British Open Countdown: The Masons Arms

The apostrophe is a relatively recent addition.

Alfie Fyles, who caddied for Tom Watson in all five of his Open victories, grew up in Birkdale and frequented a Southport pub and caddie hangout called the Masons Arms. On my first golf trip to the Lancashire coast, a little over fifteen years ago, I decided to make a pilgrimage. I found the pub on a forbidding side street and sailed through the door, anticipating an evening of colorful storytelling. Instantly, I wished I hadn’t come. The patrons looked like—well, they looked like British caddies, but they were indoors, boisterous, in a group, and drunk. The bartender was sitting on a foot-tall stool, so that his head was barely visible above the bar. Oddly, he seemed scarier in that position than he did when he stood up. I made the mistake of sitting at a small table directly below the wall-mounted television set, which most of the patrons were watching. During breaks in the action on the screen, they would permit their chilling gaze to drift downward. I drank my beer as fast as I could and fled back to my hotel, the dowdy Prince of Wales.

2 thoughts on “British Open Countdown: The Masons Arms

  1. Been in a few pubs like that. Scariest moment of all was walking into a bar in Inglewood, L.A. My wife and I were only half way down the stairs when the patrons heads turned to glare at us, it had also gone extremely quiet at this time. They wasted no time in letting us know we were not welcome, probably something to do with color, we happened to be white, what a crime.

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