katbird, on 02 August 2016 - 06:32 AM, said:
I'm not a card-carrying golf club member....just a life-time muniman who loves the game. I decided this year to go to Scotland and will include a few rounds there just like here, driving down a few fairways during my 3 week stay driving through beautiful country. I chose to go there in Autumn because we have no such weather here in Florida, USA, and THAT is as much a draw as is the history and culture I visit. A morning or afternoon round during a day of sightseeing there is an extra bonus quite specific to Scotland from where I'll bring back memories of the unique experience of Scottish munis there.
I'm traveling solo and have decided to stay in Airbnb homes (my 1st experience) since I'll be out on the road virtually all day and night....no need for hotels that would see so little of me. I've selected four area "base camps" from which I can get most anywhere in a couple of hours of an interesting drive. I like such road trips.
The itinerary takes me south of Glasgow for a few days where I'll play muni links in Ayr, Girvan, Troon and Prestwick St. Nicholas. From Ayr I head north to central Scotland and Aviemore for a nice tour of the Highlands and just 15 minutes from Boat of Garten, a highly recommended parkland course.
I'll be staying a few days in Golspie, where Donald Ross got his start (who has a major roadway named for him here in Palm Beach County). There I'll play Golspie, Brora and Tain, and midway through the scenic drive to the far north I'll drive out and in on the 9-hole Durness Golf Club. Heading back south I'll play an interesting muni I found in Hopeman.
My last stop is near Stirling for access to the lower Highlands, Fife and Edinburgh. After a weekend of jazz and blues in Callendar, I'll play Aberdour on the north side of the Firth across from Edinburgh, Braid Hills in Edinburgh, (James Braid THE Scot designer alongside Donald Ross and old Tom Morris), and perhaps one other.
I don't know if I'll get to play all of these courses given how much there's to do and see in Scotland, even in three weeks. Still, that's about 8-10 rounds in 22 days. All munis. Interestingly most are described as "short" and that works great for me, a short hitter who relies on a good greenside game to shoot his 90 H.C.
Many of the clubs neighbor more famous courses that are recommend here, I know, but those (Prestwick, Royal Troon, Royal Dornoch, The Old Course and its kin, Kingbarns, and North Berwick) are 2x-3x the price and while well worth the fee, golf is not THE destination of my vacation...but playing authentic links golf is a real bonus that will provide many fond memories when I get home. It's a vacation balanced between dives through nature, drinks at pubs, and drives down fairways. Can't wait to get there.
@Katbird, I have picked up very late on this (sorry), and you may already be traveling. However I've asked Kieran, one of our team who is based in St Andrews and very knowledgeable on Scottish golf, for his tips for your trip; especially around unearthing lesser known gems. Here is his advice...
"That’s a great selection of courses you’ve already picked out for the three weeks. Starting south of Glasgow, all of those municipals in and around Troon are excellent, but you could add a couple within the city itself. Williamwood and Cowglen are both James Braid designs that are playable and reasonably priced, which would complement what you’ve already chosen.
During your time in the Highlands, Brora, Tain and Golspie are all excellent, but I would recommend stopping at Fortrose and Rosemarkie, which is a really unique spot, before you reach Hopeman, which is a fine course, most famous for the par three. You may also consider playing one of the two courses just along the road at Moray, or even Grantown on Spey, which is similar in nature to Boat of Garten and always popular with visitors.
When you come back south towards Stirling, I would recommend playing Pitlochry Golf Club, which is a spectacular layout in the Highlands of Perthshire. It does require a bit of stamina to walk, but the views are breathtaking. When you pass through the city of Perth, there are two courses of interest; the North Inch municipal, which is one of the oldest in the world, and the Old Tom Morris designed King James VI, which is uniquely situated on an island in the River Tay.
If you’re looking for another course to play near Edinburgh, make it Kilspindie, which is near the village of Aberlady, less than 20 miles from the city. Short and sweet, this is one of the most enchanting of the links to be found in East Lothian. It’s tremendous fun to experience.
As for stuff to do around the golf, basing yourself near Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Stirling, there is so much to see. Rather than breaking things down individually, I would just recommend spending as much time as possible going around the cities and taking in the surroundings and culture, particularly in the bigger of the two. You’ll also discover a lot of the country when driving, with the road north and south taking you through the Highlands, but do make sure you stop at Loch Ness, which is a stunning and atmospheric place to spend some time."
Hopefully some good recommendations in there, many of which endorse the other comments and posts in this thread, so worth in investigating on your travels.
Have a great trip!! Guy