Can't decide on a Scotland golf shoulder season? Lean on April
NORTH BERWICK - The first time I went to Scotland in 2006, I arrived during the second half of the October shoulder season. The “shoulder season” is the two transitional months between the summer season and off-season, usually April and October for most of the clubs that recognize one.
There are some benefits to a shoulder season golf vacation (click here for my full feature on it). For starters, you won’t have to book your golf so far in advance (which can mean over a year in advance to play Scotland’s most coveted links), the hotels should have more deals and many of the golf courses are offering a green fee that’s about 1/4-1/3 off the high season tag.
A day into my East Lothian golf trip at the end of the April shoulder season, I’ve noticed a few reasons April is superior to the October shoulder season.
As I saw yesterday at Kilspindie Golf Club, a charming and historic local club with four seriously great holes along the coastline, the rough hasn’t grown in as thick as it will have after a full summer of growth. I didn’t lose a ball over 18 holes, and that hasn’t happened to me all year. Not in Texas, not in Myrtle Beach, not in Spain. Considering that visitors usually have a hard time identifying some landing zones on a traditional links course they’re seeing for the first time, I think it helps level the playing field for us a bit and doesn’t make the courses so frustrating.
That said, the sandy ground still plays plenty firm, though the greens were a bit on the slow side and I’m told most clubs won’t get them summer-fast until May.
Secondly, there is much more daylight now than in October. Daylight savings time is in effect, but by 6 a.m. it’s bright outside, and stays light past 9 p.m. That makes the possibility of a 36-hole day plenty manageable. I’ll be playing more than one round at least twice and possibly three times during this trip.
Temperatures seem pretty similar (expect highs in the 50s Fahrenheit), though locals note around it can get much windier in the fall than in the spring. Apparently, the day before I arrived was one of the calmest days many of the members at Kilspindie had seen in ages. The often rocky Firth of Forth was smooth as glass.
Sounds lovely, sure, but where’s the fun in calm links golf?
Stay tuned to the WorldGolf.com network for more on golf in East Lothian and Scotland, including a photo gallery and course review of Kilspindie.
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