Play Away Please: The Tale of the Sale of Golf's Greatest Icon - The St Andrews Old Course Starter's Box

Front Cover
Random House, Jan 25, 2011 - Sports & Recreation - 256 pages

The St Andrews Old Course Starter's Box was sold in a controversial international auction on 10 September 2001, the day before the infamy of the Twin Towers attack. 'Play Away Please' recounts the glory of the little building in St Andrews, 'the home of golf', and tells the tale of those who used its services for 77 continuous years.

Unlike many epics, the story does not centre on a rich dynasty or a heroic quest for the truth. Instead, it centres on the production of the perfect round of golf and the global marketing of the Box - one of the most celebrated buildings in the world of sport - as a brand and an icon. The book also chronicles the suspense and notoriety that greeted the Box after its voyage from Scotland to California, by way of the Panama Canal, and the role it assumed as an emotional balm for many in the aftermath of the 11 September atrocity.

Alas, nothing is as simple as it seems and miracles are rare. The businessman who bought the Box was imprisoned before it reached Los Angeles, accused of stealing millions from the real-estate development that was to be its home. Eight years later, a happy ending was finally brought about, but only after a healthy dose of gut-wrenching fear and suspense became a part of the story.

Supplemented with exclusive photographs, 'Play Away Please' is also a personal story of patronage and odyssey to assure the Box's preservation as the sporting world's consummate symbol of integrity and fair play. Along the way, the author brings to life the unforgettable local characters of Fife, celebrating their customs, lifestyle and unique command of the English language.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Foreword by Jack Nicklaus Preface
Holy Grail
Why? Why the Change? CHAPTER 3 Kitchen
Victorian Bathing Boxes
The Links and the St Andrews Links Trust
Three Columns CHAPTER 7 Timing and Luck CHAPTER 8 Jack Franks
The Auction
The First Visit After the Auction
Dunhill Links Championship
Starter CHAPTER 21 Fraser Smart Mike Horkan and Rob Donaldson
Ian Joys Photography Shop
Dunvegan Pub CHAPTER 24 WILL CHAPTER 25 Lord Angus Locards
the Final Round
Prince William
Bricks Flues and the Gang of
Saw Blades and Snakes

Lunch with the Links Trust CHAPTER 12 European Tour Productions
Fisher Wives and Mozart CHAPTER 14 Ladies Lake and Tontine CHAPTER 15 The Passing of the Keys Ceremony and the Dutch
Iain Macfarlane Lowe
Pittenweem Bugatti and Ferrari CHAPTER 18 Princes Street
Ballet Robots and Sleet
Paris and Gallic Ambivalence
Jack Franks Reprise

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

John Peter Hagen is a founder of The Friends of St Andrews Links, which assists in the preservation and maintenance of the historic golf courses at St Andrews.

Bibliographic information