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ABERDEENSHIRE, GOLF VACATION, SCOTLAND

ROYAL ABERDEEN, TRUMP INTERNATIONAL LINKS, CRUDEN BAY, MURCAR, MONTROSE, OLD MORAY, NEWBURGH, & (Possibly) ST ANDREWS

Your Aberdeenshire, golf vacation, Scotland, features a cluster of world ranked top-100 courses. These can be found in amongst the highest dune systems in Europe on the Aberdeenshire coast. Cruden Bay is a charismatic quirky old links, a cult favourite with their 9th voted the best view in Scottish golf. Royal Aberdeen the sixth oldest course in the world, and possesses what many regard to be the finest outward nine in Scotland. The Trump International is the most recent addition and quickly established itself in the elite. On this same historic coastline we also find Montrose, the 4th oldest course in the world, and the European tour venue of Murcar, as well as Newburgh on Ythan, a superb introductory education. We thought we’d also introduce you to a Highland gem in Old Moray on the north coast that many genuinely believe to be the best closing hole in Scotland. It’s worth noting however that St Andrews needn’t be an inconvenient detour en-route. We begin with an opening day walking tour of the Old Course and an introductory nine holes on the Balgove course, before returning to the ‘home of golf’ on the final day. Can you play the Old Course? “possibly” is the answer. It would make for a stunning bonus to finish on!

Capturing the spirit of the Scottish golf links, and just what it means is never easy. At Faraway Fairways we’re grateful to US golf writer George Peper, who addressing the Fife Golf Association delivered an ode that we can’t improve on.

“Someday I hope to bring my grandchildren here to Scotland – not to show them what golf is but what golf isn’t – that it isn’t $200 million resorts and $200,000 membership fees, that it isn’t six hour rounds and three day member-guests, that it isn’t motorized buggies, Cuban cigars, and cashmere headcovers. It’s a game you play simply and honorably, without delay or complaint – where you respect your companions, respect the rules, and respect the ground you walk on. Where on the 18th green you remove your cap and shake hands, maybe just a little humbler and a little wiser than when you began.”

The Aberdeenshire, Golf Vacation, Scotland is both a nod towards this tradition and a walk on the wild-side in a landscape that will ask questions of your golf


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GOLF NON-GOLF OVERNIGHT
Sunday ST ANDREWS, BALGOVE St Andrews Old Course, walking tour Aberdeen
Monday MURCAR with NEWBURGH ON YTHAN Scone Palace Aberdeen
Tuesday MORAY OLD Macallan Distillery Aberdeen
Wednesday ROYAL ABERDEEN Dunnattor Castle Aberdeen
Thursday CRUDEN BAY Deeside & Balmoral Aberdeen
Friday TRUMP INTERNATIONAL LINKS Glamis Castle Aberdeen
Saturday MONTROSE St Andrews Edinburgh

 

7 nights Duration
  • Luxury
  • Affordable
  • GOLFERS from approx £269 = $348 = €309 per day
  • GOLFERS from approx £171 = $221 = €196 per day
  • Luxury price
  • Affordable price
  • NON-GOLFERS from approx £174 = $225 = €200 per day
  • NON-GOLFERS, from approx £94 = $122 = €108 per day

ST ANDREWS POSSIBILITY -The opportunity to possibly play the Old Course at St Andrews might present itself. The tour is due to finish on a Saturday with a flight from Edinburgh Sunday morning. Saturday is a good day to try and play the Old Course. There is certainly no harm in trying your luck in the ballot. Should you succeed you will be required to pay another £180 locally to St Andrews 48 hours before play. It will mean cancelling and likely forfeiting the green fee of the provisional round at Montrose.

NON GOLF ACTIVITY - Non-golfers get more time for non-golf activity than golfers. An asterisk (*) is used on the ‘Non-Golf’ button in the itineraries to indicate where a golfer could reasonably expect to be able to undertake an activity. Anything left unmarked is only practical for non-golfers to undertake. Check the button called ‘What’s Included’ that appears on the final named day ‘tab’ to see if it’s included in a price.

DISCLAIMER - The content of all tours are sold subject to availability and final confirmation of price. We do not speculatively book hotels in advance. Late bookings might be subject to a market led price increment. The prices displayed are strong indicators of what you would expect to pay but can also fluctuate in line with choices people wish to add or omit. Please check what's included. Prices are per person based on two sharing

ST ANDREWS, BALGOVE COURSE

The nine-hole Balgove course is the ‘baby’ of the St Andrews family, but being a member of the Links Trust does allow you to legitimately have satisfied the claim to have “played St Andrews”. Ultimately however, it is a practise ground to hone your links skills on and adapt to the demands of the sterner tests that await. Golfers treasure their scoring, particularly at St Andrews, and there is always a strong argument in favour of playing an introductory nine holes and making your mistakes when they don’t count. Built in 1972 and upgraded by Donald Steel in 1993, the Balgove benefits from being relatively modern and is designed to ease you into the challenges of links


Walking Tour

Walk the fairways of the Old Course and get up close and personal with some of golf’s most celebrated holes. See ‘Hell bunker’ at 14. Soak up the notorious 17th, the ‘Road Hole’, and the bunker known as the ‘Sands of Nakajima’. Survey the tee shot from 18 across the Swilcan Bridge and onto the ‘Valley of Sin’ in front of the iconic R&A Headquarters building that overlooks the green. We’re able to offer you an exclusive walking tour of the Old Course most Sundays. It’s also worth noting that St Andrews is home to the National Golf Museum with over 16,000 exhibits. St Andrews is also a legitmate non-golf attraction in its own right too, and is famed for its ancient university, it’s ruined catherdral and cliff hugging old castle.

Murcar

Royal Aberdeen got first use of this beguiling duned landscape but there are more than enough humps and hollows to share. The concept of a risk and reward hole is well documented in golf, to some extent Murcar takes this further and extends it to the entire course. Accuracy off the tee rather than length is the key. The penalty for being wayward can be brutal on these tight fairways with unforgiving long rough. But this is precisely how Murcar seduces you. The reward for risking length is tantalising. The key to Murcar is it’s consistency. There are no real weak holes. It just keeps coming at you posing a different challenge on every tee. Murcar Links represents a truly challenging test. To play it requires every shot in the book and if the wind is up, a few more besides!

Moray Old Course

Moray is a rugged links course, which threads all the essential weaves into it’s tapestry. Heaving sand dunes, heinous gorse, and wicked undulations abound. In addition it’s aesthetic too. You have sea views to marvel at, and a lighthouse on the horizon. Moray is an innovators course requiring an instinctive read of the landscape. Straight driving and accuracy are paramount. It requires fortitude rather than force. A good touch with the putter is likely to serve you better than a blast with the driver, but the real joy is to be had chipping and executing deft links rescues such as the bump and run. The 18th is often cited, as Scotland’s best closing hole with a sense of procession leading into a natural ampitheatre. Here you get the impression that you are at the Open surrounded by the closing hole spectator stands, and buildings. Indeed Moray Old, interacts with the town of Lossiemouth in a way that perhaps only St Andrews otherwise achieves.

Royal Aberdeen

Dating from 1780, Royal Aberdeen is the sixth oldest golf course in the world, a traditional nine out and nine back layout. In 2014 Justin Rose won the Scottish Open here, whilst Tom Watson has added a seniors Open title to his collection. The outward nine is often regarded as Scotland’s finest, wending its way north through a spectacular dunescape. Like a fairground ghost train, one by one hazards present themselves. Undulating fairways, gorse, a burn, and of course a stiff wind blowing in off the sea are essential ingredients. It would be a mistake to overlook the merits of the back nine, which played on a raised plateau, is often subject to greater exposure. The final three holes rival any closing stretch in the country

More information

Qualification requirements for play

Royal Aberdeen operates a handicap threshold of 24 for both gentlemnen and ladies. Players who are unable to meet this standard are invited to tackle the alternatives we’ve nominated instead

Cruden Bay

If you’re the purist that believes links courses should be wild, windswept, isolated and one step away from the sea, then Cruden Bay ticks all your boxes. The waves crashed into the bay of Cruden and set about carving a beautifully curving horseshoe. In addition, Cruden Bay also benefits from the same dramatic ‘high dune’ systems of the Trump International and Royal Aberdeen. Significantly though, Cruden Bay has greater personality, as it retains many original quirky old links features. It even counts a dog-leg par-3 amongst its garrison! We regard the sixth, Bliudy Burn, as the finest par five in Scotland, combining as it does, just about every classic links challenge on a single hole imaginable.

Trump International Links

Making use of Europe’s highest dunes system Martin Hawtree set about transforming this shoreline to realise Donald Trumps declaration to build the “best course in the world”. Snakes of green slither their way through valleys in this frankly fantastic landscape. Sticking to the golf, the early results have been impressive. A top-100 rating was secured in the opening season. The par three’s will probably emerge as the signature feature, the sixth and third in particular. In fact the opening half dozen holes just seem to get better and better when it no longer seems possible. Once this course beds down, it seemingly has the ingredients to go ‘all the way’.

Old Course?

The opportunity to possibly play the Old Course at St Andrews might present itself. This tour is due to finish on a Saturday with a flight from Edinburgh Sunday morning. Edinburgh hotels don’t normally encourage single night reservations at weekends, peak season. By scheduling Montrose on Saturday, we are close enough to visit and spend the evening in St Andrews instead. Whereas St Andrews has much to justify a visit, you will quickly find yourself looking towards her links and asking the obvious question. Saturday is a good day to try and play the Old Course. There is certainly no harm in trying your luck in the ballot therefore. Should you succeed you will be required to pay another £175 locally to St Andrews 48 hours before play. It will mean cancelling and likely forfeiting the green fee of the provisional round at Montrose. Alternatively, you might prefer to play any of the St Andrews courses and pay the adjusted price


Montrose

With a verifiable record going back to 1562, Montrose is the world’s fifth oldest golf course, and is something of a gem. Ben Crenshaw described it as “the most magnificent stretch of marvelously natural ground”. The medal course is rugged, windswept and wild. The topography is undulating and the turf springy. The yellow peril that golfer’s know as gorse is plentiful. It is very much the archetypal links, with some deep bunkers and characteristic sand dunes. A number of the holes run alongside the unrelenting Angus coastline offering some stunning scenery and precious little respite if the wind decides it wants to come out and play. We suggest Montrose as an alternative to the Carnoustie Burnside course. Carnoustie is definitely ‘the name’, but most commentators would regard Montrose as superior to the Burnside. You might consider playing both in a single day

Image with permission from Montrose Golf Club

Time to say Goodbye

Time, as they say, waits for no man, and sadly we’re no exception. Today it’s time to bid you farewell, hope you enjoyed your stay, and will consider returning soon. Better still, the return match awaits. We’ll ensure you get to your airport for a safe, and comfortable return across the Atlantic, where the benefits of flying east to west will now become apparent, as you land a mere two hours after you took off! Don’t forget to stay in touch through our blog, email, or the social networks, as we update information. Once again, thank you

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