Golf in Scotland, in the Winter

December, January & February

scroll

At face value winter golf in Scotland might seem like an idea best suited to the insane, but a surprisingly high number of courses stay open and are playable all year round. With half-price green fees, reduced accommodation costs, and more challenging conditions, winter golf has more merit than you might imagine.

Climate

Rather than use generic countrywide data, Faraway Fairways have built our own. We’ve produced a weighted figure based on golfing destinations to reflect the typical composition of a trip, St Andrews (50%), Troon (25%) Edinburgh (15%) and Inverness (10%).

December is the coldest month. Rain needn’t be the enemy, but frost most certainly is. You can only play one round a day because of daylight now

AVERAGE ST ANDREWS WIND-SPEED

DECEMBER = 16.2 MPH

JANUARY = 16.3 MPH

FEBRUARY = 15.1 MPH

St Andrews

You will make significant savings. You will also be able to pick and choose where you play. Even the St Andrews Old Course has unfilled spaces on their tee sheet during December, January and February. So who, you might ask, thinks about playing winter golf in Scotland? Leaving aside the answers that relate to price, the other people who might be tempted are the thrill seekers looking for ‘an experience’ and the opportunity to test their game under challenging conditions.

Swilcan Bridge.

Image by Evan Wilson/ Flickr CC by ND 2.0

Jim Bain / St Andrews Castle /  CC by SA 2.0

St Andrews

Image Pixabay license

Highland Cow

Image by Chris CC by SA 2.0

Glen Affric.

Glencoe.

Image Pixabay License

December

December is the coldest month of the year. Winter green fees are now in operation across all of Scotland’s courses. Outside of the festive periods hotel prices have dropped significantly now too.

The sort of person who is best placed to capitalise on this is likely to be mobile and flexible. These might be the golfers of southern England or the big cities of Europe, or even American’s who can get to a New York airport fairly easily. What you need of course is the freedom to make late decisions and the foresight to spot a weather window. You might be able to bend something of a Christmas shopping trip into things too as it can be quite an atmospheric time to visit

January

By definition, links courses are at sea-level, and needn’t be subjected to upland freezing. Perhaps the best courses in January are the links of East Lothian. The soil contains a particularly high sand content and they drain well and are less susceptible to frosts. If you chanced midweek, this would open up Muirfield (must be a fourball though), otherwise its courses like North Berwick, Gullane, Dunbar, and the Renaissance Club. East Lothian has the additional safety net of allowing you to use Edinburgh as your base.

Edinburgh will host two or three major rugby internationals at weekends in the winter dependent on the fixture cycle. This will create availability issues in the accommodation market.

Kingsbarns 8th

River Livet.

Image by Jeff Collins   CC by SA 2.0

Durness image thanks to Lucy McKay Durness GC

February

Perhaps the bets courses to play in February are those on the west coast. With the north Atlantic Gulf-stream operating in your favour, February can be a surprisingly good month for playing on half price deals, albeit Troon will be shut for visitors. There is something of a quirk in Troon’s rainfall data which sees it dip to a level more consistent with June before rising again in March and throughout the spring. February is a surprisingly dry month elsewhere and vies with April for being the driest of the year.

We would advise avoiding the Highlands and Islands in both January and February. When the weather goes wrong here, it really can go wrong. This means snow and the possibility of gettign cut-off

Daylight

At these northern latitudes we get extended daylight in the summer and reduced daylight in the winter. If you use the summer months judiciously, you can add what amounts to two or three days on a 7-10 day itinerary. You need to quickly get into the habit of realising that your day needn’t finish at five o’clock. If you go deeper into the evening you can easily play a second twilight round, or take-in some non-golf activity, (particularly landscape which isn’t opening time restricted). You can easily put 200 miles away in an evening in the Highlands for instance and still be back before dark

The Spring

A closer look at what's involved if playing in the months of March, April & May

discover

The Summer

A closer look at what's involved if playing in the months of June, July & August

discover

The Autumn

A closer look at what's involved if playing in the months of September, October & November

discover

St Andrews

Different rules & considerations can apply in St Andrews. We take a look at the best time of year to play the 'home of golf'

discover

Twilight Golf

Often the best time of day to play. Certainly the most relaxing. Try and include at least one twilight round

discover