By DAPHNE DUNPHY
Given that the game of golf was invented in Scotland in the 14th century, it seems only right that golf in Scotland benefits from having some of the world’s finest golf courses.
The area of Scotland with the highest concentration of golf courses of exceptional quality is Fife and Lothian. Whether you choose to stay in Edinburgh, Dundee, Kirkcaldy or one of the quaint Scottish villages round and about, you will not be far from some beautiful fairways and lovingly nurtured greens. The majority of large and well known golf courses have golf gift vouchers to offer – so it might be worth a look before you go.
Here are five of the very best courses that the region has to offer:
A long, tumultuous history has seen the golf course at Kingsbarns destroyed on two separate occasions; once by a farmer who sought to reap the value of the arable land, and again when the onset of the Second World War meant the land had to be turned to rough pasture. But the heritage of this land, which has been used for golf since 1793, only adds to its unique appeal and the course that was built on the land at the turn of the millennium has re-established Kingsbarns as one of the world’s finest golf courses. Golf Digest placed it at 18th in its list of the best golf courses outside the US, while Golf Week named it as the number one modern golf course within Britain and Ireland. This is a course no serious golfer would turn down the opportunity to play on.
Muirfield is not only one of Scotland’s oldest golf clubs, it is also one of the oldest clubs in world golf and played a crucial role in the origins of the sport that is played and loved by around 26 million players around the world. It was on March 7th 1744 that ‘The Gentleman Golfers’ of Edinburgh were presented with a silver club by the Town Council, granting them permission for annual competition on the condition that they drew up ‘proper regulations’. The Company of Edinburgh Golfers wrote the thirteen Rules of Play and the club’s first competition was won by John Rattray, a surgeon. The course has a unique character and hasn’t changed a great deal since 1936. But in the last three years, alterations have been made to bring it up to the standards that will challenge the world’s best golfers when they arrive at Muirfield for the Open Championship in 2013.
St Andrews (Old Course)
No other venue in the world has hosted The Open Championship as many times as St Andrews Old Course, and it also lays claim to being the place where golf was first played in the year 1400. Despite having played host to The Open for a 28th time in 2010, the Old Course remains open to the public, who can tread the same fairways and greens as the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros and Tiger Woods. In the words of Nicklaus himself: “There’s just no other golf course that is even remotely close.”
Often used as a final qualifying course for the Open Championship, Lundin Links Golf Club was founded on May 8th, 1868. Designed by the legendary James Braid, the course offers a challenge to the most seasoned pros with its demanding short par 4s and open burns. The course incorporates an internal out of bounds, strategic bunkering and holes that reward golfers with an eye for position rather than a swing for distance.
Located just minutes from the esteemed St Andrew Old Course and Carnoustie Golf Links, Scotscraig is dubbed ‘The World’s 13th Oldest Golf Club’ and is used in the final stages of qualifying for the open. The picturesque Scottish heathland setting, with sea breezes drifting over the course, makes Scotscraig an exhilarating round of golf. Perhaps the most challenging hole on the course is the 4th – a Par 4 named ‘Westward Ho’ that features a small plateau green that can only be accessed if players negotiate a fairway protected on one side by large revetted bunkers and a heathery terrain on the other.
As a graduate of English and History, Daphne Dunphy combines her creative streak and passion for the English language with her love for all things travel.