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St Andrews Old Course, Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, Muirfield, or Kingsbarns, Trump Turnberry, & Carnoustie

Faraway Fairways describe our ‘par 3’ tour as the best golf break in Scotland and Ireland … because …. well because it is. In fact, we wouldn’t be certain that we aren’t under-selling it?

This six night short break has claims to be best in the world! Surely a hyped claim you might think? and yes we’d certainly concede it would be theoretically possible to play a combination of similar world ranked courses in the United States, but you’d need a racing car, a personal fast jet, and the ability to go without sleep, to do so. That’s also before you consider you’d need influence in very high places to get access to them, and to do so in a single week?. By contrast the Faraway Fairways ‘par 3’ golf break is a short six night explosion of gloriousness which combines to produce the very best golf break in Scotland and Ireland.

Make no mistake, the golf is world class. Six courses, rated by Golf.Com or Golf Digest to be inside the world’s top-30 speaks for itself. Royal County Down #1 and Royal Portrush #15 provide the beguiling Irish magic. Turnberry, #16 ensures drama and beauty. St Andrews #3 and Muirfield #9 lend the best short golf break in the world a quintessential element of class, whilst Carnoustie #26, introduces an essential uncompromising brutality. The only course missing from this impressive haul would be Royal Dornoch, and this is largely because of geography. If you wanted to add another top-10 scalp to your haul, then you do so, provided you are happy to accept to mileage

One final thing we hope you consider favourably is this short break is both accessible and brought to you at a comparative bargain price. Imagine how much six different tee times would cost to play some of America’s top-20 courses through a charity auction? Faraway Fairways suggest it doesn’t get much better than this. Why? Well to be perfectly honest, because it can’t! There are grounds for describing it as the best short golf break in the world, and most definitely so for calling it the best golf break in Scotland and Ireland, and probably the best that many of us are ever likely to be able to play! The only down-side is getting these courses to line-up sequentially needn’t be straight-forward. You will need to plan early. Royal County Down open their diary in May for play the following year, and if you want to include Muirfield, then you need to roll deeper still and think in terms of March. Otherwise, the best golf break in Scotland and Ireland is yours to take aim at



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Monday ROYAL COUNTY DOWN Titanic Centre & Belfast city Belfast
Tuesday ROYAL PORTRUSH Giants Causeway & sailing to Scotland Turnberry (luxury) or Girvan (affordable)
Wednesday TURNBERRY (AILSA) or PRESTWICK Turnberry resort & travelling Edinburgh
Thursday MUIRFIELD or NORTH BERWICK Edinburgh St Andrews or Carnoustie
Friday CARNOUSTIE St Andrews St Andrews or Carnoustie
Saturday ST ANDREWS (OLD COURSE) St Andrews or Edinburgh St Andrews or Carnoustie

Bbest golf break in Scotland and Ireland best golf break in Scotland and Ireland

6 Nights -
  • Luxury
  • Affordable

HELPFUL HINTS - These are all very popular apex courses. Demands made on them come from all sorts of different directions. Securing a window when all of them line up in sequence isn't straight forward. Sometimes it simply won't be possible, and you should prepare yourself for this accordingly. Don't be upset if you find you have to omit one (better to be surprised if we can 'pull it off'). In particular, we will always encounter issues with Muirfield, the most difficult to slot. For now at least North Berwick is priced as the default likelihood. Be prepared to add another £120 should we succeed with Muirfield. For Muirfield, we advise planning a year ahead once the next seasons green fees are known (about mid September). Demand for the low and shoulder season does fall off fairly sharply though, and can move this window to about 6 months. Prospects for getting a tee-time on the St Andrews Old Course also adjust with seasonal demand. As a general rule, the longer things are left, the more the less likely you will be to succeed.

ST ANDREWS OLD COURSE BALLOT- Anyone intending to play the Old Course through the ballot should make contingency to add £180. This is paid locally once the result of the draw is known 48 hours before play. It will likely mean forfeiting the provisional reservation to a cancellation (Jubilee Course), albeit the club will make every effort to reschedule you should you wish to play on the Saturday.

EDINBURGH - Visits to Edinburgh during the festival (August) will see hotel shortages and a notable price spike. The indicative peak season price can not be based on this 'hot spot'. Be aware therefore that a visit to Edinbrugh during the festival is likely to exceed this. It may become necessary to extend stays in St Andrews, or use Stirling instead

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


Royal County Down is the world’s highest rated golf course according to Golf Digest on their 2016 rankings. It is framed in one of the most stunningly natural links settings. The Murlough Nature Reserve provides the stage, the magnificent Mourne mountains the backdrop. The narrowest ribbons of fairways thread their way through as impressive a set of sand dunes as could be imagined. The fairways are surrounded by purple heather and golden gorse, so beautiful to look at but so punishing for any who may stray from the prescribed path. The ‘bearded’ bunkers are world famous and feature overhanging lips of marram, red fescue and heather. The greens are fast and many are domed, rejecting any shot lacking conviction. This is a true test of any player’s command of the traditional bump and run, the preferred way to play any links.

Royal Portrush

Sited on a particularly beautiful stretch of the North Antrim Causeway Coast, Portrush is constructed on an area of natural dune land with limestone cliffs. The Open was held here in 1951, and won by Max Faulkner. The reasons for its absence since are well documented, but in 2019 it’s set to return. Two holes dominate. The fifth is an iconic short par 4, that taunts you into over clubbing. Get it wrong and you plunge down the cliff onto the beach below. The fourteenth is arguably even more famous, an intimidating par 3 that involves driving across a valley of no recovery onto a surface in another dune system that falls sharply away on all sides. Golf Digest rate the Dunluce course 16th best in the world, and that will only improve as the final two holes are enhanced ahead of 2019, and its profile rises in line with the Opens return.

Trump Turnberry

With the iconic Stevenson lighthouse sitting on its craggy headland amongst the ruins of Turnberry castle, recognisable views of Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran out to sea, plus a tendancy to put on spectacular sunsets, Turnberry is the most aesthetic of all the Open venues. In modern golfing legend though Turnberry is forever etched in the pages of history as the location for the most absorbing head-to-head in recent Open history; the renowned ‘duel in the sun’ from 1977 when Tom Watson narrowly prevailed over Jack Nicklaus with the rest, nowhere. Myths are made in moments, but legends last a lifetime. In 2016 the course finished it’s stunning redevelopment. Be amongst the first to tackle the new holes 9-11, which look set to become the signature stretch. Not so mmuch Amen Corner, as perhaps a Rocky Horror! The fifth is the hardest on the course and been toughened up further, and 14, an infinity hole out to sea might become the most awe inspiring


The answer is Prestwick 1860, but what is the question? Prestwick is the home of the first ever Open Championship of Golf, and therefore the genesis of all such modern variants played since. This is your chance to tackle the original ‘Open’ undulations, the narrowest fairway in Europe, and the continents ‘biggest bunker’. Today’s course remains surprisingly faithful. Unreasonable undulations with all the associated ricohets, and a plethora of ‘blind shots’ abound. Six of the original greens played from 1860 are still in use. A number of holes, including the famous par 5, ‘Cardinal’ have only received the absolute minimal alteration over the decades. The opening ‘Railway hole’ is another timeless links classic. Prestwick’s quirky and charismatic. To play here, really is to step back in time. No where is quite like it, nor can it be either.

More information

Qualification requirements for play

Prestwick applies a handicap threshold of 24 for gentlemnen, and 28 for ladies respectively. Players who are unable to meet this standard are invited to tackle the shorter, but strategically stimulating old course of Prestwick, St Nicholas, instead

Image by Mark Alexander, permission of Prestwick GC.
To view some of Mark’s work [CLICK]


Frequently ranked inside the world’s top 10, Muirfield is always immaculately maintained and doesn’t have any weak holes. So impressed was Jack he went back to Ohio and built Muirfield Village in homage to the original. Muirfield embraces all three paradigms of golf design penal, heroic and strategic. It tests all aspects of your game and the prestigious roll call of Muirfield Open winners is perhaps its best testimonial. Player, Nicklaus, Trevino, Watson, Faldo, Els & most recently of course, Mickelson. It offers golfers choices and then requires you to execute. It is a golfers, golf course. Muirfield is notoriously exclusive however, access is limited. Booking early isn’t just advised, it’s pretty well essential

More information

Qualification requirements for play

Muirfield operates a handicap threshold of 18. Players who are unable to meet this standard are invited to tackle the alternatives we’ve nominated instead


Records of golf being played at Kingsbarns date to 1793. The modern course itself opened in 2000, and is set on three-tiered levels, sloping towards the coast. Nearly every hole has stunning views of the North Sea. The 12th and 15th require you to play a tee shot over the ocean! Kingsbarns is often compared with Pebble Beach. Its noticeable just how many people familiar with both accept this. Perhaps of greater significance is the number of times it beats more illustrious neighbours in surveys. It did so again in 2013 when it topped the poll for Scotland’s favourite course amongst visiting Americans, as its always immacuately presented. It completes the trio of East Coast giants that host the Dunhill links challenge each year alongside Carnoustie and the Old Course

With permission from and supplied by Kingsbarns

Carnoustie Championship Course

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, dark, 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 about in the Barry Burn however, that cemented Carnoustie’s legend. Sports Illusrated described the course as being “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 (and surprisingly a lot of people hope it does) you’re unlikely to ever play a tougher assignment

More information

Qualification requirements for play

Carnoustie operates a handicap threshold of 28 for gentlemnen, and 36 for ladies respectively. Players who are unable to meet this standard are invited to tackle the alternatives we’ve nominated instead

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 on eighteen, looking back up the final fairway to the magnificent R&A headquarters, flanked by the red bricked Hamilton Hall is one of the most instantly recognisable in world sport, never mind golf. The Road Hole 17th, is another signature assignment, as are the unique and 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!

More information

Qualification requirements for play

“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 – 24 Men, 36 Ladies. St Andrews will not accept letters of introduction from a local Club Professional”. Players who are unable to meet this standard are invited to tackle the alternatives we’ve nominated instead

The Ballot

One of the most remarkable things about St Andrews is that it’s actually a public course. Luckily the Scot’s also have a tradition of egalitarianism and although golf has often taken on an exclusive aura in many countries, the Scot’s have guarded a sense of open access quite preciously.This means that the Old Course is subject to a public ballot drawn 48 hours before play. It’s important that we stress that we rely on this method. The ballot does NOT guarantee you a tee-time.

We’re often asked ‘what are the chances of success on the ballot’?. The time of year is an important factor. Applications that avoid July, August & September are more likely to succeed. We also make more than one application using the different days available to us. Thursdays and Saturdays have the most ballot times available. It also depends on how flexible you’re prepared to be, regarding days of the week, times of the day, and group size. We’re normally confident for April, May, June, October & November. We’re more cautious regarding the summer months, but more people who set out to play the Old Course succeed than fail. This guidance stops short of being a guarantee though.

Guaranteed tee-times

There is a price premium to guarantee a tee-time. This involves a minimum hotel stay in St Andrews of three nights, and playing additional St Andrews courses. If you’re playing the Old Course as part of a wider ranging tour across Scotland or Ireland however, then you won’t always have the luxury of being able to spend three days here. In this case you either have to extend your stay, or take your chance through the ballot or the ‘walk up’ rule.

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 the yellow peril of 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!

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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