Just the very mention of the name ‘Gleneagles’ is usually enough. No need to say much more. Gleneagles is a famous 5-star resort and has established itself as the benchmark in Scotland for luxury at scale. The rooms at Gleneagles are as glorious as the Perthshire landscape that frame this majestic location. From bar snacks and brasserie classics to family fare and fine dining, Gleneagles is a culinary destination to savour and hosts Scotland’s top Michelin stared restaurant. The complex also offers Scotland’s finest health fitness and spa treatments, as well as a portfolio of outdoor pursuits
Gleneagles is 48 miles (60 mins) from Edinburgh Airport and 54 miles (75 mins) from Glasgow
Once there however, the courses would be described as ‘walk onto’
Gleneagles is 20 miles (30 mins) from Stirling
Although a train stops at the resort, its not a frequent service and is probably best avoided
With sweeping views of the Ochil Hills, the peaks of Ben Vorlich and the Trossachs, the King’s Course, created by James Braid and opened in 1919, is a masterpiece of golf course design, which has tested the aristocracy of golf, both professional and amateur. It’s usually regarded as the ‘best’ of the Gleneagles trio, and the finest example of a a moorland golf course in the world. The course has hosted the Scottish Open, the Curtis Cup, and the Dunhill Trophy. In the last decade extensive renovation was completed to try and restore the layout to something closer to the original design, reversing the changes made in the 1980’s. There needn’t be identifiable signature hole but the par 3 fifth played to an elevated green with trouble all-round for anything that fails to land safely rarely avoids comment
Although the shortest of the trio, it is widely regarded as the most aesthetic. Threading its way through the high ridges to the north and west of the estate, it weaves its way across undulating moorland, through enchanting woodland, to green set in bewitchingly beautiful glades. The Queens course is often described as the pretty little sister to the somewhat rawer Kings Course and this needn’t be entirely poetic license. The closing trio of holes are probably the highlight, whereas the 13th and 14th include water with conifer trees sitting on a small island. The Queen’s Course hides its challenges behind some truly stunning scenery.
The Jack Nicklaus designed PGA Centenary course is better known these days as the Ryder Cup course. Nicklaus described it as the “finest parcel of land in the world I’ve been given to work with” and he’s certainly done it proud. Host to both the 2014 Ryder Cup and 2019 Solheim Cup, this masterpiece of a course offers a stern challenge in a fabulous setting and was very much set up to explore the golfers conundrum of risk and reward shot selection. The second plays towards a foreboding glen etched into the Ochil hills. The ninth is a hazardous par 5 with water down the right on a dog-leg. A plague marks the spot on the fourteenth where Jamie Donaldson struck the winning approach (amazing how many divots seem to have sprouted alongside it!) whereas we probably think the sixteenth is the pick
In addition to the relaxation and health treatments offered by the hotel, Gleneagles also offers guests a menu of outdoor pursuits that variously includes off-road driving, fishing, shooting, archery, falconry, trail walking and cycling, tennis, and horse riding. If however you’d prefer to engage with the red-meat of Scottish history then the historic city of Stirling is just 30 mins away.
Famed for its castle, the seat of the once mighty Stewart dynasty, Stirling also has two notable battlefields to explore. Bannockburn (1314) is in its southern suburbs, and Stirling Bridge (1296) better known today as ‘Braveheart’, to its north where you’ll find ‘the Wallace Monument’. One of the best ways of getting around Stirling is actually to cycle, but we’ll look at that later