Booking a Scottish Golf Vacation

Some Top Tips to Consider and a Few Easy Tricks to Help Add Value


Golf Tour Operators book the same courses, and tend to draw on a similar pool of accommodations as well. The extra value is usually created elsewhere. Faraway Fairways reveal some of our top-tips. But aren't we a tour operator? Yes we are. Can we be trusted? Well put it likes this. It's not in our interests to mislead anyone. Doing so will only bite us back.

Calton Hill.

Image by Andrei-Daniel Nicolae CC BY-SA 2.0

1: Beyond the Fairways

This is perhaps the top piece of advice. It’s amazing how many golfer’s overlook it. You will get a deeper, richer, and more rewarding experience from Scotland by seeking things out beyond her fairways. Many of Scotland’s top courses just happen to be in close proximity to genuine apex visitor attractions. That’s a lucky coincidence. You can add some serious value by combining club and country without really going out of your way to do so. Think of it like this. All operators can book the same golf courses. For the most part, we also use similar portfolios of accommodations too. Not everyone can bring the country to life however. This is very often where the value lies.

2: Book Early

All tour operators advise this, but honestly, it isn’t the industry trying it on. It’s a genuinely sensible piece of advice. Scotland’s top golf courses don’t do ‘late deals’. Put simply, these don’t exist. The only thing you’re likely to achieve leaving things late is sub-optimal tee-times (if you’re lucky) and sold-out or more expensive accommodations. The only area you might get a ‘deal’ is on vehicle hire, but even then you’re just as likely to find everything’s been released


Image by Kevin Murray CLICK 

Replay Rounds

We normally advocate playing as many different courses as you can, but don't overlook the terrific, (often half-price) green fees for playing a replay round at places like Kingsbarns, Dumbarnie, Castle Stuart or Prestwick

Don't 'Over Hammer' Price

If it involves a succession of compromises on quality, over-squeezing a price can come back to bite you months later. Any satisfaction is quickly forgotten in the field when you come to regret what you've done

Twilight Rounds

Scotland has a tradition of golfin' in the gloamin'. It's often the most peaceful time of day to play. Some courses offer reduced twilight rates. Don't be afraid to throw one in for the experience

Royal Troon

Image by Kevin Murray CLICK 

3: Use Your Daylight

This is really easy to overlook if you’re in a 9 to 5 mindset. At high northern latitudes, particularly in June and July, the sunsets at about 22.00 or rises at about 04.30 if you’re so inclined. If you’re in the highlands and have landscapes which aren’t opening time dependent in your programme, or travel burdens to navigate on a point-to-point tour, you can seriously add quantity or time. Let’s game it out.

If we say there are four hours of useable daylight in the evening, and you’re on a weeks vacation, that’s 4 hrs x 7 days = 28 hours. You can engineer about two extra days into your plans for free

4: Get Ballot Smart

Admittedly the Old Course ballot is something of a pseudo science, but different months of the year, and different days of the week do have different levels of performance. We know, and respect this and build it into a strategy. Don’t automatically assume however that the clearest week is always your best chance of winning. Success is the product of a ratio between supply & demand. If everyone draws the same conclusion, this ratio rises as more golfers pile into a narrowing landing strip. It very often pays to be a little bit smarter as the whole process is more nuanced. It’s what we call a ‘Goldilocks window’ (not too hot, not too cold, but just right)

Image by TimeZoneBoy, Wikimedia CC by SA 3.0

5: Think Time Zone

Things can go wrong with any overseas travel. Have you booked with someone who is based on the same time zone as the point of delivery?

A lot of operators can sell you a package. Some are based in the country of delivery and in a position to assist you in-situ. Others aren’t. Those which aren’t will usually rely on a local agent to represent them. This can even be another tour operator who is based in the country of delivery. Whereas you might think this gives you peace of mind (it should do in truth) you might end up paying twice. The agent will take a percentage to deliver or be available to support the selling retailers package. Now we would say this of course. Faraway Fairways are an agent/ operator, but you can decide as to its validity

6: Old Course Fever

By all means prioritise the St Andrews Old Course and make it your primary target (a majority of visiting golfers do) but don’t allow it to become an all consuming obsession.

As a general rule, provided you’re determined to play it, are prepared to go the extra mile if needed, and plan appropriately, you will succeed in doing so. Keep a sense of perspective after that and don’t let it cloud out all the other opportunities that you could easily be passing up by allowing your vacation to otherwise turn into a ‘one course gig’.

The Swilcan Bridge

Image by Kevin Murray CLICK 

Scottish Itineraries

An easy reference menu that covers Scotland's golf playing regions and various combinations to pull two or more together


Open Championship Courses - Itineraries

The Open Championship rotation often features prominently in golfers plans. This itinerary menu focuses on trying to include the lot


Scotland with Ireland

This menu introduces you to options to include the best of the Northern Ireland to reinforce your Scottish trip with Portrush and Royal County Down


Scotland with Second Interest Focus

This menu lays out the scope to combine golf with things like whisky, salmon fishing, Scottish history or a more family activity focus


World Rankings

Scotland typically has about 15 courses in the top-100 list. Who, where, and how high are they?


Some Smart Calls

Get the most from your visit. 'Gems' and clever extras you can usually add without causing disruption


Famous Holes

Scotland has some of the world's most famous golf holes. Explore a few of these icons


St Andrews Old Course

Take a closer look at the course, it's principal features and its famous holes



The section 9 to 11 is probably the finest stretch of coastal golf in the world. Take a closer look at the Ailsa


Royal Troon

Make your score out, and defend it in. Take a closer look at Troon's key holes. The section 10-12 is as tough a 'turn' as you'll find



The beast of Angus! The strongest closing stretch in the Open Championship. Take a closer look at the course that's reduced top professionals tears (Garcia)


Where to play in Ireland

OK, it's not Scotland, but there seemed no harm in giving you a run down of the top Irish courses too since a few of them can conceivably be woven onto a Scottish trip


How to Include Dornoch

On its high northerly latitude Dornoch isn't easy to include. We explain how you might best try