Royal Dornoch, Castle Stuart, Cruden Bay, Royal Aberdeen, Nairn, Trump Aberdeen or Murcar,

with the best Speyside whisky and St Andrews on the tail

Scotch Whisky with Golf
– The Character of this tour

Old Course – Walk-Up-Rule should succeed
Odds against play through the ballot, but not without a sporting chance.
Duration – 9 nights
Logistics – Three centres. Local ‘back-to-base’ but following a ‘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 – Strong (Loch Ness, Culloden, ‘the Highlands’, & St Andrews)

At Faraway Fairways we’ve been struck again by just how many golfer’s variously identify themselves as whisky drinkers. Scotland has of course bequeathed these two totems of civilisation to the advancement of humanity, so it seemed natural to try and combine them and offer you the ultimate combination of the very best of Scotch whisky with Golf as a package tour.

The collision of whisky with golf really comes in Speyside. This means following a looping circuit which begins with a drive north into the ethereal Scottish Highlands where upon we adopt a west to east route that crosses through Speyside before emerging on the other side in Aberdeenshire. The tour splits into three distinct golfing assignments in both regions, linked together by the Old Moray course at Lossiemouth, Scotland’s whisky links given the number of distillery owners who traditionally used it

The Highland swing features Royal Dornoch, Nairn, and Castle Stuart, whereas the Aberdeenshire leg features Cruden Bay, Royal Aberdeen, and the Trump International Links. In total that’s five courses which hold a world top-100 ranking. You might have noticed that we’re due to finish in Aberdeen, and need to somehow get back to Edinburgh? This pretty much puts us in a direct line of travel through Carnoustie and passes close enough to St Andrews … well it would be impolite not to wouldn’t it? Our chances of playing the St Andrews Old Course needn’t be forlorn. We’d have at least one clear day, and possibly a couple of others as we can ‘hit it’ from an Aberdeen base

The choice of whisky however is really up to you. The area around Craigellachie sees a concentration of ‘famous names’ including Glenfiddich, Macallan, Glenlivet, Aberlour, and Balvenie. In addition to this dedicated day, we’d also be able to line up Glenmorangie in conjunction with Royal Dornoch, whereas Glen Grant blends with the Moray Old Course. As we leave Speyside we should also be able to add Strathisla to the haul en-route to Cruden Bay. There is a galaxy to choose from if you wish to combine Scotch whisky with golf. It’s perhaps also worth noting that whereas Edinburgh needn’t be a renowned whisky producing region, it does possess a plethora of whisky tasting experiences. All bottles head to the capital!

The Scotch Whisky with Golf Vacation awaits you

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



Friday NAIRN traveling Inverness
Saturday ROYAL DORNOCH Glenmorangie Distillery Inverness
Sunday CASTLE STUART Culloden Inverness
Monday MORAY OLD The Glenlivet Distillery Craigellachie
Tuesday No Golf Macallan, Aberlour, & Balvenie Craigellachie
Wednesday CRUDEN BAY Strathsila Distillery Aberdeen
Thursday TRUMP ABERDEEN or MURCAR Balmoral & Deeside Aberdeen
Friday ROYAL ABERDEEN Dunnottar Castle Aberdeen
Saturday ST ANDREWS St Andrews Dalmahoy

Click Image to learn more details about the course


9 nights Duration
  • Luxury

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


Created from a Highland wilderness of gorse and heather Nairn is a perennial Scottish top-10 hoverer. Nairn is a bit like a great symphony which takes you on a journey with each movement getting progressively challenging before developing into a climatic crescendo. Nairn requires you to use every club in you bag, and play a myriad of different shots. Wise heads frequently nominate Nairn as possessing the best putting surface that Scotland has to offer too. One of the slightly more remarkable features is that you can very easily hit the ball into the sea on every one of the first seven! If you’re a ‘leftie’ with a tendency to hook, you might like to consider packing an extra sleeve of balls!

More information

Qualification requirements for play

Nairn operates a handicap threshold of 28 for gentlemnen, and 36 for ladies respectively. Nairn will reserve the right as to whether or not to invoke this since it tends not to be as rigidly applied as some clubs. An appreciation of pace of play, and etiquette, is equally important. If the player does fall below the standard however, they are invited to tackle the alternatives we’ve nominated instead.

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”.


Glenmorangie Distillery has been producing its Single Highland malt Scotch whisky since 1843. Crafting the delicate spirit is entrusted to the legendary ‘Sixteen Men of Tain’. A tour of the distillery will introduce you to these skilled mashmen, stillmen and warehousemen as they go about their daily work. You’ll see the shining elegance of Glenmorangie’s copper stills, the tallest in Scotland, standing 16 feet 10 inches (5.14 metres) high. This ensures that only the purest, most delicate vapours are condensed into spirit.

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.

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.


The Spey is the epitomy of Scotland’s fast flowing, clean water, rivers. Speyside whiskies are among Scotland’s lightest, sweetest single malts. Age often brings a bit more body and superb power.

Speyside has, by some distance, the vast majority of Scotch whisky distilleries. Indeed there are eighty-four working distilleries, in truth, we’re spoilt for choice. The only limiting factors are the amount of time we have, and your own thirst

Quite apart from being a famous ‘whisky hotel’ within it’s own right, the Craigellachie is surrounded by some of the most ‘Famous Names’ in Speyside, or for that matter, in the world of whisky. You would have the following distilleries to choose from (amongst others too);

Macallan (1 mile) John Dewar (1½ miles) Glenrothes (3 miles), Aberlour (3¼ miles), Glen Grant (4 miles),
Glenallachie (4 miles), Balvenie (3 miles), Cardhu (7 miles), Glenfiddich (8 miles), Glenfarcas (8 miles)
Strathsila (13 miles) and Glenlivet (14 miles)

There’s no explanation needed beyond name dropping these. Macallan is normally regarded as doing the best tour. We’d advise that you pencil in Macallan, and then get a map out, draw a 20 mile radius around Aberlour and start serial killing them!

© photo by Y. Kohno / Wikimedia Commons / licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
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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.


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!

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’.

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

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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