5 Aside: My Favorite Days in Scotland

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I always stress that the best golf trips are full of both great golf AND great experiences. You get the best of both during my favorites days in Scotland:

Urquhart Castle

The Scottish Highlands: the best of Scotland in a day. Visitors flock to Scotland for a few things: golf, whisky, scenery, and castles. Why not experience them all in a day?

  • Start with a round at Royal Dornoch’s Championship Course, one of the world’s greatest links courses located in a timeless setting along the Moray Firth.
  • After lunch, head just south to Tain to taste some world-renowned whisky at the Glenmorangie Distillery, which is located alongside the Moray Firth and notably home to Scotland’s tallest stills.
  • This afternoon it’s time to head further south to the waters of Loch Ness to search for Nessie and take in the stunning scenery before ending with a visit to Urquhart Castle.
  • Finally, its time to return to Dornoch for dinner at the Links House, one of the Highlands best fine-dining experiences.

A day at the Home of Golf.  There are a few things that you simply have to do while in St. Andrews.

  • Begin the day early at the starters pavilion at St. Andrew’s famous Old Course to get your name at the top of the stand-by list. You’ll mingle with a variety of passionate golfers from all over the globe who are hoping to score a tee time on the world’s most famous links.
  • After golf, head across the street for a historical journey back to the origins of the game at the British Golf Museum, which is home to Britain’s greatest golf collection.
  • This afternoon, work on your putting touch at the Old Tom Morris- designed Himalayas putting course, before heading to the town’s most famous bar, the Jigger Inn, for a pint or two.
  • Finally, this evening will feature dinner overlooking the Old Course’s 17th at the Old Course Hotel’s Road Hole Restaurant, before a sampling of some of Scotland’s finest single malts at the Road Hole Bar.

Islay: smoky single malts and a wee bit of golf. For whisky drinkers who play golf (as opposed to golfers who drink whisky), Islay should be at or near the top of your list for your Scotland adventure. You’ll ferry out to the far west of Scotland and you may never leave!

  • Before the whisky tasting begins, we start the day with a round at the Machrie Golf Links, an old-fashioned 19th century design that is amongst Scotland’s great old links with memorable views across Laggan Bay.
  • Next, the whisky starts with lunch and a tour at Ardbeg. Like all Islay whiskies, the Ardbeg single malt is very, very peaty, so it will be a quick dive into what whisky in the area is all about. Depending on time of day and the group’s “thirst” level, both Lagavulin and Laphroaig are nearby and offer tours and tastings of some of the world’s best peated whisky. And if that isn’t enough, Islay is home to nine total working distilleries all just a short drive from the Machrie.
  • Since we are at least pretending like this is a golf trip, a fun way to spend the evening – before dinner and a stay at the Machrie Hotel – is on the Wee Links, a 6-hole course with a variety of tees and plenty of fun.

The Honourable things to do in Lothian. Home to Scotland’s capital city and one of it’s most historic golf clubs, Lothian has plenty to check off of you bucket list in a day.

  • This morning, head east from Edinburgh for a round at Muirfield, home to the world’s oldest golf club and a 16-time Open Host.
  • After golf, it’s time for the famous clubhouse lunch. Coat and tie is required but it’s integral to the Muirfield experience.
  • An additional round of afternoon fourballs is a popular option, but to make the most of the day we will head back to Edinburgh to tour the Royal Mile, including Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, before a Taste of Scotland at the Scotch Whisky Experience.

In stark contrast along the Ayrshire Coast. Other than being located in Ayrshire and each having hosted the Open Championship (almost 30 time between them!), Prestwick and Turnberry couldn’t be more different. That is precisely why together they comprise Scotland’s ultimate day of golf.

  • Start at Prestwick Golf Club for a round on perhaps the most hallowed grounds in Scotland outside of St. Andrews. The quirky layout is unique and filled with tales from the past.
  • For the true Prestwick experience, next is lunch in the member’s Dining Room followed by plenty of time to explore the relics and treasures throughout the clubhouse.
  • Finally, it’s time to head south for an altogether different and luxurious experience with 18 holes on Turnberry’s Ailsa Course. The dazzling stretch of holes around the turn is iconic, with the signature lighthouse and distant Ailsa Craig headlining the show.