scotland, plays some of the most dramatic dunes we have seen. It would make a spectacular Open site. (Brian Morgan)

I loved watching the Open Championship from Royal Liverpool this weekend. Rory McIlroy’s performance was tremendous. I’m already counting down until next year, when the Open returns to The Old Course at St. Andrews.

I do have one minor concern, though.

The “Open rota.”

As it stands, there are currently ten sites in the Open rota (counting Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, host its first Open in 68 years in 2019).

The Old Course seems destined to host the event on every year ending in a 0 or a 5 going forward, which is fine. The game’s oldest championship should return to its most iconic championship venue that often. But as for the rest of the rota?

Let’s share the wealth a bit more.

For example:

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This course is NOT in the Open Championship rota. Nevertheless, it's an absolute must-play. (Larry Lambrecht)

This course is NOT in the Open Championship rota. Nevertheless, it’s an absolute must-play. (Larry Lambrecht)

You’re probably familiar with all of the courses of the Open Championship rota by now.

You know the ones: The Old Course, Carnoustie, Royal St. George’s, yadda yadda yadda, not to mention jolly old Hoylake, which hosts this year’s Open.

But what about the “best of the rest?”

In this case, many of “the rest” are better than the Open venues themselves.

These links courses in the Isles will never host an Open, but they are “must-play” courses for your next UK golf trip.

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You can thank fellow reader Rob Healy from Boston for today’s tip.

Given how much I travel, he wanted my advice on something.

He emailed me asking…

“What’s the single most important piece of travel gear in your arsenal?”

Here’s what I told him.

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How We “Do” Golf Here in America

by Craig Better

Jul22014

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Private Sale for GVI Readers (Only 100 Available)

(The same headcovers found at Cypress Point, Winged Foot, Shinnecock Hills, Friar’s Head, TPC Sawgrass and more)

Turn on images to see what these awesome Sunfish headcovers look like

If I were to ask you:

“What’s the one thing keeping you from buying a sweet set of custom, hand-knit wool headcovers?”

(You know, the ones Jack Nicklaus raised to iconic status and are ultra-cool again.)

You would probably say, “the price.”

Same here.

They look fantastic on any golf bag, so that’s not the issue.

But hand-knit, 100% wool headcovers are expensive.

Well, they were expensive.

In a second, I’m going to share the secret that a handful of exclusive, in-the-know golf clubs and university golf teams have discovered…

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The par-4 13th at Pinehurst No. 2 is a perfect example of the rugged look reintroduced by Coore and Crenshaw. (Pinehurst Resort)

The par-4 13th at Pinehurst No. 2 is a perfect example of the rugged look reintroduced by Coore and Crenshaw. (Pinehurst Resort)

This year’s back-to-back U.S. Opens were two of my favorites ever.

Yes, Martin Kaymer sucked most of the drama out of things with his brilliant play–and Michelle Wie added a bit back–but for golf course architecture nerds like me, Pinehurst No. 2 was the star.

Why?

Because I’m down with brown.

If you watched coverage of the men’s and/or women’s U.S. Opens, you probably noticed that Pinehurst No. 2 was a lot less green than in past years.

Contrary to what we’ve grown accustomed to here in the USA, I think that’s a great thing.

Let me explain:

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As you probably noticed, I travel quite a bit.

Want to know one thing I’ve seen golfers doing around the world?

They’re drinking sugary sports drinks or popping those energy shots that claim to last for 5 hours.

I’m not an expert or a doctor, but based on what I’ve read, seen, and personally experienced, you should never drink these things because they can do more harm than good.

Consider this:

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