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Scotland, birthplace of modern golf

 

The Ailsa Course is Turnberry’s famous Open Championship course
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"Links” was the old Anglo-Saxon word for coastal grasslands whose short blades covered sandy soil between the beach and arable areas. Wind, rain and demanding rough areas make links courses in Scotland tough for even the best golfers.

St. Andrews is arguably the most famous golfing area in Scotland, with its links dating back to before 1574. The iconic Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews was established in 1754 and the Old Course is universally known as the Home of Golf. Both the courses and the British Golf Museum in St. Andrews are popular attractions.

Turnberry was the first purpose-built golfing resort in Britain with exacting links courses which have hosted professional tournaments since 1908. Greywalls is another popular golfing retreat, bordering the historic links at Muirfield and close to many championship golf courses including Gullane, Archerfield, Luffness, North Berwick and Renaissance.

Although some of the more elite courses have expensive green fees, VisitBritain’s Philip Riddle says that Scottish golf is for the “common man”. Riddle was in charge of the 2010 Homecoming Scotland campaign which focused heavily on golf. “We have the best golf courses in the world but we encourage people to look beyond the best ones,” he says. “There are island courses, municipal courses and Edinburgh has some of the best value courses with fantastic views for just $25 a round, compared to $400 at St. Andrews, for example.”

Many Scottish golf courses also broaden their appeal by attracting beginners. And, with the scenic backdrop of lush landscapes, quaint villages and local pubs and restaurants, Scotland also offers golf trips combined with fishing, culinary and cultural activities. “There is so much compressed into Scotland all within a relatively small area. You could be shopping in Glasgow in the morning, playing a world-class golf course in the afternoon like Loch Lomond, then staying on an island and having dinner in the evening with no-one around,” Riddle explains.

 

Other prominent Scottish golf clubs include:

 

  • Prestwick Golf Club, Ayrshire which recently celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first Open Championship held there in 1860.
  • Royal Troon founded in 1878 now has three challenging courses and a rich background in Championship golf history
  • Trump International Golf Links, Aberdeen – currently under construction, due to open first 18 holes July 2012 and will eventually include luxury hotel, homes, spa, tennis, equestrian center, restaurants and retail.