Chapter 4 – Scotland Golf Journey

Did you know Scotland has the most golf courses in the world – over 550!!!! Followed closely behind by Ireland with over 300.

Wow – what a Scottish journey we have had over the last two weeks! Starting from the north of Scotland – we played Royal Dornach, Castle Stuart, and Nairn. Then off to the St. Andrews area where we played Lundin Links, Kingsbarns, the Castle Course and the Old Course. The final stretch was south east of Edinburgh at the Renaissance Club and North Berwick. What a ride of spectacular courses!!

Royal Dornach was a special treat – views were stunning which we didn’t think could be matched until we played North Berwick! These are two courses we definitely want to come back to.

We felt The Old Course at St Andrews stands on its own from all the courses we played. Could it be because it is the oldest course in the world, over 500 years old, and where every great golfer in history has played? There are no words to describe the feeling of playing this course!

A few fun facts about the Old Course:

  • “Hell’s Bunker” on the 14th hole used to be 17 feet deep before they added more sand to it to make it easier to get out of (now its only 10 feet deep – we don’t think it made it easier at all! Ha ha.
  • There are over 112 bunkers
  • The reason there are so many hidden bunkers is a number of the holes used to be played the other way around – greens used to be where the tee off area was and the tee off areas were where the greens were
  • On the crossover holes you can experience (and we did) in upwards of 24 golfers and caddies playing around each other – organized chaos!
  • One of our caddies was the longest employed caddy at The Old Course – 45 years!

The 19th hole at the Jigger Pub was a welcomed thirst quencher – as we were able to sit outside in the sun overlooking the 17th hole (the road hole)

Our next stop was at the Renaissance Club – even though the course didn’t rank in our top half (however, it is still good enough to host the Scottish Open this year) – the facility and service experience was incredible!! It was the first golf course where we were served appetizers from a silver tray as we came off the 7th hole and then a self-serve/no-charge halfway house after the 10th hole (open bar and food) – crazy stuff!!! And the finale was being greeted by the golf course manager as we finished our puts on the 18th hole!

When we weren’t playing golf, which was only two days, we took advantage of having a vehicle and toured around as much of Scotland as we could.

We drove to the most northern tip of mainland Scotland to a quaint and rustic area called John O’Groats. We hiked in gale force winds to see the northern coastline and the stunning sea stacks. This is also where we first noticed “black sheep”! They are the most precious and expensive of the sheep – there is a reason for the saying we all use.

Our second golf free day was spent wondering aimlessly around St. Andrews in the sun – visiting the ruins of the oldest Cathedral in Scotland, St. Andrews Castle, and the University of St. Andrews. Of course, we developed thirsts which needed to be quenched by having a few pints in some of the outside patios pubs.

Our final golf day in Scotland was at North Berwick. Fran played her best round of the trip including making a great shot off of the beach which is in play on the course. North Berwick is a must play for anyone travelling here. Now we are off to Edinburgh for a few days of relaxation and visiting relatives and writing the final chapter of our blog.

The Scottish golf courses are amazing – here is our rating from best to not quite the best:

  1. Royal Dornach
  2. North Berwick
  3. Kingsbarns
  4. Castle Stuart
  5. St. Andrews Castle Course
  6. Lundin Links
  7. Renaissance Club
  8. Nairn

St. Andrews Old Course stands on its own as a must play for any golfer – at least once in their lifetime!

Total steps walked on the golf courses – 117,973
Total number of golf holes played – 162
Total golf balls lost – 20
Total number of pints consumed on the 19th hole – 18+
Total number of visits to the dentist – 0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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  • Scotland looks stunning! Golfing the Old Course must have been so surreal. Top of every Golfer’s Bucket List! You should frame that picture of you two on the Swilken Bridge!!! I was actually hoping Steve would be golfing in his kilt, especially on a windy day! Then we would know once and for all: The Scotsman’s Secret!! Thank You for sharing your AMAZING Golf Trip with us!!

    May 4, 2019 at 12:04 am
  • Jim Staunton

    Good on you two! Dornach stands as one of my all time favorites, as is Kingsbarns.
    Hope to see you both in Lewiston. We can play and Susan can garden.

    May 5, 2019 at 12:09 am
  • Sandy K

    Amazing itinerary. I look forward to hearing more details about the courses and the weather and the driving and the people and the towns and the…… Enjoy Edinburgh and safe travels home.

    May 6, 2019 at 4:19 am

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