Scotland is one of golf’s leading destinations but it need not be expensive to experience a slice of golfing history.
Play golf in Scotland and it’s an experience that will stay with you all your golfing life. The Home of Golf offers more than 550 courses from prestigious links to surprising gems and traditional island golf. But you don’t have to be out of pocket because there are many good value offers available to make the game accessible to all budgets and skills.
Here are some great deals and surprising golfing treats to be found the length and breadth of the country.
Thanks to its northerly location, Shetland enjoys extensive daylight during the summer months from 5am in the morning until 10pm at night. During the summer golfing hours can extend until midnight making it the perfect destination for golfers who want to tee off into the wee small hours.
Play Britain’s most northerly golf course, Whalsay, the wildlife strewn nine-hole Asta Golf Club with some of the best views found on any course, and the 18-hole Dale golf course just outside Lerwick and at the head of the sea loch of Dales Voe.
Green fees range from £10 – £20 for a day ticket
THE NORTH EAST
In addition to boasting some wonderful golf courses such as Royal Aberdeen, one of the oldest courses in the world and home to the Walker Cup this September, and Cruden Bay with its links to Slains Castle the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this area is also rich in history, culture and cuisine. There are more castles per acre than anywhere else in the UK, the world’s only malt whisky trail, and more than 50 golf courses to choose from so there’s something to tempt the taste buds on and off the course.
Stay and play offers are available at Meldrum House for two nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast and a round of golf on Murcar, Cruden Bay and Meldrum for £345pp available until 2012.
St Andrews is where it all started so what better way to immerse yourself in golfing history than following in the footsteps of golfing greats and playing the famous Old Course. It is now even easier to play with the new ballot system now extended to 48 hours, giving golfers who have been unable to book in advance a greater chance to make their own piece of golfing history.
In addition to the many courses in St Andrews, there are other golfing gems throughout Fife including Balcomie Links, Elie and Lundin Links as well as Crail Golfing Society, one of the oldest golf clubs in the world. For something a little different try the game of a bygone era – hickory golf. The Kingarrock Hickory Club will provide all the equipment you need. The cost of the round, including a nip, hire of clubs and refreshments on completion is £25.
What most will find surprising about the Borders, other than the championship courses and hidden gems, is the region’s proximity to Edinburgh with many courses within an hour of the city center.
To play golf in the Borders needn’t break the bank, Championship courses such as The Roxburghe and the course known as ‘the Gleneagles of the South’, Cardrona, are included in the Freedom of the Fairways golf pass along with another 19 courses. The pass operates from April until the end of October with a three-day passport, valid for up to six rounds on consecutive weekdays, for just £95 or a five-day passport (valid for up to ten rounds) for £130.
With a mild climate due to the proximity to the Gulf Stream, the south west not only has some of Scotland’s most historical golf courses and insights into Scottish history, it is also the ideal place to play golf all year round.
To experience some of Scotland’s history while playing golf try Lochmaben Golf Course, which lies close to the site of Robert the Bruce’s castle, and as well as the golfing challenge there is a huge defensive motte to contend with.
Dumfries & Galloway offers fantastic value and quality for golfers. The Tiger Trail and the Gateway to Golf Pass offer a range of great deals starting at £80 for a three-round pass or £120 for a six-round pass.
Perthshire is renowned as having some of the finest courses in the country – Gleneagles has three championship courses: the King’s Course and Queen’s Course, and the more recent PGA Centenary Course, the setting for the 2014 Ryder Cup.
Away from the championship courses there’s a wealth of James Braid and Tom Morris designed courses providing stunning scenery and an insight into the history of the area. The Perthshire Green Card provides the ideal way to play courses such as Blairgowrie, Alyth, Taymouth Castle and Pitlochry; available at £99 for five rounds and £65 for three rounds.
Playing in the shadows of the Cairngorm mountain range is sure to surprise even the most travelled of golfers. The Boat of Garten golf course does exactly that with stunning views of the mountains and the occasional passing steam train all adding to a special golf experience.
At Royal Dornoch, in the Sutherland area of the Highlands, there’s a chance you might share a fairway with a celebrity. Over the years the legendary links course, the third oldest course in the world, has built a dedicated following of well-known personalities, many of whom are honorary members. Take advantage of the Dornoch Firth golf pass and receive 30 percent discount a round at Royal Dornoch, Brora, Golspie, and Tain. The pass cost £30 and is valid for 12 months.
For more information on golf in Scotland visit www.visitscotland.com/surprise