Game on! Time for ten days of golf in East Lothian and St. Andrews, Scotland
It’s been just over two years since I was last in Scotland for a golf trip. I’ve been to the British Isles and Ireland numerous times since then, but I’m finally getting back to the good ol’ home of golf, where the spirit of the game pours out of every pub and B & B.
Here’s a few particular things I’m especially looking forward to on this trip, which will put me in East Lothian for a week, followed by a couple bonus days in St. Andrews:
- On my first trip, I played mostly “name” courses like the Old Course at St. Andrews, Turnberry, Gleneagles and Royal Dornoch. They were great, sure, but I feel like I shortchanged the local clubs a little that everyone raves about (and that cost a third of the price). This time around, I’ll be checking out clubs around East Lothian like Kilspindie, Dunbar and Gullane No. 1, which aren’t household names in North America.
- When I was in the U.K. less than a year ago, it was over $2 to one pound sterling. Today, it’s under $1.50. That’s a pretty substantial discount, but the math will be tougher to figure out in my head than the easy “just double everything” rule I used to employ over there.
- North Berwick. Of all the architects and industry veterans I’ve spoke with about links golf, this course is probably the most respected outside of the British Open rotation that I’ve heard of. I’m especially looking forward to the oft-duplicated Redan hole.
- The closest I ever got to the Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews was when my ball sliced off the side of one of the rooms. This time, I’ll be staying there two nights (and will probably try and wear head protection should I find myself on a balcony facing the Road Hole.
- Full Scottish breakfasts every single day. I love the eggs, the bacon, even a little haggis if I’m in the mood. The coffee always seems to taste better over there too…
- Teeing it up with the hickories on the Old Course at Musselburgh Links. Considered the world’s oldest continuous golfing club and a former Open Championship host, they encourage their guests to tee it up with old hickories. I wanted to bring some knickers and a tie, too, but alas I’m packing light…
- Tom Doak’s Renaissance Club at Archerfield. For an American architect to be entrusted to build a traditional, links-style course in the shadows of Muirfield must be a great honor - and responsibility. Doak, who spent plenty of time in Scotland when he was younger, has a new course opened, The Renaissance Club at Archerfield, which I’ll be playing.
- I’m also excited because I won’t be spending so much time in the car. When I planned my first trip to Scotland, I was pinballing myself all over the country, from Ayrshire to the Highlands, from Loch Lomond to Aberdeen. I stayed in Edinburgh but didn’t play any golf there. I attribute it to the fact I was a relative “newb” on the job - and I wanted to see the whole country. This time, I’ll be playing courses all within the same vicinity of each other.
Stay tuned to this blog for occasional dispatches…
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