5 Scotland Golf Travel Misconceptions

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Posted April 10, 2014 by Ru Macdonald in Travel

1. No Access to Championship Courses

If reading from North America our golf course facilities are nothing like yours. Not to be taken as an insult but more highlighting the inherent part of our golfing culture which is for anyone, of any class and social standing.You only have to take a glance at every credible golf course ranking to understand this concept. The below graphic is an example of this sourced from the recent Golf Digest Greatest Golf Courses ranking.

5 Scotland Golf Travel Misconceptions

Yes the demand for visiting tee times at the Open Championship venues of Old Course St Andrews, Royal Troon, Turnberry Ailsa and Carnoustie are high therefore limiting availability but these are very much exceptions to the rule. Note that all of the before mentioned are publicly accessible and your preferred golf tour operator will give you the best opportunity for tee-times. As for the American resort courses of Castle Stuart, Trump Scotland and Kingsbarns here in Scotland, these visitor only models offer very good availability with some exceptional busy periods during summer months so consider this while planning your itinerary and be willing to compromise. The final bracket of golf courses in Scotland are the member courses which take visitors. These include Royal Dornoch, Royal Aberdeen, North Berwick and Prestwick for example. The visitor constrains can be limited to sections of the day where members are given priority. This apart, visitor availability is good and as always we suggest you book through an established golf tour operator here in Scotland.

2.That Horrible Scottish Weather

5 Scotland Golf Travel Misconceptions

A horrible stereotype not helped by the fact that our Open Champions are often seen celebrating in a full rain-suit, woolly hat holding the claret jug aloft on the 18th green. Yes of course our climate is far removed from those across North America but we get our dry summers and pleasant weather periods too. A recent post outlined how dry our east coast can be particularly in the winter months. Read it here.

As a rule for every wet day you will get in Scotland, expect 3 dry days. Our peak summer season of June-August temperatures typically range from 60-80 degrees with some rainy days thrown in for good measure. Of course bring the wet gear, warm hat and a few all weather gloves but be sure to pack your favorite short sleeve golf shirt too. Most importantly bring to Scotland a realization that this beautiful green country is green for a reason. Mentally prepare for those less than ideal days of golf and you will be pleasantly surprised at the enjoyment you will gain from fighting a 3 club wind or a passing shower while playing on the world’s greatest golf courses here at The Home of Golf, where it all started.

3. Only Good Players Play Golf in Scotland

Culturally as touched on previously golf is for anyone of any ability and these golf courses have been designed in a way which encourages players of all ability to participate. New courses such as those at Trump Scotland or Kingsbarns have multiple tee boxes for you to get the most enjoyable experience possible to suit your playing ability. Older courses have also recognized this and introduced forward green tees for visitor play. The courses are not any more challenging than courses around the world and can in some cases offer a refreshing alternative when playing a 250 yard par 4. What many visitors fail to appreciate is the impact weather has on course play ability often creating a much greater test for the golfer. This is when a visiting golfer should use his or her common sense when selecting tees to play off. If you decided all week playing from white tees worked, realize that the 20mph extra wind will take all enjoyment out the game from today’s white tees and play yellow. Same applies to rough-bound balls. Hit another and keep the game moving. Most visitor courses require handicap certificates and these vary from course to course so check with your selected tour operator. No matter how deep some of our bunkers are, or how thick our rough can be there will always be a birdie chance round the corner, so stick in and keep rolling those putts.

4. Old Course St Andrews or the Highway

5 Scotland Golf Travel Misconceptions

The iconic image of St Andrews and the lure of the Old Course would at first glance be fantastic for Scottish golf and it generally has been but what is often overlooked is the lack of representation of Scotland’s other 596 golf options equally as enjoyable. The picture above is replicated by every group that plays the Old Course for the first time and is the first picture a golfer will look to share on their personal social media pages. It has for years been celebrated and talked about, I get it but what is heard time and time again is if I fail in getting an Old Course tee time I ‘aint coming! This is the challenge.

5 Scotland Golf Travel Misconceptions

You will be amazed at the range of golf courses here in Scotland which offer world class, unique golfing experiences.Take away the Open Championship courses Scotland would still have a world class golf offering to share with the world. So by all means look to visit and play St Andrews but please, do not let it stop you discovering all the other golf offerings Scotland has to offer.Which will you play?

5. Scotland a Buddies Only Trip Destination

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Scotland is a travel destination perfect for couples and families to enjoy a range of activities off the golf course. From castles and the historic heritage of Scotland to the modern busy cities of Glasgow or Edinburgh there is enough here to interest all types of visitors. Not forgetting the fantastic food and drink Scotland offers after a busy day sightseeing, shopping or relaxing. Accessibility from throughout North America and across the world is seamless with fantastic routes to Scotland’s largest airports Glasgow and Edinburgh with many of Scotland’s smaller airports running daily flights to and from London.   There really is no excuse not to visit Scotland with golf buddies, friends or family.


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Ru Macdonald is host and producer of the Scottish Golf Podcast which helps visiting golfers thinking of travelling to Scotland by sharing insight and reviews of Scotland golf travel. Recently awarded Golf Tourism Scotland 2013 Young Person of the Year, Ru continues to work within the industry in Scotland continuing to create fantastic insight into the industry professionals that keeps Scottish golf travel at the front of every golfer's bucket list.
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