Doubtless a place that features more than just a few venues on your bucket list, Scotland has more than 550 golf courses to choose from. You can walk in the footsteps of the world’s greatest golfers one day, and stumble across a hidden gem the next. Links, parkland, heathland – no one ever tires of golf in this part of the world. With that in mind, here are our top tips for planning a golf trip to Scotland…
Consider the geography
Our friends from across the pond might think nothing of playing half a dozen tracks in a few days. However, if you want a more relaxing golfing getaway, you may want to plan your trip around one or two regions and sub regions. After all, there’s always next year… and the year after.
A part of the golfing world that needs no introduction, Fife’s famous courses just roll off the tongue. St Andrews, Kingsbarns, Ladybank – the list goes on. With nearly 50 courses in the region, The Home of Golf is a must-visit destination for every golfer.
You’ll find Scotland’s Golf Coast thirty minutes from Edinburgh. With another 20 courses to choose from, including the prestigious Muirfield, you could do far worse than base yourself in Scotland’s capital.
Ayrshire & Arran
In this region, you can tick off three more Open venues with visits to Royal Troon, Trump Turnberry and Prestwick – the original home of golf’s oldest Major Championship. With nearly 50 other courses in the region, Ayrshire is a golfing hotbed. It’s easily accessible, too, with Glasgow and Edinburgh airports not far away.
Gleneagles lies in the heart of the Perthshire countryside. With three wonderful courses, not to mention its luxurious accommodation, it’s up there with the very best in the UK as a ‘stay and play’ destination. With tranquil glens and lush woodlands, its terrain is perfect for golf and many more outdoors pursuits.
Carnoustie may be front of mind when it comes to planning a golf trip to Scotland. However, ‘Carnoustie Country’ features an excellent variety of championship courses, as well as a great number of inland beauties. It’s also home to Montrose, the world’s fifth oldest golf course. The other advantage, of course, is that St Andrews is just a short drive away.
It’s not just Aberdeenshire’s 165 miles of coast that attracts golfers from all over the world, its parkland and heathland courses are also a joy to play. For those looking to tick off a few more glorious links layouts, those steeped in history, take your pick from the likes of Royal Aberdeen, Murcar Links and Fraserburgh.
Dumfries & Galloway
The south of Scotland packs quite a punch, even without possessing any of the ‘big guns’. Southerness boasts spectacular coastal scenery and should most definitely feature on your itinerary if visiting this part of the country. Elsewhere, Brighouse Bay, Powfoot and Stranraer are three more super courses to consider.
Peebles, Torwoodlee and Roxburghe are just three charming clubs to plan into your trip when venturing just over the border. The country’s Open venues may attract greater traffic, but this region is home to some beautiful layouts where a warm welcome is guaranteed.
The Highlands encompass a number of Scotland’s finest links and inland courses. Inverness is home to one of the newer layouts, Castle Stuart, which opened in 2009 but has already held the Scottish Open four times. Further north, Royal Dornoch is a classic links and an Old Tom Morris masterpiece. Links lovers will also find themselves wowed by Nairn, home of the 1999 Walker Cup.
Price & Packages
It’s a treat to play an Open Championship course, and one that comes at a price. Whether you’re on a small family golf trip, or annual society tour, one popular option is to build a golf break around one or two Major venues. This way, you get to experience the same aura as the game’s greatest places, whilst allowing your money to stretch further. Discover some of the best packages by clicking on the links above.
Make of the most of the daylight hours
You’d do well to book yourself a late tee time in the heart of summer, when, on a good day, you can play golf long into the evening. Get your camera out and enjoy those coastal sunsets.
Visit the British Golf Museum
No golf trip to Scotland is complete without spending a few hours immersing yourself in the history of the game at St Andrews. You’re in the Home of Scotland. Enjoy it, because it doesn’t get any better.
Visit britishgolfmuseum.co.uk to find out more.
Head into town
This is a part of the world where people love their golf. As nice as your hotel is, venture out into town. If you’re lucky enough to be here during a tournament, the local towns come alive. It’s on the TV, people are dressed for golf and everyone’s talking about it. As if you needed an excuse to find a local watering hole.
Traveling to Scotland by train is certainly more appealing than the motorway option. However, public transport and flying has its drawbacks. So, consider hiring clubs, which can save money in the long run, especially given those pricy airline charges.
ClubstoHire can be found at Edinburgh airport, where you can rent the latest sets from golf’s leading manufacturers.
Leave plenty of time for other activities
Railway tours, island hopping, day tripping and whisky sampling are easy to fit around your golf trip. In fact, it’s highly recommended and all part of the Scottish experience. Our final tip, no matter what the season: take lots of warm clothing. You knew that already, of course.
To plan your perfect Scotland golf trip, including ideas on where to stay and other tourist information, head to visitscotland.com