Tag Archives: Scotland

Prestwick Golf Club (Ayrshire, Scotland, UK)

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Prestwick is full of iconic holes, like the par-4 17th, the “Alps.”

As a total golf experience, Prestwick is as good as it gets.  It’s a wonderful layout with a collection of some of the best golf holes in the world.  It’s rich in history, having hosted the first 12 British Opens.  And it’s the most welcoming golf course I’ve ever visited.  I wish I could have spent a week there instead of playing the course only once.  But I’ll be back one day, and I encourage any serious golfer to journey there, as well.

Continue reading Prestwick Golf Club (Ayrshire, Scotland, UK)

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Quick thoughts on my week in Scotland

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In addition to being fabulous for golf, Scotland was the most welcoming country I have ever visited.  Pictured here: The tee shot on No. 18 at North Berwick, heading back into town.  

I returned yesterday from a weeklong golfing trip to Scotland and WOW, what a trip!  As expected, I got in four rounds of golf at Royal Troon, Prestwick, North Berwick, and Carnoustie.  I also snuck in a Coldplay concert and did a little sightseeing.  I’ll have plenty of things to say and pictures to share in the near future.  But first, I wanted to share some quick thoughts about my trip.

My trip was way too short:  Going to Scotland to play four rounds of golf is like going to California to see Disneyland and nothing else.  It’s a great time, but you’re leaving a lot on the table.  There are so many fine courses in Scotland, and many of them need to be played more than once to be truly appreciated.  Four rounds is simply inadequate.  One of the guys I played with was on a 29-day trip to Scotland and had taken four previous trips to Scotland.  He’s doing it right #lifegoals.

The Scots are incredibly nice:  The folks in Scotland, without exception, were the most welcoming and friendly hosts of any country I have visited.  At every course I played, there was always a staff person or a member who showed me around and was keenly interested in learning where I was from, where I’ve played, etc…  The kindness extended beyond golf, as well.  At one pub I visited, for example, I asked the bartender what whisky I should try (I am not an expert), and she spent a good 5-10 minutes with me chatting about the different kinds and letting me taste a few.

Get a caddie: My first round in Scotland was at Royal Troon, a course known for being relatively straightforward by links golf standards.  I therefore figured a caddie was unnecessary.  Huge mistake.  Even this most basic of links courses played much differently than the courses I am used to in the United states.  I probably would have saved 10 strokes with a caddie and appreciated the course even more.  A caddie will set you back 40-50 pounds plus a tip, but it’s worth it, especially if you are already paying big bucks for a round at a famous course.  I paid for a caddie for subsequent rounds at Prestwick and Carnoustie and had a much better experience.

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Ahead of me is Mr. 29-days-in-Scotland, who was wise enough to hire a caddie for his round at Royal Troon.  I was left wandering the gorse alone.  Pictured here: Troon’s par-4 11th hole.

Expect to play with Americans:  In each of my four rounds, I was grouped exclusively with other Americans.  I asked one of my caddies if Americans make up the majority of visitors, and he said absolutely–probably about 85 percent of golfers are Yanks.

Take the train:  Every golf course I played was an easy walk from a train station.  In fact, Prestwick is literally right on the other side of the tracks from the train station.  For those visitors looking to do some big city visiting while in Scotland, I highly recommend staying in Glasgow and/or Edinburgh, then taking the train to the golf course.  Prestwick and Troon were about a 35 minute ride from Glasgow, while North Berwick was less than half an hour from Edinburgh.  Many of the other courses in the country are also next to a train station and an easy ride from a big city.

Did I try Haggis?:  Of course I did!  At multiple places.  For those who don’t know, Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish described by Wikipedia as “a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach.”  Sounds gross you say?  Wrong!  It’s freaking delicious, especially with some well prepared neeps and tatties.

What to expect on this blog in the future:  I’ll get back into my USA frame of mind by writing a quick U.S. Open Preview later this week.  After that, I’ll surely write detailed reviews of the four courses I played in Scotland, plus a few more in-depth posts about some of the highlights and lowlights of my Scotland trip.

-AB

 

 

Preview: A week in Scotland

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I’ve got my passport, a little cash, and some light reading for my plane flight.  I’m ready for Scotland.

My wife loves Coldplay.  That’s why I’m golfing in Scotland next week.  Allow me to explain.

My wife found out a while back that Coldplay would be touring in Europe this summer.  She explained to me how desperately she wanted to see them live.  I rolled my eyes at the thought of flying from San Francisco to Europe to see a concert, and told her she had no shot with Chris Martin anyway (that’s Coldplay’s lead singer).  But, being the all-around great guy that I am, I said we’d try to find a way to make it happen.  It occurred to me that we were already planning a trip to Boston at the beginning of June for a wedding, so it made sense to see if Coldplay was playing anytime the following week and, if they were, hop over the pond for an extended vacay.

So I checked tour dates.  Sure enough, Coldplay had a concert on their European tour scheduled for June 7…

In Glasgow.

My internal golf sensors exploded.  I now had an excuse to hit the links in Scotland.  So an agreement was easily reached with my wife:  I’d go see Coldplay with her, but have free rein to golf the rest of the time.  It was a win-win.

Like any avid golfer, I’ve been yearning to tee it up in the home of golf ever since I can remember.  I’ve read all about the great courses there, and I come accross stories and blog posts all the time about others who have ventured to Scotland for a golfing trip.  I’ll now be one of the lucky ones.

Read on to see my itinerary:

Continue reading Preview: A week in Scotland