Scotland has of course bequeathed these two totems of civilisation to the advancement of humanity. There is no where better for the ultimate combination of ‘true greens and golden nectar’.
The region of Speyside combining with the Highlands (Dornoch, Castle Stuart & Nairn) or Aberdeenshire (Cruden Bay & Trump Links, Royal Aberdeen) is the strongest with many of the world’s ‘famous names’. The Western Isles tour has a constant whisky theme running through it (Jura, Islay & Arran). Machrihanish with Campbeltown has a smaller niche. Edinburgh needn’t have a plethora of distilleries, but has some particularly well stocked collections for sampling ‘experiences’.
At Faraway Fairways we’ve grown increasingly aware of just how many golfers identify themselves as avid fishermen, well we’ve got that angle covered too. Fishing for wild Atlantic salmon in Scotland is a lifetime experience for every lover of the outdoors and is framed by using two of the country’s ‘big four’ salmon rivers. The comparatively gentle River Tweed to the south is renowned for its all year round volume and combines with North Berwick & Gullane, whereas the River Tay to the north for its quality and ‘monsters’ and combines with Carnoustie & St Andrews.
River Tay - Image with thanks to Jock Montieth
Sometimes a tour operator might find themselves forcing itineraries with poor fits. We just don’t need to do it though for golf with history. It’s a fortunate coincidence that many of Scotland’s top golf courses just happen to co-exist alongside significant historical locations.
St Andrews is a legitimate visitor venue in its own-right, as well as being close to Falkland Palace. Edinburgh is only 30 mins from North Berwick & Muirfield and has more than enough for multiple days. Castle Stuart is 10 mins from Culloden, and along with Royal Dornoch can also take in Loch Ness on a single day without stretching. Carnoustie is 25 mins from Glamis Castle, and Gleneagles is a similar distance from the historic city of Stirling, as well as a string of attractions heading north in the opposite direction
Scotland might have some of the best beaches in Europe, but sadly climate and water temperature is going to mean she never establishes a seaside offer. Instead she makes full use of her wilderness and the great outdoors. Mountains and rivers ensure she can lay on high-quality activities based family holidays. The key is to establish a single base and to transfer some of the daily travelling to the golfer. The Cairngorm is the best solution as it also delivers history too. The family are spoilt for choice, whereas the golfer can play Nairn, Castle Stuart and Royal Dornoch, as well as Boat of Garten and Spey Valley
Image thanks to Hamish Bannatyne Shiksine GC
The Open Championship will come to Scotland every other year on average. It’s perfectly feasible to visit one played on the Lancashire coast too (Birkdale, Lytham & Hoylake).
The key very often is trying supplement the trip with some quality good golf of our own on a course that is actually available, and also finding somewhere to stay that isn’t extorting a price. This can often mean staying a little bit away from the hosting venue.
It’s also worth noting that the lower key, and infinitely less-expensive Scottish Open is played a week before the main event and typically attracts a good field. If you prefer a more appreciative gallery and something closer to the games traditions than shouting “in the hole” to tee-shots on par 5’s then this might be altogether better experience
This tends to need booking earlier than normal as castles are typically have lower room numbers and are sought after, but playing golf by day and staying in a Scottish castle by evening. Now that is classy.
Culzean Castle can be used for the west coast courses of Turnberry & Troon. Dalhousie Castle serves the Lothian coast and North Berwick or Muirfield. The Highlands has a number of choices for Royal Dornoch or Castle Stuart, whereas Fernie Castle is capable of servicing St Andrews, albeit the Kingdom of Fife isn’t one of the stronger regions. If you were prepared to do a bit of extra mileage and pay the price, you might even consider Scone Palace for Carnoustie
We sometimes weave a castle into a programme, but the scope to concentrate exclusively on castles certainly exists