Scottish Golf with Salmon Fishing Vacation
Includes, St Andrews, Carnoustie, North Berwick, Gleneagles, Gullane, & Panmure, with fishing on the Rivers Tay & Tweed
Includes, St Andrews, Carnoustie, North Berwick, Gleneagles, Gullane, & Panmure, with fishing on the Rivers Tay & Tweed
At Faraway Fairways we’ve grown increasingly aware of just how many golfers identify themselves as avid anglers. Well Scotland doesn’t just have a world class golf offer. Fishing for wild Atlantic salmon in Scotland is a lifetime experience for every lover of the outdoors. Remember, salmon have been part of Scotland’s heritage for tens of thousands of years. Whisky came later and tartan is but a mere baby. Indeed, Scotland has long been renowned for its salmon fishing on some of the most famous salmon rivers in the world. It only seemed perfectly natural therefore that Faraway Fairways should roll the two together and offer you a Scottish salmon fishing with golf tour.
The Atlantic salmon, (Salmo salar), run most Scottish rivers of any size. They cover huge distances of hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles, often against the odds, through strong flows, rough rapids and barely surmountable waterfalls in the process. The Scottish salmon fishing with golf tour is framed by 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, whereas the River Tay to the north for its quality and ‘monsters’.
In between these we’re able to weave in some high-quality golf. The Tweed naturally combines with Edinburgh and the links of the Lothian’s. The Scottish Open venue of Gullane gives us a good opener before we tackle the world top-50 ranked track at North Berwick. Naturally after a days break to fish, we head north to the upper Tay with the Ryder Cup venue at Gleneagles sandwiched between another day on the water. We then undertake a loop east to finish off the golf in style taking in the Tayside giants of Panmure, and the toughest assignment on the Open Championship rotation at Carnoustie. What about St Andrews you say?. Well why not? the ‘home of golf’ is in our region and so the itinerary has scheduled it in before we return to Edinburgh
Salmon fishing in Scotland is often hard work. This is not “ shooting fish in a barrel”. Think of it as a quest or an adventure. This is about strategy, skill, and guile. Salmon fishing is demanding, sometimes even depressing, but the exhilaration of catching the King of Game Fish cannot be underestimated.
TransportSelf-drive works best. Includes transfers to salmon beats
Logistics3 centre, ‘back-to-base’, using a ‘point-to-point’ touring structure
Non-Golf OfferStrong - Edinburgh, Stirling, & St Andrews
MileageLow - Approximately 400 miles. Approximately 10 hours
Travel ClassSupports - Premier & Affordable
Old CourseLow chance of play through the ballot (40%). Walk-Up-Rule should succeed
SUNDAY - Gullane No. 1
Gullane shares the same shoreline as the world renowned, top-10 course of Muirfield. Indeed, both Gullane’s numbers 1 & 2 courses have acted as final qualifying venues. The course is wild, raw, very open, exposed, and windswept. When the wind decides to take a hand off the Firth of Forth, you’re sure to be in for a battle like few others. Would you want it any different? Gullane is perhaps starting to step out of its blue blooded neighbour’s shadows however. For a long time it has been used as a final qualifying venue but in 2015 it began hosting the Scottish Open in rotation, utilising a composite course of numbers 1 & 2.
MONDAY - North Berwick
The links of North Berwick are a traditional out and back nine. Undulating fairways, blind shots, tricky burns and even stone walls make their presence felt in the landscape. The course really is a throw back to the experiences of the game’s pioneers. They had to interpret the landscape and weave the hazards nature handed them into their own personal tapestries. The courses were handcrafted, and North Berwick has an endearing old-fashioned feel. It also possesses the original ‘Redan’ hole, (15). Found the world over, ‘Redans’ are the most copied hole in golf. With an eerie similarity to Turnberry’s Ailsa Craig, Bass Rock rears out the ocean, and lends North Berwick further personality. It would be wrong to think that it’s a curiosity relic though. It’s a beguiling world top-50 ranked course on merit.
TUESDAY - River Tweed
The River Tweed frames Scotland’s southern border with England. Internationally famous for its salmon fishing, people come from all over the world to fish it. It ranks among the very top salmon rivers in the world, excelling itself in 2012 with a record catch of over 20,000 salmon. Wonderful fish are caught by those who have the opportunity to cast a fly on the many beats. The traditions and techniques used on the River Tweed have influenced salmon fishing wherever these wonderful fish can be found. To have the chance to fish for salmon on the Tweed is a wonderful experience.
WEDNESDAY - Gleneagles
The Gleneagles resort is closer in ambience to an aristocratic hunting estate with deep forest green pine trees, and rounded hills that stop just short of being called mountains. In autumn, the purple heathers and russet bracken blend seamlessly into a patchwork of golfing green, and give this place it’s hues. The yellows of the long rough introduce further colouration into the landscape. It would be categorised as a moorland course. A credible body of opinion regards the Gleneagles Kings course as the finest of its type in the world. In 2014 Gleneagles added the Ryder Cup to its portfolio when the Centenary course’ became only the second Scottish venue to host. The aesthetic Queens course is the shortest and completes the trinity of options.
THURSDAY - River Tay
The largest of Scotland’s salmon rivers, the Tay drains an area of about 2500 square miles and is approximately 120 miles long. It is a big river, particularly in its middle and lower course below its confluence with the River Tummel. The Tay is one of the classic “Big Four” of Scottish Rivers and can still produce in the region of 10,000 salmon in a season making it one of the most productive salmon rivers in Europe. The Tay enjoys a reputation for quality. Excellent trout fishing, grayling magnificent scenery and a variety of fishing from big river boat to more intimate stretches and excellent tributaries such as the Lyon, offers something for every game angler.
FRIDAY - Panmure
Panmure golf is less than 2 miles from Carnoustie and hosted final Open qualifying as well as many national and regional championships. The greens are fairly small and the bunkers deep. Tight fairways lined with gorse demand good placement from the tee at the expense of distance. Whins and thick rough abound throughout the course and can destroy a poorly managed game. Accuracy is often more important than length and each hole should be played strategically. Approach shots also require precision and on occasion clever improvisation is necessary. The course is perhaps most readily associated with Ben Hogan who practised extensively at Panmure prior to the 1953 Open at Carnoustie. The sixth hole of the course was rated in his top 18 holes.
FRIDAY - Monifieth
Monifieth’s Medal golf course is a combination of parkland and links, undulating ground flanked on many holes by rows of pine trees. The course has been used numerous times as a final Open qualifying venue for Carnoustie. Indeed, it was here that a young Tom Watson began his association with Scottish links golf on his way to lifting his first claret jug in 1975. Time spent thinking on the tee will pay off, especially with out of bounds down the right of the first 6 holes. This golf course rewards strategy and precision, making it perfect for anyone who wants to sharpen their tactical golf skills. Deep revetted bunkers are another feature.
SATURDAY - St Andrews Old Course
St Andrews, the home of golf, needs little introduction nor hype from us. The first surviving record of the game being played here dates to 1522. The town oozes atmosphere and the course is soaked in heritage. The view from the iconic Swilcan Bridge looking back up the final fairway to the magnificent R&A headquarters and red bricked Hamilton Hall is one of the most instantly recognisable in world sport, never mind golf. ‘The Road Hole’, the 17th, is the signature assignment. No hole yields more bogeys in the Open than this one. Another unique feature are the massive double greens. The secret? don’t be over-awed. Keep out the 112 bunkers, especially so ‘Hell Bunker’ at the 14th. Then attack the course! St Andrews is actually one of the more obliging links, so don’t leave wondering what might have been. It can be tamed!
SATURDAY - St Andrews New Course
“New” in the context of St Andrews means 1895! The course is often said to be the town’s favourite. It’s a tighter and more defined course than its regal neighbour, and aided by yellow gorse bushes, it tends to be more aesthetic too. The ‘New’ runs adjacent to the Old course and as a consequence has similar characteristics. The fairways are undulating but not as dipped as the Old course, leading to fewer hanging lies. A traditional out and back nine, only the 3rd and 15th share a green. The burn wends its way through a low dune system and features some particularly charismatic holes. The 464yd tenth is often cited as the pick. Think about it logically. It’s likely that the newer course that was designed for purpose, would be the better golf course than the ancient artefact. The good folk of St Andrews know!
SUNDAY - Carnoustie
American media commentators wasted no time dubbing the Tayside course ‘Car-Nasty’. Few would deny the claims of Carnoustie to the crown of toughest Open venue of them all. Carnoustie is long and menacing. It has a number of challenging holes, particularly the par fives. The Spectacles’ (14) and ‘Hogan’s Alley’ (6) are the two toughest assignments on the stroke index. The par 3 sixteenth is another shocker. It’s the enduring image from the 1999 Open of Jean van de Velde paddling in the Barry Burn however, that cemented Carnoustie’s legend. Sports Illustrated described the course as “a nasty old antique brought down from the attic by the R&A after 24 years” as scoring soared. Carnoustie revels in such notoriety. If the wind gets up you’re unlikely to ever play a tougher assignment.
The St Andrews Links Trust don't publish ballot strike-rates. Faraway Fairways do occasionally succeed in extracting an off the record opinion however. In addition to this, we’re also able to draw on our own evidence, and that which we’re able to extract from credible co-operative partners (usually hotels) plus what other tour operators might tell us. We have a good guideline idea of strike rates by month of the year and by day of the week
It needs to be stressed that these are indicative averages only. Different parts of a month will behave differently dependent on any end of factors. The ballot is quixotic and unpredictable, Extended runs of good or bad luck can, and do, happen. They are provided in good faith, but can of course fail, and can't therefore be used as a basis for compensation
Multiply by the number of days you are available to give you a guideline
MONTH OF THE YEAR
DAY OF THE WEEK
St Andrews 'Guaranteed' Tee Times
There is a heavy price premium on a guarantee a tee-time. Plus they usually involve a minimum hotel stay in St Andrews of at least three nights, playing an additional St Andrews course is mandatory, and normally a minimum food & drink spend in a specified hotel. Faraway Fairways wouldn't be completely convinced a guaranteed tee-time is worth pursuing for this tour, especially as they aren't sold for weekends anyway.
An aggressive and determined application of the walk-up rule, allied to a normal ballot application or two, should tilt the odds in your favour
Experience of angling will always place you at an advantage but isn’t essential. Beginners and even ‘first timers’ can be accommodated and are welcomed. Each part has an experience ghillie assigned to them
River Tweed Golf Opportunities
Combines particularly well with golf at Muirfield, North Berwick, Gullane, and anything Edinburgh.
River Tay Golf Opportunities
Combines particularly well with golf at St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and Gleneagles. Fishing on the Tay can involve the use of a boat as well
St Andrews advise the following for the Old Course. “A current official handicap card (Golf Club affiliated to a Golf Union/Association) record or certificate must be presented to the starter prior to play. Maximum handicaps – 36 for both gentlemen and ladies. St Andrews will not accept letters of introduction from a local Club Professional”.
Carnoustie applies a handicap threshold of 28 for gentlemen, and 36 for ladies respectively.
North Berwick applies a handicap threshold of 24 for gentlemen, and 36 for ladies respectively.
Gullane’s Number 1 course applies a handicap threshold of 24 for gentlemen, and 30 for ladies respectively.
Some known issues to consider
St Andrews, Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns jointly host the Dunhill Links challenge in the first week of October
St Andrews university's graduation week takes place in mid-June and lasts a full week. This causes a price spike in hotels and sold-outs about 9 months before. It does however improve your prospects of playing through the ballot by about 5% each day as there are less golfers in St Andrews
Edinburgh hosts their 'festival' in August which also causes a price spike in accommodation although its often an exciting (if expensive), time to visit
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