Worldgolf Travel

A True Taste of Scotland
Putting together an itinerary of golf in Scotland is as much fun as actually playing the courses themselves. Here are four suggested itineraries that will give you more than a taste of what Scottish golf is all about.

Scotland is the accepted Home Of Golf, but is not just that the Scots gave the game to everyone else that makes playing there the ultimate experience. A golf holiday in Scotland is as much about enjoying the country and its people as it is about birdies and bogeys.
It is also, in these parsimonious times, about value for money, for although it is no longer as inexpensive as it was, the game in Scotland will still make a far smaller dent in your pocket than just about any other country in the world. Indeed, if the visitor stays clear of the obvious "names" and seeks out the less well-known gems, the cost of a week's golf can work as cheaply as a week at the cinema.
It is about the diversity of the game in Scotland, however, that most visitors remark. Where else in the world could you play the most famous of all golf courses, the Old Course at St. Andrews - where just about every great player in the game has walked over the ancient Swilcan Bridge - and the following day play a delightful layout in the depths of the Highlands where sheep still help to keep the grass cut short and where the honesty box for the green fees is still in operation?
The only problems in planning a golf holiday are where to start and how much time you have. There are over 400 courses from which to choose, from the great championship links to the most humble of 9-hole layouts.
There are literally hundreds of itineraries which could be put together to please nearly everyone; in fact, half the fun is putting your own itinerary together.
Your choice of courses to play will be influence by how much travelling you want to do, what other aspects of Scotland you might want to see and which part of the country you want to visit.
Here are four suggestions which give a flavour of the best of Scottish golf. But they are no more than a guide, a mere scratch on the surface of what is available to the visitor.
The four bases allow a wide variety of courses to be visited, with an assumption that you will play six courses during a one-week visit. However, such is the density of golf course in Scotland that the dedicated player could easily double the number if he had the inclination and the stamina.

Itinerary Number One: Base Camp: St. Andrews.
The lure of St. Andrews is irresistible for most people who have ever played golf. The atmosphere of the "Auld Grey Toon", the hotels, boarding houses and pubs is everything the golfer could possibly desire. Certainly everyone wants to play the Old Course and just as certainly everyone can't. But you can certainly put your name in the ballot with everyone else and hope to get a time. If you do, you have won the jackpot. It will be difficult to decide which one of the courses on this itinerary to leave out to make way for the ultimate golf experience, but, as they would say in this part of the world, "it wouldna' be a bad grouse."


If you can't get in the Old Course, then opt for the challenge of the New.

Day One
Drink in the atmosphere of the Home Of Golf. Pay a visit to the excellent British Golf Museum behind the R & A clubhouse, giving yourself time to explore for there is much to see. After lunch, journey the few miles east along the coast to the old fishing village of Crail to tackle the charming Balcomie Links course of Crail Golfing Society. This is holiday golf par excellence and a perfect start to the week.

Day Two
Time for something a little more testing. Fifteen minutes' drive over the hill from St. Andrews and through the lovely old village of Largoward you will find the town of Lundin Links and the old links of the Lundin Golf Club. This is an Open Championship qualifying course and a good test, particularly when the wind blows as it usually does.

Day Three
After two days at the coast, it's time to move inland to one of Scotland's great inland courses. Ladybank is in the west of the Kingdom of Fife, but is still within an easy drive of our base at St. Andrews. This is glorious golf in quite wonderful surroundings and it's testing, too. It's another Open qualifying course, and if you catch it on one of those wonderful, clear Fife days, of which there are many in the year, you will enjoy something very special, indeed.

Day Four
Now it's time to get down to some very serious business. Next stop is an hour's drive over the Tay Road Bridge and along the Angus coast To Carnoustie. The very name strikes fear into the heart if you approach with anything less than your Sunday best form. This is the course Golf Monthly voted the top course in Britain two years ago and which has now been rightfully restored, after much campaigning, to the Open Championship rota from which, some say, it should never have been dropped. The Scottish Open will be played there this year.

Day Five
If you are still reeling from the trial of Carnoustie, you will not be the first or the last, and you will have earned a pleasant respite. It would be hard to find a more pleasant one than at the relatively unknown Forfar Golf Club on the outermost ring of our St. Andrews base. Just over an hour from St. Andrews, this beautiful inland course amid the tranquillity of the Angus pines is a sheer joy.

Day Six
It would not be right to use St. Andrew's as a base without playing on one of its five courses. If you have had no luck in the ballot for the Old Course opt for the New, where it is first come first served on the tee, and where many people find the test just as stiff as the Old. After your round drop into the old Jigger Inn beside the Old Course Hotel to reflect on what might have been and on what could only have been a fantastic week of golf.

Itinerary Number Two: Base Camp: Inverness
Inverness is an ideal base from which not only to enjoy some wonderful golf, but also to savour the delights of Highland hospitality. With the new A9 road north from Glasgow and Edinburgh making access much easier than it once was, the journey time from the south has been much reduced.

Day One
A short journey across the new suspension bridge will take you over the Moray Firth onto the Black Isle. A few miles along the A832 will bring you to the delightful Fortrose & Rosemarkie course. This is a classic old links, ideal as an hors d'oeuvre for your week in the Highlands. It's not too long, but it can be extremely testing when the wind blows. You'll find a great feeling of peace and tranquillity and "getting away from it all" here on the northern shore of the Firth.

Day Two We'll stay on the south shore of the Moray Firth for this visit to one of the truly great links courses in world golf. Beautiful, fast greens and keen turf are the hallmarks of the Nairn Golf Clubwhich owes its design first to Old Tom Morris and later to James Braid. Wonderful views across the Firth to the Black Isle, great stands of gorse and thick rough make for memorable golf. An excellent new 800,000 Pound clubhouse with good food and a warm welcome completes the picture.

Day Three
Head for the old fishing town of Buckie for the next leg and the comparatively unsung course of the Buckpool Golf Club. If you feel so inclined, you can have two rounds for your 10 Pounds or so green fee during the week, and, as often as not, you'll find there is a competition you can join in, as well. Good old-fashioned Scottish hospitality and a delightful inland course that will test your mettle over its 6,257 yards are on offer here. You could have your whole week here for less than 40 Pounds!

Day Four
It will take the best part of a couple of hours to make the journey north to the famous links of Royal Dornoch. Do not hurry for the scenery en route is spectacular and you will want time to relish the prospect of another of the world's great courses. Were it more accessible than it has even now become, with the new bridges and causeway form Inverness, Dornoch would undoubtedly have held many more important championships than it already has. Take your best game to this stunning course for you will surely need it.

Day Five
It would be folly, indeed, not to tarry just a little longer before the return to Inverness for it is such wonderful countryside. Find a local B & B - there are many excellent ones in the area - and have a day at Golspie only a few miles farther up the A9. Here you will find one of the most charming of all holiday golf courses; an unusual mixture of woodland, parkland and links all in the one layout. There are six holes of each and Golspie is a perfect follow-up to the rigorous challenge of the great links of Dornoch.

Day Six
Now it is time to move south from Inverness to the glories of Boat of Gartenin the shadow of the Cairngorms. It's hard to concentrate on golf here in the heart of the highlands. The majesty and rugged beauty of the place add a rare dimension to the golf which you will find is a bigger test of accuracy than length. Not far away is the nesting site of the much publicised osprey which local effort has been intensely dedicated to save.


The Boat of Garten offers majesty and rugged beauty.

Itinerary Number Three: Base Camp: Edinburgh
Scotland's capital provides endless opportunities to enjoy the very best of everything the country has to offer. It is also a perfect base to enjoy some of Scotland's most famous and historic golf courses. Edinburgh lays claim to a vast range of courses and all within a comfortable drive.

Day One
Just below Arthur's Seat lies the rolling parkland course of the Duddingston Golf Club in the east end of the city. It is a pleasant layout, one that will not tax you too severely at the start of the week, although the back nine requires judicious thinking and some excellent shot-making.

Day Two
It's time to tackle traditional Scottish links golf and there's nowhere better than North Berwick with its long golfing tradition and two fine courses. Our schedule calls for a round over the West course. Blind shots, shots over walls and some greens which are almost in the Firth of Forth all combine to make this one of the most fascinating of courses. Maybe it is an acquired taste, but once sampled it's hard not to come back for more. Make time on the same day for the bonus of a round over the East, one of the best kept municipal courses in the country.


North Berwick's West course;
one of the most fascinating you will ever play.

Day Three
Back inland for round three at the Longniddry Golf Club where there are great views of the sea, but where the course is very much lush parkland. It is not long by present day standards, but is still a stiff test of golf for there is little run on the ball. The course hosted the PGA Seniors' Championship for several years and no less a person than Kel Nagle, winner of the Centenary Open at St. Andrews, held the course record of 64 for many years until it was broken in 1987 during final qualifying stages for the Open Championship at Muirfield.

Day Four
It would be nice to think that we might move to Muirfield as the next stop on our travels, but, although the Honourable Company of Golfers claims to accommodate somewhere in the region of over 6,000 visitors each year, the truth is that it is a very difficult course to play unless you know a member. Far better to tackle one, or more, of the wonderful neighbouring courses at Gullane. The courses are numbered in sequence 1 to 3, with No. 1 the longest and another Open Championship Qualifying course. Up and over the Gullane Hill we have to go where golf has been played for more than 200 years and the turf is as crisp and keen as will be found anywhere in the world.

Day Five
Back inland again for our next course, this time at the western side of the city. The Dalmahoy Golf And Country Club lies at the foot of the Pentland Hills and stand in almost a thousand acres of wooded parkland. It was here that the European women pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of golf when they beat their American counterparts in the 1992 Solheim Cup. It is a beautiful parkland course and a complete contrast to the traditional links of Gullane.Day Six
It's back to the seaside for our last stop, this time beyond Gullane on the way south towards the Borders. Dunbar links was laid out by Old Tom Morris on ground where Oliver Cromwell rallied his troops before the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. Old Tom Dunbar added 3 holes to his original 15 in 1180 and little has changed since. This is classic out-and-back links golf with a loop in the middle in much the manner of St. Andrews.

Itinerary Number Four: Base Camp: Glasgow
Although not so rich in terms of the number of courses as the capital, Glasgow is nonetheless a vry good base for a week's golf, with the opportunity to explore a city that only a few years ago enjoyed the supreme accolade of the Cultural Capital of Europe.

Day One
A few minutes' drive off the M8 motorway, Haggs Castle provides us with our opening test and our one course within the city limits. Set in the beautiful Pollok Park with the famous Burrell Collection not far away, Haggs is a stern test where the first Bell's Scottish Open was played in 1986. This is pure parkland golf, with many trees to contend with and fairways which allow little in the way of run on the ball. It is the ideal opener before we head for the Ayrshire coast.

Day Two
Tony Jacklin loved to play the beautiful links at Western Gailes when he lived in Scotland. Of course, Jacklin doesn't get much of a chance these days to play Wester Gailes as he's on tournament duty on the Seniors Tour in America. That's a pity for this is an honest trial of strength and stamina, especially when the wind whips in from the Firth of Clyde. Just 30 miles from the city centre, Western Gailes may have only two par-5s, but there are a bundle of long and testing par-4s. Take your best game with you.


Western Gailes was where Tony Jacklin loved to play
when he lived in Scotland.

Day Three
A little more peace and serenity will be found at our next stop, the beautiful Ayr course of Belleisle which was laid out by James Braid. Although the course is near the sea, it is essentially parkland in nature, with many of the fairways tree-lined. It is a public course and one of the best in the country.

Day Four
It's back to the links now to the spiritual home of the Open Championship, the Old Course at Prestwick. In 1860 Willie Park won the first Open here and Young Tom Morris won the Belt outright with three wins in a row from 1868. This is the course where great deeds have been done and you can taste the history of the game. To lunch at the long table at Prestwick is one of the great experiences in golf, although it's not so accessible now to visitors as it once was.

Day Five
Time to test your sea legs. A short drive south to Ardrossan and an hour or so on the ferry to the Isle of Arran and you're in a whole new world. We are here to play one of the most unusual courses in Scotland, the 12-hole Shiskine course at Blackwaterfoot. It remains a 12-hole course because efforts to extend it were hampered by both World Wars. Watch out for the short 3rd. Most of its 132 yards of length is vertical, with the green perched on the edge of a cliff and more than 80 feet above the tee!

Day Six
We're saving the best for last. There are three ways to get to Machrihanish on the Mull of Kintyre: take the half-hour ferry trip from Lochranza to Claonaig if you have stayed on Arran overnight, then drive round; take the Loganair flight from Glasgow which lands a few miles from the lst tee; or, if you're in no hurry, then drive from your Glasgow base round the lochs for the best part of three hours through stunning mountain scenery. The trip takes in Loch Lomond, Loch Long and Loch Fyne. Whatever way you go - go! Old Tom Morris, when making some changes at the turn of the century, was adamant that the course had been created by the Almighty for the express purpose of playing golf. No-one would argue. You will return fulfilled.

Scotland Golf Package
Dates: January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014
Play 5 rounds and enjoy 7 nights of accommodation with a full Scottish breakfast. Golf rounds include Murcair Links, Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Cruden Bay Golf Club, Fraserburgh Golf Club, and Trump International Golf Links. The package includes private group coach and driver throughout, a dedicated Carr Golf Travel executive assigned to your group, to book caddies, restaurants, sight-seeing options.
Price range: £1900
Scotland Golf Articles
Swing Fix