January 7, 2013

Bucket List Trip–Golf In Scotland Part 1

For as long as the game of golf has been played, Scotland has always been known as the Home of Golf and in particular, the venerable Old Course in St. Andrews is thought to be where it all began over 600 years ago.

Ever since worldwide travel became relatively inexpensive and golf tourism became popular in the 1970’s, no doubt fuelled by the exploits of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and others in The Open Championship in the 1960’s, most passionate golfers around the world have put a golf trip to Scotland at the top of their “Bucket List”. Having decided that you want to make a trip to the Home of Golf, the next decision to make is where to? Having arranged golf trips for thousands of golfers in the past 12 years, here are some recommendations worth considering:

1. Try to organise your trip with just two regions if planning the standard 7 – 9 day trip. Unless you are planning a longer trip, don’t try to play Turnberry in the very Southwest and Royal Dornoch up in the Highlands in the one week. With narrow roads and lower speed limits, travel between locations is far more difficult than in the United States. You will be so enchanted with your first visit that you will want to go back again and again, so there will be further opportunities to play all of the great courses that Scotland offers.

2. If it is your first visit, then definitely St. Andrews and one other location is by far the strongest recommendation. You could even stay in St. Andrews for the full 7 – 8 days and play seven or eight great “links” courses from there, including the Old Course, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns ranked in the World’s Top 100. With early planning, you could combine 2 – 3 days in Edinburgh to play Muirfield (#9 in World’s Top 100) and North Berwick West (#89) with 5 – 6 days in St. Andrews and have a trip that would be hard to beat for great “links” golf. FYI, Muirfield only take visitors on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and early planning is a definite requirement if one is to secure tee times there. Furthermore, St. Andrews take advanced applications for the Old Course in early September each year.

3. For groups of eight or more, I would strongly suggest a coach and driver and this would avoid the stress of reading maps, driving on the other side of the narrow roads, loading and unloading clubs and allow you to have some after-round beers.

If this interests you and you are ready to cross this off your golf bucket list, then provide your name and best phone number to be reached at and Kevin McGrath will contact you and help you plan your dream trip.

Mr. McGrath is a member of Portmarnock and Lahinch Golf Clubs in Ireland, two courses ranked in the Top 100 Courses in the World, and also Troon Country Club in Scottsdale. He is a member of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Rating Panel, an elite group of passionate golfers consisting of course architects, historians, leading professionals, and well-traveled golf enthusiasts. His involvement in the golf industry over the past 13 years has allowed him to connect and network with many of the top industry personnel, and this, coupled with other relationships developed over four decades, gives him access to key golf industry leaders.

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