Without a doubt THE hardest task in planning this trip was, other than the Old Course , deciding where else in Scotland to play golf that week. With so many great golf courses all within a “reasonable” drive from our home base in St. Andrews, the choices were plenty. Before continuing let me make one thing clear though – I did not want to spend hours on end in a car travelling to and from our golf destinations each day. that being said staying in St. Andrews did eliminate some courses that are just too far away for us to drive (Troon, Turnberry and Prestwick as examples). No worries though. I’m going to play those on a return trip to Scotland. Yeah I said it. Still even with all of that we were left with a very long list of distinguished golf courses to choose from. The question was – which ones and where to start?
Okay so the one prerequisite I had when selecting the courses was the desire to experience true seaside “links” golf. When in Rome right? Relax, I know we are in Scotland – it’s just a saying. I wanted to play on the types of courses I don’t get to play on at home. We’re travelling to St. Andrews Scotland so that’s pretty easy to accomplish. Check mark. That narrowed the choices down to around 75 possibilities. Seeing that we only had a week I started to realize this was going to be difficult task to get through. But I marched on. Another prerequisite was to play on some older, more historically significant courses. Yes the Old Course fits that bill, however I wanted more of the same that week. Double check mark. Well that helped to eliminate a few more from the list. Not helping! Still pretty long. Oh and if that wasnt enough if there’s an opportunity to play any of the courses on the R&A Open Championship rotation, that too would add to the madness. Triple check mark. Somebody throw me a line,I’m drowning here. I had just 6 days of golf and needed to select 6 courses to play. That’s like putting a kid in a toy store and telling him to select just one toy. Its impossible! Time to buckle down and figure it out or better yet hit the lottery and plan a much longer stay in St. Andrews. Suffice to say I did not hit the lottery.
And so I began this laborious task, and yes it was difficult. Interestingly as hard as it was, I actually was enjoying it. I was after all planning a trip to St. Andrews right? The “research” was giving me a personal history lesson on the country and courses we were to visit. I learned much. Some nice information nuggets to break out while sitting around the clubhouses post round and conversing. Maybe even getting someone to say “dude, you’re wicked smaaaaaaaaht!” (that’s a Boston accent if case you’re wondering). So after much reading, hours of online searches, orbiting my way through Goggle Earth for days on end, many conversations and email communications with Keith, the golf itinerary was just about set. Once I received the confirmation letter from the St. Andrews Links Trust that our Old Course application was approved (yes we had to apply for it) the remaining rounds were selected, booked and paid for this past October. We now had our golf journey all planned. It is as follows:
- Day 1 – Crail – Balcomie and Craighead Courses
- Day 2 – Carnoustie Championship Course
- Day 3 – Gullane Golf Club – #1 and #2 Courses
- Day 4 – North Berwick Golf Club
- Day 5 – The Castle Course, St. Andrews
- Day 6 – The Old Course, St. Andrews
You can read a brief description of each course and our daily literary on the individual day tabs under the Golf Itinerary tab above.