GOLF WITH SCOTTISH HISTORY

St Andrews, Royal Dornoch, Carnoustie, North Berwick, Castle Stuart & Gleneagles

Golf with Scottish History
– The Character of this tour

St Andrews Old Course – 50/50 chance of play through the ballot.
Walk-Up-Rule should succeed
Duration – 9 nights
Logistics – ‘Point-to-point’ touring structure
Transport – Self-drive works best
Mileage – High, but involves a lot of uncongested scenic roads
Travel Class – Luxury
Non-Golf offer – Very strong (Edinburgh, Stirling, ‘the Highlands’, & St Andrews)

At Faraway Fairways we’ve recently seen a welcome increase in the number of enquiries seeking to combine golf with Scottish history. Typically these types of enquiries tend to be friendship groups with non-golfers (usually spouses) being an integral part of the travelling party. They also tend to be point-to-point tours as the objective is to try and cover Scotland whilst also weaving world-class golf and genuine top-tier visitor attractions. The final feature that people seem to ask for is a few days set aside for the whole group to spend time together rather than having any golf scheduled. As it happens we’re in luck

In a lot of cases a lot of Scotland’s apex golf courses just happen to be in close proximity to many of her most celebrated ‘sites’. Combining golf with Scottish history is a surprisingly natural fit. We aren’t having to ‘force’ things and pass second tier locations off in order to justify the golf. They tend to come to us.

The tour begins with Gleneagles and the city of Stirling, famed for its castle and the nearby battlefields of Bannockburn (1314 – ‘the Bruce’) and Stirling Bridge (1296 – William Wallace/ Braveheart). We then take a non-golf departure working our way across the northern section of the Trossachs National Park to Glencoe, scene of the infamous massacre of 1692, and also taking in Glenfinnan and Loch Shiel, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard to begin the Jacobite rebellion in 1745. We then head north long the shores of Loch Ness, taking in Urquhart Castle, to the world top-10 course of Royal Dornoch, whilst non-golfers can explore Dunrobin Castle. The following day we begin the swing south, playing golf at Castle Stuart and visiting the nearby battlefield of Culloden (1746). We take a break from the golf now and travel down the A9, picking off Blair Castle, The battlefield and gorge of Killiecrankie (1690) and Scone Palace, the ancient crowning seat of Scottish Kings, before undertaking an easterly a loop that combines Carnoustie with Glamis Castle and Arbroath Abbey and driving onto St Andrews. The town is a legitimate visitor destination regardless of golf. The final leg involves two days in Edinburgh with the golfers adding another world ranked course to their haul at North Berwick

This is a comprehensive symphony of golf with Scottish history. The golfers should get five courses that hold world top-100 rankings, whilst the non-golfers have also assembled an impressive haul that takes you through the pages of Scotland’s often turbulent history

The Golf with Scottish History Vacation awaits you

Old Course estimate based on the ‘super-peak’ season


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GOLF NON-GOLF OVERNIGHT
Friday
GLENEAGLES Stirling Gleneagles or Stirling
Saturday NO GOLF Glencoe & Glenfinnan Fort William
Sunday ROYAL DORNOCH Loch Ness & Dunrobin Castle Dornoch
Monday CASTLE STUART Culloden Inverness
Tuesday NO GOLF Perthshire Carnoustie
Wednesday CARNOUSTIE CHAMPIONSHIP Glamis Castle St Andrews
Thursday
ST ANDREWS (OLD COURSE) St Andrews St Andrews
Friday
NORTH BERWICK Edinburgh Edinburgh
Saturday
NO GOLF Edinburgh Edinburgh

 

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golf with Scottish history golf with Scottish history MUIRFIELD EDINBURGH GOLF VACATION
ST ANDREWS OLD COURSE
ROYAL DORNOCH
CARNOUSTIE
NORTH BERWICK

9 Nights Duration
  • Luxury

ST ANDREWS OLD COURSE BALLOT- Anyone intending to play the Old Course through the ballot should make contingency to add £195. 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 (Torrance or Kittocks Course), albeit the Fairmont will make every effort to reschedule you should you wish to.

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

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.

Non Golf Day - Glencoe & Glenfinnan

To remain faithful to the ‘history’ theme and help establish a golf/ non-golf balance, we really ought to travel north view the Western Highlands. We begin by cutting across the tip of the Trossachs before arriving in Glencoe, one of the most infamous place names in Scotland. The glen is surrounded by steep sided mountains and has a distinctly spooky atmosphere. It was here in 1692 that Campbell troops massacred the MacDonald’s whilst they slept

After Glencoe its about 50 mins to Glenfinnan which sits at the head of Loch Shiel. It was here in 1745 that Bonnie Prince Charlie came ashore to begin the ill-fated Jacobite rebellion. A monument can be climbed to view this most impressive of vistas

If you’re taking this in the height of summer you should be able to use the extended daylight at these northerly latitudes to drive along the ‘road to the isles’ to the coast, and see the Isle of Skye, Arisaig, and Loch Morar

Photo credit by Pixabay, Public Domain work

Royal Dornoch

Golf Digest rated Royal Dornoch the highest of Scotland’s many worthy candidates. The Championship course represented a paradigm in design that endures today. The ‘bump-and-run‘ was the traditional shot to mitigate a links wind. Elevated plinth greens were introduced and ringed with fiendish pot-bunkers to guard them from any such commando approach. Without completely taking the traditional ‘stock shot’ out of the equation, a degree of risk was added. Dornoch therefore challenges you to go the aerial route, and ride the wind. Iron play is the key to the course. The greens are accommodating if you can find them though. The rationale is simple: hit a good approach shot and you should be rewarded. Hit a bad one, and you pay the penalty. Tom Watson said of Dornoch “the most fun I’ve ever had on a golf course”.

Castle Stuart

Another modern addition to the golfing landscape having opened in July 2009. The course is set on two-tiered balaconies overlooking the dark and forboding waters of the Moray Firth. Players enjoy stunning panoramas from the highest elevations. The course is rich in the textured signature landscape of Scottish ‘whins’, gorse and broom, heather, and marram from beginning to end. These change colour with the seasons as Nature commanded, and weave a tapestry of highland hues into this landscape mosaic of rugged beauty. The course has recently been hosting the prestigious Scottish Open, and was used successfully by Phil Mickelson in 2013 as a springboard to Open success a month later at Muirfield.

Non Golf Day - Perthshire

The journey south from the Highlands introduces us to a string of pearls along the A9 corridor deep in Perthshire. The first thing that might catch your eye is the House of Bruar Highland retail outlet village. OK, not really historical, but few visitors pass it up. The next is the striking Blair Castle, Scotland’s white house, and home of the Clan Murray

If you’ve failed to visit a distillery so far, and feel obliged to do so, then Blair Athol is in a direct line of travel (Bells Whisky). You could then take a picnic lunch at the ‘Queens View’ an elevated vantage point that looks length of Loch Tummel to the mountains of Lochaber in the west

The final pair of attractions are probably the most historically significant. The gorge of Killiecrankie was the scene of a battle in the first Jacobite uprising (1690). Although it was a victory for the Jacobites it came at a cost and possibly set in train a chain events that would result in the Glencoe massacre. The final destination is the pink stoned, Scone Palace, the ancient crowning seat of Scottish Kings and famed for its ornate gardens and magnificent state rooms

Photo credit by Benutzer:Brunswyk under CC by S.A 3.0

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.


KITTOCKS & TORRANCE COURSES

The Kittocks and Torrances courses are slight departures from the links tradition of St Andrews, being a few miles outside of town on a stunnning cliff-top location overlooking the bay and town below. The result is spectacular. With a splendid sense of isolation and exposure they both play ‘linksy’. The venture has been a tremendous addition to the St Andrews portfolio.

The Kittocks course is a long and challenging, requiring nerves of steel to navigate its many holes running alongside the coastline. It’s played host to Europro Tournament 2007 and 2009 and Scottish Youths National Championship 2016.The Torrance course is charcaterised by its deep revetted bunkers, and large greens and has hosted the Seniors European Tour Event six times between 2009 and 2014. They tend to be held in similar regard and its genuinely difficult to recommend one over the other

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 curiousity relic though. It’s a beguiling top-100 course in its own right

More information

Qualification requirements for play

North Berwick operates a handicap threshold of 24 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

Non Golf Day - Edinburgh

Few trips to Scotland could really be considered complete without Edinburgh. The Scottish capital is frequently regarded as one of the UK’s most charismatic cities and famed for the castle that overlooks the city, as well as being an arts, entertainment and hospitality centre.

Most visitors will prioritise the castle that overlooks the city below. Greyfriars Bobby, Holyrood Palace, and the various galleries are all legitimate attractions. Prince’s Street is the main shopping thoroughfare with its adjacent gardens providing respite.

Edinburgh is quite a hilly city in places and for this reason we include a 48-hour hop-on/ hop-off, rover bus ticket, which also permits you to travel out to Leith to visit the Riyal Yacht should you choose

It’s perhaps worth noting that Edinburgh is where the national public records is located. Anyone who is interested in tracing an ancestral link should find they can use this invaluable archive. The staff are always happy to help, albeit the more information you provide for them, the better

Photo credit Mike McBey/ Flickr/ CC by S.A 2.0

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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