Golf Trips to Scotland
A golf trip to Scotland will give you all the experiences of playing links golf with humps, bumps, pot bunkers, wind and so on with more history & tradition than you'll find anywhere. Scotland is the home of most British Open venues with St. Andrews Old Course being the “Home of Golf”. Walk out on number 18 on Old Course, stand on the Swilken Bridge at sunset and I assure you that you will get chill bumps as you look around and think of all the famous golfers that have walked on these hallowed grounds.
The Highlands is one of my favorite areas, it is very scenic and also one of the least visited. There are not as many courses here and you go from the flat lands to the mountains. Venues such as Royal Dornoch, Royal Aberdeen & Cruden Bay are world class and equal to any in all of Scotland. My ideal trip would be to enjoy a St. Andrews, Turnberry experience and then head to the Highlands for a few rounds.
Below you'll find some of the more popular courses in Scotland that my clients like to play. This is not a complete list - there are many more outstanding courses in Scotland and I have arrangements with all of them. I put together a custom itinerary for each of my clients based on your specific requests, so please let me know which courses are on your "must play" list and I'll be sure to include them on your trip!
St. Andrews - Old Course
Founded: 1764 (18 holes)
Designer: Mother Nature, Old Tom Morris
Championship Length: 6,933 yards
SSS (Course Rating): 72
Such is the history attached to the Old Course at St. Andrews, it is virtually impossible to do it justice by mere words - but try we must. Until 1764, the course comprised 12 holes and a round consisted of 22 holes. By 1764, the Society of St. Andrews Golfers decided to combine some holes, thus reducing a round to 18 holes. Due to the growing popularity of the game, the greens were enlarged in 1832, catering for incoming golfers playing two different holes, an economical way of creating 18 separate holes and fairways. Though adjusted by Tom Morris, the Old Course is essentially natural, its layout changing little in over 200 years. The course has been modeled by the winds of God that formed the dunes into randomly complex shapes, indifferent then as now, to the vanities of mankind.
St. Andrews - New Course
Designer: W Hall Blyth & 'Old' Tom Morris
Championship Length: 6,604
SSS (Course Rating): 72
Renowned the world over as the Home of Golf, St Andrews Links has borne witness to six centuries of golfing history. Opened in April 1895, the St Andrews New Course was built in response to increasing demand for golf at St Andrews, both from locals and from the visitors who were flocking to the town in increasing numbers on the recently constructed railway. The R&A engaged W Hall Blyth, an Edinburgh civil engineer, to design the New Course, and entrusted the layout to "Old" Tom Morris and his right-hand man David Honeyman. The result is a classic links course, which uses the natural features of the land to create a first class golfing challenge. The course has the traditional out and back layout, with the 18th green just to the right of the first tee. It also has, in the great St Andrews tradition, shared fairways and even a double green at the 3rd and 15th holes.
Info from www.standrews.org.uk
Carnoustie, Carnoustie, Scotland
Designer: Allan Robertson, Tom Morris, James Braid
Championship Length: 7,364 yards
SSS (Course Rating): 74
What can you say about the "Beast" that is Carnoustie Golf Links? Whether it is praise or blame that you seek to apportion, the names of Robertson, Morris and Braid are those in question. Though records speak about golf or "gowff" to be more specific, being played in the area as far back as 1520, the present course was molded by successive architects over the years since the initial ten holes were laid out in 1842. Whilst there may be little dramatic background scenery, the beauty of Carnoustie is to be found in the golf course itself. The layout is such that no two consecutive holes face the same direction, a factor that does nothing for the golfer in finding their rhythm in the face of often-stiff winds. Carnoustie's famous burns that snake their way around the course - Jockie's Burn and the Barry Burn represent two more obstacles to posting a respectable tally.
Info from www.carnoustiegolflinks.co.uk
Kingsbarns, Fife, Scotland
Designer: Kyle Phillips, Mark Parsinen
Championship Length: 7,150 yards
SSS (Course Rating): TBA
Located directly on the North Sea coast only six miles from St. Andrews, Kingsbarns is without a doubt one of the most breathtaking links courses ever developed. Though it only opened for general play in July 2000, it is not untrue to say that the links appears to have been in site for centuries as golf was played on this very site as far back as 1793.
Info from www.kingsbarns.com
Balcomie Clubhouse, Fife, Scotland
Designer: Tom Morris
Championship Length: 5922
SSS (Course Rating): 69
Perched on the edge of the North Sea on the very point of the golfing country of Fife, the Crail Golfing Society's course at Balcomie is picturesque with stunning views across the North Sea towards the mountains of Angus. Founded in 1786, the Crail Golf Club is the 7th oldest in the World and one of Scotland's classics. On the outskirts of Crail it has views of the sea from every tee.
Info from www.crailgolfingsociety.co.uk
East Lothian, Scotland
The West Links offers a unique golfing experience, and poses a true challenge for even the most proficient golfer. It is a true links course – steeped in history – and complete with traditional revetted bunkers, blind holes, drives over walls and burns together with magnificent views towards the sea.
Info from www.northberwickgolfclub.com
Imagine rolling hills, sandy dunes, a stiff breeze blowing off the Ayrshire coast. Before designer courses, before manicured greens and major championships, these lands inspired local Scots to play the game of golf. Beloved since its first formal course was built in 1901, Turnberry's fairways have been shared by the game's elite and casual enthusiasts from around the globe. Even the conversion of its links to runways during two world wars could not diminish the desire to play here, a place made for golf, where countless competitions have been waged that shall never be forgotten.
Beautiful in sun, exacting in cold and wind, Turnberry's three courses are both part of golf's legacy and part of its future. A round on The Ailsa, The Kintyre or The Arran is the kind of extraordinary experience that changes a player, professional or amateur.
The draw of that experience will keep golfers returning here, to Turnberry, forever.
Info from www.turnberry.co.uk
A winning blend of natural beauty and golfing adventure, the three championship golf courses at Gleneagles are regarded among the very best golf courses in the world. The inspiration of two of the greatest names in the game, five times Open winner James Braid and the Golden Bear himself Jack Nicklaus, the courses offer tantalising challenges for all levels of player.
Info from www.gleneagles.com/golf/golf-courses
Prestwick Golf Club was founded in 1851 by a group of 57 members who met at the Red Lion Inn, Prestwick. Its first Captain was The Earl of Eglinton, who presented a gold medal for annual competition; the Eglinton gold medal is still Old Tom Morrisplayed for to this day. Colonel Fairlie of Coodham brought Tom Morris with his wife Agnes and son young Tommy to Prestwick from St. Andrews, to be the Keeper of the Green, Ball and Club Maker.
The members purchased two cottages opposite the Red Lion Inn- One for Tom, and the other as a clubhouse; both buildings are still standing intact today albeit reconstructed. Tom returned to St Andrews in 1864 and his house was auctioned in 1866 for £170. This allowed the club to build a new Clubhouse on the present site for a cost of £758 in 1868. In 1877, extensions were carried out at a cost of £700 and in 1882, 90 lockers, which are still in use, were installed at a cost of £350. A major re-development was completed in 1999.
Prestwick staged the first Open Championship in 1860. It was organised by the members who subscribed £25 to purchase a red morocco leather belt with silver clasps, which was won by Willie Park of Musselburgh with a score of 174 over 36 holes.
Info from www.prestwickgc.co.uk
One of the great links courses in Scotland, the Old Course is a challenging test of golfing ability. With the wind to contend with, and deep rough interspersed with gorse and broom, accurate shot making is essential. Players should make their scores on the outward nine, as the prevailing north-westerly wind can make the back nine extremely difficult.
Although a links course, the Portland is a little more sheltered than the Old Course and, of course, shorter. The holes meander through terrain filled with gorse and broom and has a generous helping of Par 3's, five in all. This is tempered however, with four Par 5's, all of which are on the back nine.
The Craigend Course consists of nine par 3 holes and the small greens present a series of tricky targets. The course is utilised mainly by Junior Players and a few elderly Members. It provides a perfect setting for relaxed family golf.
Info from www.royaltroon.co.uk
East Lothian, Scotland
Golf was first played at Muirfield in 1891 on 18 holes laid out by Old Tom Morris. Restricted by stone walls that completely surrounded the course, the original layout occupied 117 acres. The turf was good in places but there were areas of sandy wasteland and some of the lower points were waterlogged. Over a period of thirty years, the land was drained and the sandy areas were seeded and cultivated.
Muirfield hosted the first Open Championship to be played over 72 holes in 1892 and then again in 1896. After each event, the course received some criticism and improvements were made. It was evident that the surrounding walls had limited the design and the first significant alteration was made with the purchase in 1907 of an additional 13 acres.
The Honourable Company was fortunate to have many leading amateur players amongst its membership, which provided the Club with a useful source of knowledge when course improvements were discussed. One such Member, Robert Maxwell who was an outstanding player, made a valuable contribution in the years leading up to the First World War.
In 1923, a further 50 acres were secured to the north of the course. Renowned course designer Harry Colt was consulted and his recommendations effectively produced the layout as it is today. He introduced 14 new holes and his design included two loops of nine holes, one played within the other in the opposite direction. After this the Muirfield course stood shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world.
Apart from Tom Simpson's re-modelling of the 13th hole in 1935, the only notable changes since then have been the provision of new tees to combat improvements in equipment. Significantly and importantly Colt's challenge has been preserved.
Info from www.muirfield.org.uk
The Balgownie is one of the truest linksland layouts in golf. It's a course to test the better golfer, one who can accommodate the many variable conditions this arduous links can throw at you. Balgownie's front nine holes rank amongst the very best in the world. No two are the same within a natural ecosystem, interspersed with rich turf and tight rolling fairways, that is a sheer delight to behold.
The Silverburn Course is a very attractive short 18 hole course with nine par 3's. A mixture of links and parkland beautifully maintained and always a joy to play when time allows.
Info from www.royalaberdeengolf.com
This course is regularly rated in the world’s top 20 and is one of the greatest tests of Links golf that there is. The course is just over 6,500 yards, but this is no reflection on the degree of difficulty to be found on many of the holes. Raised or sloping greens are characteristic as well as elevated tees so the target is well presented although rarely easy to reach.
Info from www.royaldornoch.com
CrudenBay is situated on the east coast of Scotland 23 miles north of Aberdeen and 8 miles south of Peterhead.
It is claimed that golf was played in the village of Cruden Bay as early as 1791. The original course, on the present site, was commissioned by the Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR) following the expansion of the railways at the end of the 19th century, designed by Old Tom Morris of St Andrews, and opened in 1899.
Cruden Bay offers an internationally famous golfing experience - old fashioned links golf at its best - on one of the best links courses in Scotland, and last year was placed at No 52 in the world by "Golf Magazine".
Info from www.crudenbaygolfclub.co.uk
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If you are interested in this trip or your own custom itinerary, please contact me. I can assure you my price will be the lowest you can find anywhere!