Sometimes you want to plan a golf trip and also discover a new city whilst you’re at it. Planning a golf trip to Scotland is easy, so we’re here to help you decide what you might want to plan around those visits to world-famous courses.
A city break in Scotland is something to savour, you never quite know how the night will pan out and what adventures you might end up on, and we’re not just talking about what happens when you get the pints in. Scotland has so much to offer in its big cities.
Here is a taster of some of the courses to play and things to get up to whilst you are in town. The question that you need to consider is what do you book up first, the golf or everything else? Read on for some pointers.
Let’s start in a place that suits almost everyone’s taste, Scotland’s capital. Here you have some of the best restaurants around, great cocktail bars and clubs to end the night with a dance. Edinburgh is also close to some of the best links golf in the world so it is an ideal base for this kind of golf trip.
Depending on budget, Archerfield and Renaissance are two modern links clubs you should visit and there are three courses to play here. The Dirleton and Fidra at Archerfield are great modern links courses that have a bit of a heathland feel about them. On the same estate, Renaissance is the most recent home of the Scottish Open so you can follow in the footsteps of the world’s best.
For a more classic links experience, the three courses at Gullane should be on your list. The views across the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh and Fife add a little extra to your round here. Gullane, like St Andrews and Carnoustie, is a town that is devoted to and obsessed by golf so it’s a great place to put on your list.
Gullane Golf Club
For the proper Lothian golf experience you absolutely must stop by the Duck’s Inn. One of the best golf pubs in the world, you will be treated with the warmest of welcomes and be surrounded by fellow golfers. You can even take part in the barstool putting competition if you’re feeling brave.
Some of the city’s most famous exports are the festivals. If you head to the capital in August then you’ll be treated to the spectacle of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and no less than 4 other festivals so you will definitely not be short of things to do. Another option in Edinburgh is to take in some of the gruesome history of the city that makes for some macabre appeal.
Follow the story of Burke and Hare or walk through The Vaults underneath the city and hear about the literal underworld that used to be such a part of Edinburgh’s Old Town. But if a stroll underground isn’t your thing, an overground walking tour exploring of some of the city’s best pints or drams will surely appeal as a pub crawl for grown-ups. This is a fascinating city that can have the least cultured person in the world seeking new experiences.
Known for being one of the best places for a night out in Scotland, Aberdeen has the perfect mix of great courses and great nightlife. Walk around the city or head to the pub and you’ll come across an eclectic mix of fisherman, oil executives and students, making for some great 19th hole chat at the bar after your round. The locals speak a dialect of Scots called Doric so you’ll really feel immersed in that unique Scottish humour, even if you don’t catch every punch line.
Just minutes from the city you can find some world class links courses. Royal Aberdeen is a traditional links and former Scottish Open and Walker Cup host course that deserves all of its plaudits. A round here will definitely blow away any cobwebs off you from the night before, especially if the wind from the North Sea picks up!
Clavis Whisky Bar at MacLeod House, Trump International Golf Links
From a classic links to a new one, our next recommendation is a special one. When you’re in Aberdeen you really should give Trump International Golf Links a play. Regardless of your politics, this course is utterly incredible and easily one of the most beautiful links courses.
The course is the work of Martin Hawtree and it runs along the coast whilst cocooning you in the dunes. This is links of the highest quality and anyone who has played it raves about it. Make sure you add the Trump International to your itinerary.
Aberdeen is home to one of Britain’s busiest and most popular pubs, The Prince of Wales. After a few jars at the Prince of Wales you may fancy something a little more chilled the next day. Take a stroll down to Torry Battery or along Aberdeen Beach and try to spot some dolphins.
If you want a city break in Scotland then Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, has to be high on your list. Here you will end up feeling like part of the city and undoubtedly make new friends along the way. The West End is a great place to go for bars filled with character and a good whisky. The Merchant City is another great spot to check out.
In terms of golf, there are some great inland courses very close to the city. They are a short drive away and offer fantastic golf. First stop has to be Mar Hall, a fairly new championship course designed by Dave Thomas. This course is set in the Earl of Mar Estate with the beautiful hotel as a centrepiece. It is a tactician’s course that requires patience.
Views of the Clyde River and the Kilpatrick Hills await to enhance the great golf on offer. If you’re lucky you may get a sail past from a cool ship or two and the Auchentoshan Distillery is just over the river if you want to do a tour after your round too.
Another great course is Glasgow Killermont. This Old Tom Morris course is on the shorter side but the course is always in immaculate condition. There are some truly wonderful parkland holes during this round and it is only ten minutes by taxi from the West End of Glasgow.
Glasgow is one of the coolest spots in the U.K. for food so you must make time to indulge. Paesano pizza may be the best slice this side of Naples whilst Cail Bruach was recently awarded a Michelin Star if you’re feeling indulgent. There’s one dish that you must try when in town though.
It may be disputed, but the Shish Mahal restaurant claims to be where the chicken tikka masala was invented. You have to pay this famous restaurant a visit for one of the best Indian dining experiences you will ever have.
Famous for the “three J’s”, jam, jute and journalism, and known as the City of Discovery, Dundee is also one of the best destinations in the UK for a golf trip. Statistically, it is Scotland’s sunniest city and, whilst it is very close to Fife and St Andrews, it also has some incredible courses to boast of and for you to fall for.
The courses of neighbouring Angus are what make a trip to Dundee such a treat. Starting with Monifieth, you then move up to the truly stunning Panmure and onto the world-famous Carnoustie. In this short stretch of land you have six tremendous courses to tackle.
Another great option closer to the city is Downfield, a fine inland course that has hosted many prestigious events including the first ever Scottish Open. Dundee is a city that has transformed itself in recent years and is one of the most exciting cities in the UK now.
The incredible waterfront development includes the V&A Dundee museum which is an astounding building that shouldn’t be missed. It sits proudly beside the beautiful RRS Discovery, the ship after which the city got its nickname. It is also a city with incredible food and drink.
71 Brewing is a microbrewery in the city with beers that you will want to take out onto the golf course with you. Just up the road in Arbroath you can also savour some local spirits from Arbikie. Speaking of Arbroath, you simply must try the world-famous smokies.
The Ship Inn is a classic old pub with brilliant food in the town of Broughty Ferry. The best thing about this town is that it is on the way back to Dundee from Carnoustie so it would be rude not to drop in after your round. If you fancy some wine then make sure to visit The Wine Press bar.
Dundee is an absolute gem of a destination and is a hub for great experiences nearby. You can’t be in a better place for golf and with such vibrant energy about the city, you will never leave Dundee without a smile on your face.
We all love the experience of the 19th hole as that chance to talk through your round. The chance to boast of your best shots and slag your mates for their worst. Having a golf trip that is designed around a broader city break means you’ll have even more memorable moments.
There’s no need to choose between one or the other, Scotland offers the best of both worlds with a great smorgasbord of golf and city experiences.
A great night out after an equally great round can help you continue basking in the glow of those birdies into the night. It can also help you forget a bad round and be a nice distraction before you tee it up the next day to try again.
If this kind of trip sounds like it’s perfect for you and your group, YourGolfTravel absolutely have you sorted to help you enjoy jam-packed days and nights of fun. The golf may be great, it may be less than that, but trips like these will make for only fond memories.