We all know Scotland is the home of golf and as such you would assume there are a fair few golf courses dotted around its remarkable landscape. Surprisingly given its size, Scotland is in fact home to over 550 golf courses, some of which are among the very best in the world. From the age old St Andrews Links to the impossibly tranquil surrounds of Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland has it all when it comes to golf and although famous names like Turnberry, Kingsbarns and Royal Troon grab most people’s attention, there are countless other golf courses, hotels and resorts that offer some of the best value for money to be found anywhere in Europe. If you’re on the verge of booking your next well deserved golf break you must consider the country where it all started and to give you a helping hand here are five of the best golf breaks for less than £150…
OFFER – 1 Night, Dinner, B&B & Unlimited Golf – £124
Golf in Scotland is not all about battling it out with the elements on age old links courses and at the Inchmarlo Resort you will find a stunning parkland course that takes advantage of its truly breathtaking location in the heart of Aberdeenshire. Boasting a superb 27-hole golfing complex, including the stunning Laird’s Course and the picturesque 9-hole Queen’s, and a collection of luxury apartments and villas, Inchmarlo has plenty to offer the travelling golfer.
The Laird’s Course has been hailed by many as a ‘highland treasure’ and was also named the Best New British Course after opening in 2001, highlighting the fact that this is now one of Scotland’s best inland courses. The heather-topped mountains protected by a blanket of trees provide the perfect setting for wildlife, fauna and a stunning golf course.
Inchmarlo’s Laird Course is one of the most picturesque in Scotland and depending on the tee you choose to play from can offer a decent challenge to golfers of all shapes and sizes.
Nestled in the foothills of the Grampians, the Laird’s Course epitomizes golf in the north east of Scotland. Players must safely negotiate tree-lined fairways, secluded two-tiered greens and the odd water hazard but perhaps the most difficult thing will be to concentrate on the golf and not the intoxicating surrounding scenery.
The luxurious Inchmarlo Resort Hotel completes the package here and ensures that golfers are well looked after and entertained away from the course.
OFFER – 1 Night, B&B & 2 Rounds of Golf – £99
From the tranquil Aberdeenshire countryside to the southernmost tip of the rugged Kintyre Peninsula, we find ourselves at Machrihanish Dunes which is home to a relatively young yet truly spectacular championship links course as well as a number of brilliant accommodation options such as the Ugadale Hotel, the Royal Hotel and the charming Ugadale Cottages.
While luxury accommodation is all part and parcel of the perfect golf break, it is the golf course where the real excitement starts and at Machrihanish Dunes you won’t even make it to the first tee before the golfing juices are flowing, thanks largely to the course’s magnificent location.
The “god given” Machrihahish Dunes is one of the only true links courses to have appeared on the golf scene in the last few decades.
While there are some 32,000 golf courses worldwide, only 270 of those can truly be classed as links. However, the astonishing Machrihanish Dunes, opened in mid 2009, can certainly be added to this elite collection. On a parcel of land first recognised for its golfing potential by Old Tom Morris more than 130 years ago, his vision has been realised by David McLay Kidd, the precocious course architect made famous by his creations at Bandon Dunes, Oregon and the Castle Course, St Andrews.
Measuring 7,300 yards, Machrihanish Dunes will feature six greens and five tees on the water’s edge, making this one of the most spectacular new golfing experiences in the world that can be enjoyed by golfers of all shapes and sizes. Golfers visiting Machrihanish can expect to find all the ingredients of a classic links. Fast running, undulating fairways weave their way through enormous dunes and among tall, whispy rough while quick, sloping greens are well protected by rugged bunkers and devilish little run off areas. It is likely that you will use every last club in your bag during a round at Machrihanish Dunes which is hailed by many as “the most natural golf course” in the world. It has been said that the natural terrain produced 23 ‘natural holes’, meaning that minimal work is required in constructing the course, and the designer needed only to choose his favourite 18.
OFFER – 1 Night, Dinner, B&B & 2 Rounds of Golf – £129
Like Inchmarlo, The Macdonald Spey Valley Championship Resort has been highlighted as one of the best golf resorts to have opened in Scotland in recent years. Set in the famed Scottish Highlands, Spey Valley is without doubt one of the most picturesque courses in the whole of Europe and it’s not just its breathtaking location that makes this resort the golfing haven that it is.
The course at Spey Valley was designed by Dave Thomas, who also designed the famous Brabazon Course at The Belfry by the way, and while the course was only opened for play in 2006, it is already mature far beyond its years and will no doubt mature further still as the years tick by.
Like famous Scottish names including Gleneagles, Spey Valley is set in some truly breathtaking scenery.
Measuring a healthy 7, 153 yards from the tips, Spey Valley can certainly hold its own when the big hitters come to play but a number of different tee positions allow golfers of all abilities to enjoy a game. Although the course is seen by many as a procession of gorgeous hole after gorgeous hole, there are few who would argue that the par 5 16th is the signature hole on the course. Measuring a whopping 641 yards, this is a true three shot par 5 where even the longest hitters will struggle to get home in two. Throughout Spey Valley golfers can expect pristine fairways lined by mature trees, choppy rough and banks of purple heather strewn across the floor, waiting to gobble up any stray golf balls that may come their way.
With the towering peaks of the Cairngorms National Park acting as a backdrop, there really are few finer places to enjoy a round of golf in the great outdoors.
Accommodation at the Aviemore Resort is a plenty but two hotels come with a YGT recommendation. The Macdonald Highlands Hotel and the Macdonald Four Seasons Hotel both offer comfortable accommodation, excellent leisure facilities including a lavish spa at the Highlands Hotel and a number of fantastic restaurants including Aspects, the signature restaurant for the best in local cuisine. After your meal here it would be rude not to enjoy night-cap in The Laggan, whisky and cocktail bar. With 100 single malts on offer, including over 60 from the Speyside area, even the connoisseur will be spoiled for choice!
OFFER – 1 Night, Dinner, B&B & 2 Rounds of Golf – £139
Loch Lomond, long time host of the Scottish Open before its move to the amazing Castle Stuart, has long been regarded as one of the finest golf courses in the world but unfortunately for us, it is also an ultra-exclusive club where only the crème de la crème, also known as member’s friends, need apply. However in Cameron House we have found our saviour as it is also set on the shores of the impossibly beautiful Loch Lomond and is available to play on your next Scottish Golf Holiday.
Since its official opening in 2006, The Carrick has fully vindicated all the attention heaped on it during its planning and construction, and is without doubt now one of the most exciting new courses to play in Scotland.
The Carrick is an excellent course in its own right and gives golfers a little taste of life at Loch Lomond.
Stretched along the Loch Lomond shoreline, the course is bordered by delightful banks of heather and gorse, which are typical of this classically Scottish landscape. The front and back nines on The Carrick are different in character with the front nine being played largely on the low lying land around the Loch before the back nine takes you on a journey into the higher grounds of the highlands before returning back to the clubhouse.
Golfers will face a variety of hazards along the way round this stunning course with the Loch coming into play on a number of holes, particularly at the start of the round, but perhaps the biggest distraction will be the amazing surrounding landscape. Be sure to have your camera ready at the 14th tee. This par 3, also known as “Tappet Doon”, is the signature hole on the course and offers great views of the Loch and Ben Lomond to the north.
OFFER – 1 Night, B&B & 2 Rounds of Golf – £115
The Old Course Hotel couldn’t boast a better location. Set aside the world famous Road Hole on the St Andrews Old Course, this 5* resort hotel offers one of the most complete Scottish Golf Break experiences going.
Voted Scotland’s Leading Golf Resort in 2010 and Luxury Resort Hotel of the Year in 2011, The Old Course Hotel is a top-class facility, worthy of its glorious position adjoining the world’s most famous golf course. Accommodation is truly five star with guestrooms that will make you not want to return home thanks to the sheer luxury on offer and dining options are top class. Guests can enjoy the best locally sourced steak and seafood in the Sands Grill, after dinner cigars, malts and cocktails on the rooftop deck and fun night of darts in the Jigger Inn, one of the most popular pubs in the “Auld Grey Toon”.
The Kohler’s water Spa is another highlight of any trip to the Old Course Hotel as the therapeutic benefits of water can help to relax and restore your body after a long day on the fairways at the home of golf.
There are few hotels that can boast a location like the Old Course Hotel, overlooking the world famous 17th on the Old Course.
While The Old Course Hotel is within touching distance of a number of the world’s best golf courses – think the St Andrews Old Course, Kingsbarns and the Carnoustie Championship Course – its own course, the mighty Duke’s is excellent and a must play for those who have had their fill of the St Andrews Links.
The Duke’s Course was designed by five-time Open champion Peter Thomson CBE, and has been highly regarded since its opening in 1995. However, with Herb Kohler’s takeover of the Old Course Hotel and the Duke’s, there has been significant investment, which in recent years has resulted in the course coming on leaps and bounds and now being reminiscent in places of one of the world’s greatest courses, Whistling Straits. Played from the tips, this is the longest golf course in Scotland, and it represents the perfect accompaniment to the classic tracks at St Andrews Links.