Tee time with the stars

There are very few environments in which your average punter can know how it feels to be, say, Hugh Grant (above), Marco Van Basten or Shane Warne. The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews is one such place.

Not merely a golf tournament, The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is an annual gathering of the world's best players and golf fanatics from film, TV, music and sport. Sound good? Let me tell you, it is - I was lucky enough to play the last two years. 

The star-studded pro-am gets underway today in Fife, Scotland, and is played over three superb layouts - Carnoustie, Kingbarns and the Old Course at Andrews (aka The Home of Golf). 

There's much to admire - the location, the courses, the quality of the field, the calibre of the celebrity guests, the stylish parties and the stunning firework display that brings the week to a close.

For me, though, it's something else: namely, that no matter how famous you are, or how much you have achieved in your career, once you step out of your comfort zone and onto the fairways alongside the likes of Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie, everyone is suddenly the same.

I found this out in the course of animated discussions about missed putts over cocktails with Bill Murray, via moans about wayward tee shots over a cigarette with Dennis Hopper and, in the boyish excitement of Ruud Gullit, a man who, frankly, has been there and done that in sport. 

Such treasured memories are testament to golf's ability to bring people together, to the magic of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and, of course, to St Andrews itself. The 'Old Grey Toon' is a place that consistently succeeds in enchanting even the brightest stars of Beverly Hills. Dan Davies

Esquire will be back at The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship this year. You can follow the action on Sky Sports or on the official championship website.

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