Bucket List Open Rota Itineraries

 In Golf & Travel

Every year when you tune in to watch the Open Championship, you probably hear the phrase “Open Rota” thrown around. This phrase refers to the rotation of courses that host the UK’s annual major championship. In addition to St. Andrews’ Old Course, which regularly hosts The Open approximately every 5 years, there are a collection of other courses which the R&A selects to host the tournament intermittently, and cumulatively they make up the Open Rota. In all, 14 different courses have hosted the world’s oldest major championship, including 10 which make up the current Rota. With these courses spread across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, you obviously can’t play them all in one trip, but here are six great itineraries to consider as you get started checking them off of your bucket list:

St. Andrews. Scotland’s crown golfing jewel, St. Andrews, is affectionately called the Home of Golf to honor its ties to the origins of the game. The town is actually home to Scotland’s oldest university but it is its famous golf courses that have shaped its identity. Of course, history is integral to the experience. However, recent modern developments like Kingsbarns and Dunbarnie have elevated the St. Andrews area to new heights.

  • St. Andrews – Old 🏆
  • Carnoustie – Championship 🏆
  • Kingsbarns
  • Dumbarnie
  • St. Andrews – New

Ayrshire. Scotland’s most concentrated collection of Open venues is actually in the country’s southwest, including the championship’s first host Prestwick, as well as its most sumptuous, Turnberry. You won’t have to travel far from a home base in Troon to play just about as much links golf as your heart desires.

  • Royal Troon – Old 🏆
  • Turnberry – Ailsa 🏆
  • Prestwick 🏆
  • Western Gailes
  • Dundonald

Northern Ireland. Home to just 2 million people, Northern Ireland punches above its weight in the world of golf. With major champions and championship links venues alike, golf has become an integral part of the county’s identity. Juggernauts Royal County Down and Royal Portrush share the limelight, but next to each are a few other coastal gems that shouldn’t be missed.

Royal County Down
  • Royal Portrush – Dunluce 🏆
  • Royal County Down – Championship
  • Portstewart – Strand
  • Castlerock
  • Ardglass

Northwest England. The most concentrated collection of championship links and Open venues in England can be found along the coast of the Irish Sea in the northwest part of the country. Birkdale, Lytham and Hoylake get most of the publicity, but it’s the under the radar gems like Hillside and Formby that help the area stand out as one of the world’s best stretches of links golf.

Royal Liverpool
  • Royal Birkdale 🏆
  • Royal Lytham and St. Annes 🏆
  • Royal Liverpool 🏆
  • Formby
  • Hillside

The Lothians. Less than an hour east of Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh lies some of the country’s most historic and beautiful golfing real estate, highlighted by Muirfield and North Berwick. This trip is ideal for those looking to see the fascinating city of Edinburgh AND play some of Scotland’s best and most famous links.

  • Muirfield 🏆
  • North Berwick
  • Gullane – No.1
  • Archerfield – Fidra
  • Musselburgh 🏆

Southeast England. The 149th Open Championship is set to be staged at Royal St. Georges this week and those looking for world-class links golf who also fancy a visit to one of the world’s greatest cities, London, should probably have this itinerary at the top of their list. The town of Sandwich is surrounded by three great links courses, including this week’s Open-host, and several other fine links can be found along the English Channel just a couple of hours from London.

  • Royal St. Georges 🏆
  • Royal Cinque Ports 🏆
  • Princes 🏆
  • Rye – Old
  • Littlestone

🏆 = Open Host