Bucket List Golf

This week’s blog is a guide to some of the best golf courses from around the world that we recommend having on your bucket list. There are some spectacular golf courses out there and if you are a discerning golfer you will have identified the ones that you want to have the opportunity to play but we recommend these brilliant courses as a round on one of these courses is truly unforgettable.

Both of the courses at Fairmont St Andrew’s are incredible and each deserve a place on this list and it isn’t hard to see why. The Kittocks course is situated on elevated ground next to the cliff-tops and boasts a fantastic and dramatic design that is a brilliant test of golf. The course features two man-made lakes but the layout of the course honours the tradition of golf at St Andrew’s with two double greens and many deep pot bunkers. As you play your round, you will meander along the Fife coastline where you can enjoy beautiful views over St Andrews which just adds to the brilliant feel of this course. Beware of this course, you may be eased in for the first few holes but when you get to the par-5 5th hole, you never really look back. The Torrance course is a testing one at 7,230 yards from the back tees. The course played host to The Open in 2010 and is a top-quality course right from the welcome that you receive in the clubhouse to each and every one of the well-manicured greens. The course is built on the cliff tops and whilst you are enjoying your round you can enjoy stunning views over the North Sea. Like its sister course, you have a gentle start, but the course soon becomes trickier. With a professional welcome at the clubhouse and great service as well as two beautifully manicured courses which both will provide you with an excellent test of golf, it is no surprise that we recommend that Fairmont St Andrews Golf Club has a place on your golfing bucket list.

Next, is the brilliant Albatros at Le Golf National which is considered to be one of the best championship courses in Europe and so it is no surprise that the course will host the 2018 Ryder Cup. The course boasts brilliantly fast greens, undulating fairways and links-style bunkers which makes this course a strategic challenge of golf. During your round here, you will need to use every single club in your bag in order to score as well as you can. The finale of this course is very impressive, and the greens are surrounded by water hazards which makes it a fantastic and challenging end to the course and is sure to mean some last-minute drama at the Ryder Cup later this year. It is not surprising that this is a recommendation of ours for your golfing bucket list and so make sure that you book your golf break soon as possible as we are sure that this course will be getting a lot of attention this year…

Fancourt Golf Club’s Links course is another one that we highly recommend to you and is arguably South Africa’s premier leisure resort which is situated in the heart of the Garden Route. The course is situated on over 1,500 acres of lush African countryside and boasts the majestic Outeniqua Mountains as the perfect backdrop. This Gary Player course has a unique feel to it and is a magnificent round of golf with some amazing wildlife and scenery to enjoy during your round if you can pull your eyes away from the course! There are no easy holes on the course and the rough is severe and penal, if you’re a high handicapper this may not be the best course for you but is one that you can aspire to play.

The K Club is widely considered to be one of the most opulent golf resorts in Ireland so it isn’t hard to see why we have added this to our list of golf courses that should be on your bucket list. The Palmer Ryder course at K Club is a stern test of golf at 7,337 yards from the back tees. As you play your round here, you will have to take on many different challenges successfully in order to finish the round with a good scorecard. These challenges range from the vast number of water hazards to strategically placed bunkers and fast greens. This course should not be underestimated and even if you don’t score well, a trip to The K Club is a brilliant one with first-class service and facilities as well as a course with a fantastic layout and stunning views. There are some very intimidating holes which you must tackle carefully including the 16th which is a very long par-5 at just under 600 yards from the blue tees and boasts a double dogleg where you must navigate your ball around the water and bunkers as well as many trees before you get to approach the green which is protected on two sides by the River Laffey and is difficult to reach successfully. This is a brilliant course with some unique and interesting holes as well as a lovely clubhouse to enjoy a drink and meal in after.

Last, but certainly not least, is Real Club Valderrama which has hosted many championship golfing events since its opening and has justifiably been ranked as the number one course in Europe. It is always in immaculate condition and boasts a great design but is one that challenges even the best of golfers with many tight holes and hazards to navigate your way around. The closing holes are always described as being very tough but if you choose your tee option wisely then you should be able to get a fairly good scorecard. Although the green fee is a little expensive here, it is more than worth the money to get the chance to play on this world-renowned course.

We hope that you have taken a note of the courses you would be most interested in adding to your golfing bucket list and that you consider booking a golf break to one of them and the fantastic hotels that are nearby to these brilliant courses…

17 of the Best Scottish Golf Courses

17 of the Best Scottish Golf Courses

The best Scottish golf courses are difficult to narrow down. As the birthplace of the sport, it’s no wonder that some of the world’s top courses can be found in Scotland. From rolling hills and postcard-like scenery to impeccable green and famous courses, Scotland has it all. Planning a trip to this golfer’s paradise? Fantastic, you’re going to want to determine which courses you’ll choose.

The decision won’t be easy, but here are 17 of the best Scottish golf courses to get you started.

New Course at St. Andrews

St. Andrews is one of Scotland’s most famous courses. And, while the old course garners a lot of attention, it’s the new course that is really impressing players. Like the old course, it runs along the coastline, offering sea views and a peak at the steeples jutting from the town below.

The new course is slightly more difficult than the old and it goes clockwise so that much of the challenge is on the left. The course was built in 1895 by Tom Morris, and is a classic links course with challenging green and fairways.

St Andrews

Jubilee Course

Also located at St. Andrews, the Jubilee course is one of Scotland’s favorites. It has a par 72 and is 6742 yards. This third championship course is considered to be one of the most challenging links in the area.

Jubilee was built in 1897 and was originally meant for beginners and women golfers. However, players noticed that its location was prime, and they decided to make it a championship course in 1988.

Golfers play this course in an out-and-back way, although there are no shared fairways or double greens. It’s full of par threes, has gorgeous views of the bay, and offers a landscape with modest dunes. This course has been the home of quite a few amateur championships.

Old Course St. Andrews

And finally, the Old Course at St. Andrews must make the list. It is 6721 yards and has a par 72. This course is the oldest and most famous in the entire world, which makes it a must-visit no matter what. What’s even better is that this Scottish golf course is public so that anyone can have the experience.

Its best-known features are the Hell Bunker, Swilcan Bridge, and the fact that it has double greens. In fact, only four holes have their own green. The course can be played in any direction and it also is home to 112 bunkers, all which have their own history. On Sundays, the course actually shuts down so that it can ‘rest.’ Although sometimes, it is opened as a park area for the public.

Muirfield Gullane

The links here are privately owned and used for The Open Championship on rotation. The course has seen a lot of famous winners like Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Henry Cotton, and Ernie Els.

The course sports a links that is a little different from the norm. Instead of the usual layout, Muirfield was the first to establish two loops with nine holes each. One loop is counterclockwise while the other goes clockwise.

This usually means that each hole faces a different wind pattern, which can make the game more challenging. And, this course is home to one of the oldest golf associations in the world, ‘The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.”

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Royal Dornoch Course

This course is infamous amongst the golf community. Players come from all over the world just to experience it.  In fact, it was voted the best course in Scotland and the 5th best in the world, according to Golfer’s Digest in 2016. It’s a natural links course that is secluded amongst the wild, making it an attractive destination.

The course was founded in 1877 and features white sandy beach as well as plenty of challenges. It’s the third oldest course in the world, and has been the talk of the golfing town well before it was officially established.

The layout is out-and-back, and there are raised dome greens and plenty of par 4s. There is even a long par 4 at the 14th hole that measures nearly 445 yards.

North Berwick West Links 

Golf has been played on this links land since the early 17th century. However, it was in 1832 that the official golf club was created. While there was some dispute about the land in the beginning, the course eventually took shape. Since then, this true links course has been the site of many Championship events. Golfers love the course beach and the challenge that the sea brings in at high tide. There are even walls in the middle of the fairway that make it even more of a challenge.

This course has three holes that are most well known; The 13th ‘Pit,’ the 14th ‘Perfection,’ and the 15th, ‘Redan.’ With the course running along the outskirts of the town, players get to straddle two worlds throughout the game.

Turnberry 

This course is located right on the coastline and is made up of three links courses, a 5-star hotel, and a golf academy. The land was originally used as an airbase during the first world war. After the war ended, the first two courses were built on the property.

During World War II the course was used again for military purposes. However, in 1949, the Ailsa course was constructed here. The Kintyre course was opened in 2001 and the Arran course opened in 2002.

Across the courses, many championships have been won by some of golf’s biggest names like Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus. The Ailsa course has been compared to Pebble Beach and many of the holes offer a great view of the famous lighthouse. Visitors can also get a glimpse of the Isle of Arran, right from the course.

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Royal Troon 

This course was founded in 1878. There are actually two courses, but the old is considered the best. It’s a traditional links course that offers one of the most challenging greens in the game. Players will face plenty of wind, gorse, broom, and a deep rough.

In 1923, the old course was redesigned in preparation for the Open Championship.  Some of its noteworthy features include the seaside opening which offers lots of space and two blind tree shots.

The course is also known for its long finish and famous holes. It’s par 3 8th hole is known as one of the best in the world. And, the longest and shortest holes in Open Championship can be found here.

Loch Lomond

This golf course and club are considered to be the most exclusive in all of Scotland. Top golfers fly in from all over the world to get the 5-star treatment at the clubhouse.

This course is full of little surprises like the remains of Rossdhu Castle behind the 8th hole. It’s also located on Loch Lomond National Park, so you can imagine that it’s quite scenic

Prestwick 

Located close to Glasgow, this course is a classic links design. Visitors love the sandy beach features as well as the railroad tracks that run along some of the holes on the course. There is a river that runs through the property which is great for both nature lovers and those who like a challenge.

Players will find sand dunes, blind shots, and some infamous holes like the par 4 17th. Prestwick is like a pilgrimage for golfers who travel far and wide to play on this classic course. With plenty of quirks and tons of charm, this unique course has been deemed one of the best in Scotland.

Gleneagles

The Gleneagles golf courses are considered some of the top in the world.  There are four to choose from and they each offer their own charm. The PGA Centenary course was create by Jack Nicklaus and was once the home of the Ryder Cup in 2014. It’s set in beautiful countryside and offers challenging tees at 6,815 yards as well as 5,322 yards.

The Queen’s course is set amongst beautiful woodlands and has been visited by famous golfers like Johnny Miller and Tom Watson. It’s 3,192 yards long and features challenges like water hazards and ditches.

The King’s Course was built in 1919 and is considered a masterpiece of design.  The views here are stunning with mountain faces, rolling hills, and tall peaks. Be ready for the challenging par 3 at the 5th hole.

Carnoustie Championship Course

This course is considered historic and has been the location for Open Championship rotation. Golf has been played here since the 16th century, and the course went on to host many great players over the years. The green is located along the sea and the course has been voted the most difficult in Ireland and Britain. So, if you’re a newbie to the sport, you may want to save this course for another time.

It is said to have one of the best back nines in the world. And, the last three holes of the course are considered the best closing holes in all of golf. While this course may not be the most scenic, it’s certainly challenging and iconic. Plus, it’s said that every hole here is absolutely unique.

carnoustie

Kingsbarn 

This course was opened in 2000, even though there was a course there before it during the 1700s. The North Sea can be seen from almost every part of the course, which makes it one of the most scenic places to play.

It’s said that Kingsbarn is always in pristine condition and that the hollows and humps make it the perfect challenge. Kingsbarn is also considered one of the true links courses in Scotland. While the course is suitable for golfers of all levels, it still offers the challenges that pros will love.

Cruden Bay  

Seaside holes are part of the charm at this classic course. Visitors love the challenges that arise with the blind shots, deep valleys, and hills. The hills are part of what makes it so challenging, but they are also the feature that makes the course so beautiful.

Visitors will also have fantastic views of Slain Castle while they play on this classic, Scottish course.

Castle Stuart 

Opened in 2009, this course has received incredible views over the past few years. It was the venue for the Scottish Open four different years, which helped the course earn international attention.

Some of its most notable holes are the 18th, par 5 and the short par four 3rd hole. The course is quite wide from the tee but it offers plenty of challenges that even more advanced golfers can appreciate.

Machrihanish Championship Course 

Considerably remote, this old course is both unique and thrilling. The holes are surrounded by authentic, natural scenes and the twists of the course make it quite the challenge.

The course is most loved for its opener which is an icon for its difficulty. Players must take the tee shot which is played across the beach and the ocean.

A visit to this course is more than just a game. It’s a whole new experience.

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Gullane No.1 

This course is one of Scotland’s most charming golf destinations. The terrain is full of rolling green and the collection of bunkers gives golfers the right amount of difficulty to keep things interesting.

The views expand out towards Firth of Forth and all the way to Edinburgh. Players have been hitting the green here since 1884 and the par 5 3rd has built a reputation for being one of the best holes in the world.

Whether amateur or veteran, any golfer can come and enjoy this classic, Scottish course. 

Scotland is the birthplace of golf, and anyone serious about the sport should experience the courses there. Whether you want tried and tested golf resorts or some off-the-beaten-path gems, you’ll be sure to find it in this lush country.  

If you are planning a golf holiday in Scotland, make sure to add a few of these courses to your itinerary. And, if you can’t make them all in one trip, you’ll just have an excuse to return next year.

Happy Golfing!

Your Guide to some Very Special Golf in 2018

This week’s blog is a guide to some very special golf resorts and their courses that are perfect for your 2018 golf escape. With 2017 almost coming to a close it is time to start thinking about when you will next be taking a golf break and where it will be to. These resorts and their courses are certainly worth booking right now for 2018 to avoid disappointment so that you can get the best tee times and dates at these brilliant courses.

First up we have the four-star Chervo Golf Hotel Spa and Resort which is situated in the province of Bresia just a few minutes from the shores of Lake Garda. The hotel boasts 75 rooms and suites and four different room types for you to choose from so that you can tailor your stay here to exactly what you want it to be like. There are two restaurants and three bars to choose from so you are never short of somewhere to eat and drink, even if you remain in the hotel for the duration of your stay! Whilst you are not in one of the pools or at the Wellness Spa Centre, we know that you will be out on the golf course enjoying a round at Chervo Golf San Vigilio. The course boasts 36 holes and 27 of them are championship standard. The course is always in excellent conditions and with very few out of bounds areas and wide fairways, it is an excellent holiday course with exceptional views. This is the perfect place for your next golf escape for 2018 and with all of its excellent facilities as well as 36 holes of golf to play here, it isn’t hard to see why.

The Macdonald Cardrona is a four-star hotel which is situated in amongst the beautiful Scottish Borders countryside. Not only does the hotel boast a scenic location, but it is has good links with both Edinburgh and Glasgow and is very close to the town of Peebles which is a lovely place to venture out to. All of the rooms here are spacious but cosy and feature all of the amenities that you would expect from a hotel of this rating. You can see beautiful views from your room across the Scottish Borders. The hotel boasts some excellent facilities including a spa with a sauna and Jacuzzi, a gym and an award-winning restaurant from which you can look out across the golf course and the Border Hills. The hotel’s onsite golf course, Macdonald Cardrona Golf Club, is a great championship course with undulating fairways and greens that stretch out over 7,000 yards. The course is a firm but fair test of golf and with the River Tweed coming into play on a number of holes, this course requires high levels of accuracy from players if you are to score well! This is arguably one of the most beautiful golfing venues in Scotland which makes it a top contender for your 2018 golf escape, especially if you are looking to stay in the UK rather than travel abroad.

Troia Design Hotel is a contemporary five-star hotel which is situated on the Troia peninsula just two minutes’ walk from the beach. This is a truly brilliant location as you have easy access to a lovely beach, the centre of Lisbon and beautiful views of the Arrabida Hills. The hotel offers you so much to do whilst you are there including: a casino, a fully-equipped spa which is the perfect place to relax and unwind and two large swimming pools (including one infinity pool). There are two onsite restaurants, B&G Restaurant where you can enjoy traditional Portuguese cuisine and the Salinas Brasserie which boasts an international menu with many seafood dishes. With all of these facilities as well as luxurious rooms and suites that all have their own private balcony, air conditioning and flat-screen TV, this is the perfect destination for your next golf break to Portugal and the golf hasn’t even been mentioned yet.

Aqualuz Hotel is just three minutes’ walk from the beautiful sandy beaches of the Troia Peninsula and is an elegant four-star suite property. The hotel boasts 365 apartments and each of them is decorated with a chic style and boasts everything that you could need including a kitchenette, a private balcony and a flat-screen TV. This means that you can cater for yourselves whilst you are here. However, for when you don’t want to cook, the hotel has two onsite restaurants serving delicious food. There is so much to do and enjoy here including the spa which has all of the amenities that you would expect including a Jacuzzi, an indoor pool, a Turkish bath and a sauna. If you are looking for a more active holiday, you won’t be disappointed as there are many other sports to do besides golf including water sports, cycling and trekking. This is a lovely place to stay, especially if you are looking to be self-catered and you are situated in a prime location.

The Troia golf course is the perfect addition to your stay either at Troia Design Hotel or Aqualuz Hotel. Troia golf course is a mix of both parkland and links golf and although there are very few water hazards, there are many strategically placed bunkers along the course and some very penal rough which is lying in wait for any errant shots. This is a course with a friendly welcome, a stunning course with some very interesting and challenging holes and a modern clubhouse to enjoy a drink and even a meal in afterwards. Make sure that these hotels and this course is on your mind when you are next thinking about your 2018 golf holiday.

Last, but certainly not least, on our list of suggestions is the four-star Marriott St Pierre Hotel and Country Club which is situated in Wales. This hotel is set in a stunning location and you can enjoy breathtaking views across over 400 acres of parkland here. The hotel boasts two golf courses, one of which is a stern test of golf and the other is a brilliant holiday course which means that when you are staying here you really do get the best of both world. All of the rooms are luxurious and are fitted with all of the amenities that you would expect from a hotel of this rating. Whilst you are not on one of the golf courses, you can enjoy relaxing in the hotel’s spa area or in the fitness club. The hotel’s two onsite restaurants are both brilliant. Morgans Restaurant offers Welsh inspired cuisine in a classic and contemporary setting whilst the Zest Lounge Bar and Eatery offers a more relaxed setting with contemporary dishes. This is a great hotel and one that will offer you the best service and a luxurious stay in a lovely location with excellent golfing options. The Mathern Course at St Pierre Country Club is the shorter and easier of the two courses but provides every golfer with a very enjoyable round. This course boasts a stunning parkland design and a layout that is perfect for golfers of all abilities. The Old Course at St Pierre Country Club has been ranked consistently as one of the top 120 courses in the world and it isn’t hard to see why. This is a long and testing course with some truly outstanding holes, its standout hole is arguably the closing 18th which is spectacular at 235 yards from the edge of the lake to a raised green which means that you must make a precise finishing shot for the putt. Make sure that this hotel and its fantastic golf is on your radar for your next UK golf break.

We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s blog and that when you are planning your next 2018 golf escape, you will think about these hotels and golf courses and consider at least one of them for next year.