The final day of a short summer vacation to Scotland (tagged onto the end of the International Federation of Dental Hygienists’ triennial meeting) was spent in the town of St. Andrews. As the photo illustrates, I was able to stand on the fairway of the 18th hole of the Old Course. The bleachers were erected for British Open the following week. If you stand in the photographer’s shoes (my wife’s), the British Golf Museum is just out of sight to the left of the photo, mere yards across the road from the tee box for the first hole.
Even if you’re not a fan of the sport, I would recommend the museum (by my count, three museums are in the town of approximately 17,000 residents, so there are options for tourists). The shrine to the birthplace of golf is worth a look. Admittedly, my head did swim at times over the detailed information about the evolution of golf equipment. Within five minutes, I forgot the exact date they switched from balls made of feathers to balls made of gutta percha. But it did happen, that I can assure you.
I’d like to call your attention to a display regarding the earliest, most prominent female golfer, Mary, Queen of Scots. She very much enjoyed a recreational round when time permitted. Apparently, one of those times was a few days after her husband was murdered.
They didn’t like the queen playing golf when she should have been in mourning, so she was publicly censured for it. One accuser wrote, “A few days after the murder, remaining at Holyrood House, she [Mary] went to Seton, openly exercising there one day in the fields with the pall mall [an obsolete term used for the club] and golf...”
I laughed out loud in the venerable museum when I read that. Being the duffer I am, awful shots are my old pals on a golf course. But there is an indescribable satisfaction in watching a ball land where it is supposed to land.
Got a question for you. The queen is the queen, and the 21st Century male golfer is not hounded by any morality police. How soon can a widower unleash grief and tension after his wife’s funeral by saving par on a troublesome hole? Three days? Two weeks? If the bum at least bought flowers for the altar, can he play within a month?
As for the IFDH meeting, two Americans will play pivotal roles in shaping the profession on a global level until the next IFDH gathering in South Africa in 2013 — Maria Perno Goldie and JoAnn Gurelian. As the latter explained in a summary on the last day of the July 2010 conference, there needs to be a greater awareness of the differences in scope of practice for the profession, as well as perhaps closing some of these gaps.
The same could be said for this country. Is there a difference in the way dental hygiene is practiced in Alabama than in California? There is certainly a difference in the way dental hygiene professionals are trained. It’s time to save par in the profession.