By Nik Aamlid
June 6, 2022 —
If you sent me an email at the end of April, you may remember an out of office message that our software kicked out.
It read like this:
Thank you for your email! I will be out of the office until May 2nd and will have very limited access to email during this time.
We talk a lot about True Wealth in our firm. Well, I am currently trying to practice what we preach. My amazing family and our amazing Pinnacle team have given me the green light to spend 8 days in Scotland on a golf trip with my dad and some of our very close friends. It’s easy to come up with excuses (cost, time, etc) when these opportunities arise. But, this has been a bucket list item for me for a while and I couldn’t pass it up …. sometimes you just have to say YES. People keep telling me that I’ll be traveling lighter on the way back due to all the golf balls I will lose. However, I’m pretty sure I’ll put that much weight on or more enjoying the local fare.
Be blessed and I will look forward to sharing some stories upon my return.
In the spirit of True Wealth,
While you were reading that auto-responder in your inbox, I was on a trip of a lifetime with my father and our life-long friends, Dave and Ryan Austad.
For eight days of bliss (April 22-30), we were playing some of the best golf that Scotland has to offer, all the while soaking in the history of one of the world’s true gems. If you’re a golfer, you’ll probably enjoy my golf notes included below.
The trip was incredible; a landmark week.
But before I write another sentence in this blog, I have to repeat what was mentioned in my auto-responder above.
I want to quickly thank my amazing wife, my amazing family, and our amazing team at Pinnacle Wealth for giving me the green light to take this trip. Without their filling my absence on the home front, this would have never been possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
It’s a trip that I’ll never forget.
Anyways, onward with the blog.
You might be asking — Nik, why are you writing a blog for work that has to do with a bucket list golf trip?
My response to that is “great question!”
My full answer would be simple.
This trip illuminated everything that is evident about “True Wealth.” It gave me a tangible example of why I am so passionate about Pinnacle Wealth’s mission to pursue this for ourselves and our clients.
It’s not that “True Wealth” is about reaching financial success to allow for bucket list vacations. That’s not really the point.
The point was doing it with my dad and shoulder-to-shoulder with my best friend since Kindergarten, Ryan and his dad. There were so many moments — the small things like laughing in a pub, or taking a stroll through the city — where I found myself so thankful, so reflective, and so appreciative of relationships like this in my life.
It was one of life’s true wealth moments.
More on that in a bit…
For the golf nerds like me out there, you’re probably itching for the golf and wondering which golf courses we played while in Scotland.
Let’s not delve into the quality of play (ha!), but instead let’s talk about the quality of golf.
Here was our lineup for the week:
- The Jubilee Course at St. Andrews
- The Castle Course at St. Andrews
- The Old Course at St. Andrews (site of this year’s Open Championship!)
- Kingsbarns Golf Links
It was 5-days of full golf (and 1-non-golf-day with a tour of Edinburgh).
The golf was absolutely awe-inspiring. Golf holes scattered across the Scottish landscape were a sight to behold.
Here’s a bullet point list of my best memories of our golf:
- The first tee box at St. Andrews is stuff of legend. The history, the great players who have been there before you, and the significance of that place for golf can be a bit overwhelming. Part of that might explain my botched tee shot teeing off! Regardless of my quality of play, it was so cool to stand there knowing I was at the epicenter, in many ways, of the game of golf.
- I attempted a 200-foot putt at the Old Course. Not too many courses in Brandon, SD I can do that on.
- Playing in front of the grandstands at the Old Course was a rush. I’m sort of glad they were empty!
- My favorite course during the trip was probably Kingsbarns. You can spend about 10-seconds scrolling through their Google images to understand why. The landscape was incredibly beautiful. The course too, was fantastic. If you make it over there, add this one to your list.
- Taking a picture with my dad on the stones of the Swilcan Bridge was one of those “office-worthy photo” memories. I’ll treasure being able to do that with my dad forever.
(For the picture book readers on this blog, here are a few pictures. A thank you to Dave Austad for being our defacto Photographer for the week!)
I could go on-and-on about our golf.
There were so many great shots (and many more not so great shots) that we hit over 5-days of golf. If you have more questions about the trip, I’d love to discuss over a cup of coffee or lunch!
But one last thing we did related to golf was exploring the R&A building — thanks to friends we met at Auchterlonies (more on that below).
This building is a member-only facility with the full history of the R&A (Royal and Ancient, the golf governing body for the world).
We got a full tour where we were able to see everything related to the history of the game, including the Claret Jug (the winner’s trophy of The Open Championship) proudly on display.
It was so, so cool! I could spend another hour talking about this tour. Again, that’s the perfect coffee time convo.
Anyways, I digress.
The Trip Apart from Golf.
Off the golf course, we enjoyed our fair share of local English cuisine (hello, Haggis!) and enveloped ourselves in the area’s history.
(P.S. My official review of Haggis is that it is okay, at best. It’s a little gamey. Glad I tried it though!)
Overall, an impression that was left on me was the unending friendliness of the local people we encountered on our trip. They made us feel so welcome and the easy-going spirit was palatable.
A quick story on that front.
Our luggage (with clothes) didn’t show up on our flight when we landed in the United Kingdom. Not exactly ideal when you’re on a golf trip!
Well, thankfully we ran into the folks at Auchterlonies of St. Andrews, a family-owned golf equipment shop that’s been open since the 1800s! It’s their version of Austad’s Golf in Sioux Falls, but in St. Andrews.
They helped us look good until our bags finally arrived.
It’s just one tangible example of the wonderful hospitality we experienced.
And they were the ones who connected us to get inside the R&A building for the tour I mentioned above. Phenomenal!
During our day away from the golf courses, we were in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. We toured Edinburgh Castle with all of its centuries of history, hidden vaults, and more. It was fascinating!
We also found our fair share of fish & chips, Scottish ales, and local scotch.
In fact, we were able to also share a pint at the Dunvegan, a famous golf bar in Scotland. Dozens of major champions have had a pint here and it’s widely known as one of the best hangout spots in golf (after all, look at the Golf Channel quote in the picture below)!
It was amazing.
If I had to pinpoint one disappointment about the trip, it would be our attempted tour of the St. Andrews Cathedral Graveyard. It’s where Old Tom Morris lays, along with many other fascinating historical remnants.
It was undergoing construction to help with “structural integrity issues.” If that gives you any insight into the long-lived history of this area, things are falling apart naturally and in need of repair.
Maybe on our next trip we can see that.
I just covered an incredible trip of golf and an overseas adventure. As mentioned above, I could go on for hours.
When I say my golf trip to Scotland was a True Wealth experience, I mean that in its purest form.
It wasn’t just about the golf. It was playing golf where the game originated, alongside my dad, and alongside my best friend since Kindergarten, and his dad. It was about the company I held.
And in some ways, it was about the company I left back home. Because my favorite part of the trip may have been the return.
When we landed in the Sioux Falls airport, I walked out and was greeted by sprinting kids and a bundle of hugs. What an amazing reception home. I felt like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.
It was at that moment perhaps, where I realized my True Wealth the most.
What a blessed week.