It would be understandable if Scotland rested on its golfing laurels. It is after all the birthplace of the game and boasts in excess of 550 courses, many of which are among the best and most historically significant in the world. Famous Open Championship venues, past and present, are dotted all along the rugged coastlines that border a country filled with golfing possibilities. Carnoustie, Royal Troon and, of course, the St Andrews Links – including the world famous Old Course – are all on the menu in Scotland and yet, with new projects in the pipeline and recently completed courses cropping up all over the shop, Scotland just keeps getting better.
Many of you will have heard of Donald Trump’s latest golfing gift to the masses in Aberdeen. The recently completed Trump International Links looks set to make some serious waves when it opens for play as the signs are all there for it to be a world class course. Course designer Martin Hawtree has previously completed work on links gems including the likes of Royal Birkdale, Lahinch and Portmarnock, which is enough to suggest that the Trump International Links will become an instant classic.
Trump International Golf Links
It’s not just the Trump Links that is new to the golfing scene in Scotland. In the last few years we have seen the magnificent St Andrews Castle Course be added to the already impressive list of layouts at the Home of Golf and on the other side of the country, just a few minutes from Inverness, lies the impressive Castle Stuart Golf Links which many believe to be the most exciting golfing development in the UK since the mighty Kingsbarns opened for play. The quality of these two courses is without question, with Castle Stuart having been chosen to host the Scottish Open and the Castle Course not being completely outshone by its illustrious siblings!
Castle Stuart Golf Links
It is clear then that Scotland isn’t resting on its laurels when it comes to links golf but what of its inland treasures? Gleneagles, Spey Valley and the Carrick Course at Cameron House are all fantastic courses available to anyone embarking on a Scottish golf break but again, Scotland hasn’t just sat back and lapped up the praise. Two new parkland gems – Rowallan Castle and Mar Hall – have increased the options for travelling golfers.
St Andrews – The Castle Course
Now in its second full season of play, Rowallan Castle sits in the middle of the age old Rowallan Estate and offers some of the most picturesque views in the country, not to mention a collection of outstanding parkland holes shaped by Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie. Although Ayrshire heavyweights like Turnberry and Cameron House rightly receive a lot of attention from travelling golfers, it won’t be long until Rowallan Castle is mentioned in the same breath.
Extending to over 6,500 yards, the par-70 Earl of Mar course at Mar Hall was designed by renowned golf course architect and PGA professional, Dave Thomas, who has previously worked on famous courses such as The Brabazon at The Belfry and San Roque in Spain. Despite its tender age, the mature trees and historic grounds of the 19th century Mar Hall Estate give the impression of a long-established golf course.
Mar Hall & The Earl of Mar Course
As if the recent arrival of a whole host of classy courses wasn’t enough for Scotland, golf’s biggest show, the Ryder Cup, is coming to town in 2014. The PGA Centenary Course will see the cream of the crop from Europe and from across the pond do battle over three exciting, tense and dramatic days. Throw in the return of the Open Championship in 2013 – It is being played at Muirfield next year – and it seems as if golf in Scotland is continuing to flourish. If the birthplace of golf can keep producing courses of a similar standard to those mentioned above then long may it continue!
For more information on St Andrews Golf Breaks, check out our video!
The resident golf geek at Your Golf Travel. Have been lucky enough to have travelled far and wide playing golf and if I’m not writing about it at work, you will probably find me hacking it around my local course. Owner of 2 holes in one and some of the most crooked drives you have ever seen!