Scotland has long been considered the spiritual Home of Golf thanks to world famous courses such as Carnoustie, Muirfield and, of course, the St Andrews Old Course. And while these courses are undoubtedly important parts of Scotland’s golfing history, there are certain people who have also made significant contributions towards Scotland becoming one of the very best destinations for your next golf holiday.
One of Scotland’s most influential sons, James Braid, is perhaps the person most responsible for the quality and quantity of courses in Scotland and as a thank you to the great man we thought we would take a quick glance at the James Braid Golf Trail and a few of the masterpieces that you could play on your next Scottish Golf Tour.
The man himself is probably best known for the golf courses that he designed and the fact that he shaped the game of golf in Scotland with his magnificent course designs, perhaps somewhat overshadowing his trophy laden professional career, winning The Open Championship in 1901, 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1910! His triumph in 1906 in The Open Championship was the last successful defence of a European until Pádraig Harrington successfully managed to defend in 2008 at Royal Birkdale.
Thankfully for us, in 1912 Braid opted to scale back his tournament golf and focus his attention on course design. And here at Your Golf Travel we are very grateful he did, as Braid is considered as one of the best golf course designers in golf’s considerable history. In fact Braid is also often given credit for inventing the dog-leg and the pot bunker!
Braid was involved in a small way, a big way and an intermediate way in so many courses across the UK, all of which have a common quality that ensures an enjoyable test of golf for golfers of all shapes and sizes. With variety being the spice of life it was only natural for Braid to design a number of fantastic courses.
From challenging links, to top heathland and beautiful parkland courses, Braid tried his hand at it all. The James Braid Trail aims to help you to uncover his pre-eminent creations and also discover some hidden gems which will help you to understand why his designs, and legend, have stood the test of time.
The Angus Golf Trail
Explore Idyllic Mountain Settings
Braid created some of the most excellent inland golf courses to be found anywhere in the world, at the gateway to the Highlands.
Blairgowrie is home to two excellent courses but the Rosemount is without doubt the jewel in its golfing crown.
His designs have left a legacy of peace and tranquillity located in some of the most stunning scenery in golf, set amongst fir trees, bracken and heather with an imposing mountain backdrop. A firm favourite of ours at YGT is Blairgowrie Golf Club, which was described by Old Tom Morris as, “the most beautiful inland green I have ever seen”.
The Gleneagles Golf Trail
The Pinnacle of Braid’s Achievements
The fame that surrounds Gleneagles has also helped to enhance his reputation and the hotel itself stands as a monument to the great man and his gift to the game as a golf course architect. Although Gleneagles is the place to be on this particular trail, Crieff Golf Club is also a true gem on the Gleneagles Golf Trail.
A charming course with magnificent views over the Strathearn Valley, Crieff opens with a par three which is a lovely change from the norm.
The delightful Perthshire classic, Crieff Golf Club, has a lovely isolated atmosphere, where the golf course blends seamlessly with the natural landscape.
Is Gleneagles the best inland course in Scotland? ???????⛳️— Your Golf Travel (@yourgolftravel) June 19, 2021
Click the link below to find out what courses @4golfonline, @YGTRory and @CoachLockey have on their Scottish Golf bucket list.
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The Highland Golf Trail
Magnificent Links and Highland History
Some of James Braid’s best work is prominent in the very north of Scotland; here the famous Scottish air is a joy to play golf in and is thankfully in bountiful supply.
Nairn is one of the finest links courses in Scotland with all the humps, bumps, gorse and bunkers that make links golf so magical.
The Highlands are where James weaved his architectural genius in the midst of classic coastal links and in mystifying Highland glens. Located just north of Inverness is the one of Scotland’s most reputable links courses, Nairn Golf Club. This is a links course in the purest sense, and is well worth a visit if you happen to be touring at the top of Scotland.
The Links Golf Trail
Sea Breezes & Classic Coastal Courses
In the surroundings of his home town of Elie in the East Neuk of Fife, James Braid produced some of his finest creations for the world of golf to take pleasure in. These classic links courses are left susceptible to the elements of wind and tide, where golf can be enjoyed at its most robust and testing.
Arbroath boasts all of the ingredients a classic links should. Braid’s revised bunkering is excellent and not easily avoided!
Arbroath Golf Club is not an original Braid creation, laid out first by Old Tom Morris in 1876; however his revision of the bunkering in 1931 took the course to the next level and now has true character and definition.
The Lothian Golf Trail
History in the Capital’s Shadow
The Lothians is where much of the earliest history of golf can be found. The shores of the Firth of Forth is where the ghosts of ancient golfing battles still wander and it is also here that James added his own individual legacy to golf in the shadow of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital.
Are you brave enough to tackle the monstrous East Course from the back tees?
One of Edinburgh’s leading golfing lights is Dalmahoy, which is home to two magnificent golf courses, the East and West Courses. The East Course is in fact the longest in Scotland, stretching to almost 7,500 yards from the tips which makes it a fearsome test for even the best ball strikers. The Solheim Cup and the Scottish PGA Championships have both been hosted by Dalmahoy in recent years which is testament to the quality of golf on offer here.
The West Coast Golf Trail
Spectacular Scenery & Romantic Seascapes
Scotland’s West coast is a retreat for dramatic scenery and romantic seascapes. Braid used his magic on these spectacular settings to produce a superb assortment of hunting grounds for golfers looking for great variety and challenge. This also happens to be the area where he completed Stranraer, his final course, which has views to take your breath away.
Stranraer offers a great test of links golf on a truly remarkable piece of land.
Not only is Stranraer situated on a beautiful piece of land, it also offers all golfers regardless of handicap, the chance of a memorable game of golf.