Golf in Scotland

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

With the ever growing demand for Golf Breaks in Europes warmer climates such as Spain, Portugal and Turkey, and the embarrassing fact we’d never actually played there before, we thought we’d visit Scotland to try and promote the home of golf.

Not having the time we’d like due to work commitments, we decided on a mini visit for 2 nights with 4 rounds and a couple of long drives either side. Planning where we would play was not easy with so many well known and historical courses to choose from. With 6-7 hour drives from just outside of London, we thought that this time we wouldn’t go too far North and try to stick to closer courses.

For the whole week leading up to what for us was a very exciting trip, the weather was being constantly checked and not once were we looking forward to being in waterproofs and under the umbrella for the entire trip, but that’s what looked like would happen.

With a 5am wake up call on the Friday, our first destination was the host of the 2014 Ryder Cup, Gleneagles. We were going to be playing the Kings Course, not the PGA Centenary which the USA and Europe battled it out on. Speaking to people beforehand and also since, the majority verdict has been that the Kings was a favourite…we can definitely see why.

So we arrived in good time, well before our scheduled tee time and were met by a member of the team who kindly showed us around. The hotel at Gleneagles is beautiful with over 200 rooms and plenty of places to eat and drink, with many activities besides golf. The rooms are of a very good size and the one we were showed, which was the one above a classic room was large and had an enormous bathroom with freestanding bath. Amongst the restaurants is Scotland’s only 2 Michelin Starred restaurant, they recommend booking at least a couple of months in advance if wanting to eat there.

Alongside the what I’d call golf club bar is an extremely quirky outside seating area where you can sit on heated leather seats, cover yourself in a blanket, sample one of a huge selection of whiskey’s and smoke a cigar (available to buy there). Unfortunately for us, this was reserved for a group booking when we came in after golf.

A cheeky little swing doctor before our round

A cheeky little swing doctor before our round

We had some lunch overlooking the 18th holes of the Kings and Queens courses and were lucky enough to get our tee time moved forward.

Even though we played in extremely high winds and some extremely large downpours, we were not let down by the course. There was some beautiful scenerary, with very well manicured tees right through to greens. The only thing I would say would be that if you have trouble walking or of the older generation, a buggy would be advised as there are some very hilly areas to walk up.

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We did have more photos that were taken on the gopro but due to an unfortunate coming together with an errant tee shot, this happened. That’ll teach us to get all arty with trying to take action photos from different angles.

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The changing facilities are superb and after a shower and change into some dry clothes, we went to the hotel bar followed by a meal in their Mediterranean restaurant. We weren’t lucky enough to be staying in the hotel as it was fully booked but with other activities available such as tennis, shooting, fishing, hunting and falconry exhibitions, it’s definitely worth a stop over.

We offer some great stay and play packages for Gleneagles, just visit our website www.whereshalliplaygolf.com or give us a call for more details.

So after what was a very long day, the early alarm call came and we were off to our next stop…Trump Turnberry.

When driving up to the resort, you immediately notice the famous hotel sat on the hill.

The stunning Trump Turnberry Hotel

The stunning Trump Turnberry Hotel

Not a spot of rain the for the whole car journey, until we opened the car door when the heavens opened. By this point we just accepted that this was going to be it, another rain soaked round. As you will see by the photos, this wasn’t the case, only on 2 holes did we get wet on, but we did get blown around all over the place, there were winds like no other.

The best word to describe the scenery is ‘Wow’! We have played hundreds of courses across Europe but I can honestly say that my battery drained quicker here from taking so many photos than anywhere else.

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We had been paired up with a gentleman from Australia who was talking to us about all the amazing courses he’d visited but was in awe of this wonderful place. Everything about the course was superb, and we were lucky that the greens weren’t running as quick as they could because we wouldn’t have had a chance.

Even though we didn’t play our best golf, we didn’t want the round to end. If you get a chance to visit before they close in September for a reshape, take a walk onto the pro tee on the 9th hole and look across to what will be a daunting par 3 over the sea when the changes have been made.

This will be what you'll be teeing off over after the reshape

This will be what you’ll be teeing off over after the reshape

We didn’t get a chance to see around the hotel and facilities due to time constraints but were told by our playing partner who had stayed the night that they’re great.

The green fees here in the summer are definitely at the top end of the market but I have to say, this course needs to be added to your bucket list, and you have to get the obligatory Lighthouse golf photo!

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For all green fees and packages, give us a call or visit www.whereshalliplaygolf.com

Off to Prestwick we went. We were excited to play at the home of The Open and were looking to get a spot of lunch when we arrived. However, the casual bar is closed on a Saturday and you are required to wear a jacket and tie in the members bar. We opted for a sandwich from Co-op round the corner.

The staff were very helpful and friendly and we were taken on a quick tour of the clubhouse which included replicas of the first belt that was awarded to the winner of The Open and of course the familiar claret jug.

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We chose to take a fore caddy which I must say is essential. The course is quite quirky and has a lot of blind shots, I’m not sure if we would have enjoyed trying to work it out ourselves…only problem is, you can’t blame misreads on the greens, you only have yourself to blame ;-). A caddy costs £45 plus tip (which is usually around the £15 mark).

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We had a good laugh with our Caddy, and he saved us numerous 3 putts

Prestwick is a proper test of golf. The caddy told us that most scratch players won’t break 90. As well as the tough lines and greens there is a howling wind to contend with, this is definitely best played on a dry day by good golfers wanting to test their ability.

It was a nice touch to have our photo taken on the first tee and have it printed and waiting for us when we finished. This is definitely worth a visit to indulge in the history of the club, experience the first class hospitality and play one of the best courses we have played.

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For more information and any bookings, just give us a call or visit www.whereshalliplaygolf.com

Onto our final morning and visit, and what was due to be the wettest and coldest of the trip…the 4th oldest club in the World, Bruntsfield Links. Don’t be fooled by the name, this is actually a parkland course and it’s a little gem.

We arrived bright and early and have to say, greeted by a wonderful view from the car park looking down the driving range to the Forth of Firth.

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Not only that, but blue skies and what ended up being a lovely, but windy dry day.

Before arriving, make sure you’re given a code by us or the club themselves, as guests need this to get in. Like the others, this club is deep in history and you can find various areas of the clubhouse with interesting facts and memorabilia.

The course itself is extremely well presented, which you would expect from somewhere that hosts The Open Qualifying for 4 consecutive years every 4 years.

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Only 15 minutes from Edinburgh Airport, Bruntsfield Links is the ideal course to play straight from landing or just before leaving to fly out. It doesn’t have the wow factor of some of the others, but it doesn’t make it any lesser of a course and is a fraction of the price, so a good little add on to your golf package. They are renowned for their lunches but if you want to sit in the formal dining area, make sure you pack your jacket and tie.

As all the others, we can book your tee time for you and add this course on to any package.

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Overall, our first experience of golf in Scotland is one we’ll definitely remember, and any golfer has to experience it. Hopefully, we’ll visit again very soon and try a different area and let you know our thoughts.

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