Scotland: October 8-15, 2017

Web Sites:

North Berwick Golf Links www.northberwickgolfclub.com
Muirfield Golf Club www.muirfield.org.uk
Castle Course in St. Andrews www.standrews.org.uk
Carnoustie Golf Links www.carnoustiegolflinks.co.uk
Old Course in St. Andrews www.standrews.org.uk
Kingsbarns Golf Links www.kingsbarns.com
 

 

North Berwick Golf Links
The 13th oldest golf club in the world, North Berwick is second only to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews for continuous play over the same course. The West Links was originally 6 holes, with a 7th added before it was extended to 18 holes in 1877. One of the most natural links in the world, North Berwick may not be the longest of courses at 6,420 yards but rest assured that successful navigation requires the full repertoire of shot making. The course itself has been described as being from a primitive age, a statement that must not be perceived as taking anything away from its undeniable quality. The simple fact is that North Berwick has to a large extent evolved naturally with little assistance from mankind, a fact reflected in the name of the principle course architect - Mother Nature herself. Each hole on this stimulating links, which regularly hosts final qualifying for the British Open, poses different tests of judgement and skill. A unique golfing experience, North Berwick boasts blind holes, spectacular views, drives over walls and burns and bunkers deep enough for golfers to disappear from view. Many holes have been copied by designers all over the world; most commonly the 376-yard, 14th, named "Perfection" and the 192-yard 15th hole called "Redan", which has been replicated in both Pebble Beach and Shinnecock Hills.
          
Castle Course in St. Andrews
The Castle Course is the first new tournament standard golf course to be built in St Andrews in close to 100 years. This cliff-top wonder is the result of a David McLay Kidd design, offering spectacular shots, including teeshots from some 80 feet above the St Andrews Bay. The newest member of the St. Andrews golf course family opened at the end of June 2008, and Kidd, the award-winning architect of Bandon Dunes in Oregon, has incorporated five sets of tees, wider fairways and bigger greens to compensate for the exposed nature of the cliff-top site. Along with a challenging golf layout, visitors will certainly be awed by the Castle Course's fantastic views of the town of St Andrews.
 
Muirfield Golf Club
Golf was first played at Muirfield in 1891 on 16 holes laid out by Old Tom Morris which was extended to 18 holes for the Open the following year. Restricted by stone walls that completely surrounded the course, the original layout occupied 117 acres. The turf was good in places but there were areas of sandy wasteland and some of the lower points were waterlogged. Over a period of thirty years, the land was drained and the sandy areas were seeded and cultivated.
 
Carnoustie Golf Links
The game of golf has been played in Carnoustie for well over four centuries. The first indication that the game was being played in the Angus town can be found in the Parish Records of 1560 when the game of gowff was mentioned and there is every indication that the game has played an important part in the town’s life ever since.

 
Old Course in St. Andrews
The Old Course at St. Andrews is a must for all avid golfers, who should make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. While it is one thing getting the opportunity to play here, it is quite another to make the occasion a memorable one in scoring terms. Every virgin Old Course golfer finds that in addition to pitting their wits against the course, the none-too-slight elements of history, reputation, aura and self-determination all contrive against a low return. As the legendary Robert the Bruce said to his troops at the battle of Bannockburn "I have brought you to the ring, now you must dance". In the absence of wind, the Old Course can actually play quite easy but the overpowering sense of awe that one feels when standing on the first tee will certainly equalise matters. And while each hole is both a pleasure and an unforgettable experience to play, some of the finest on the Old Course include the 1st, 11th, 14th and 17th holes. Quite apart from the degree of difficulty, the first ball struck on the Old Course will probably prove to be the most shot nerve-wrenching shot that you will ever hit. One should steer the drive to the left hand side of the fairway, keeping the out of bounds on the right well out of play, while the long hitter must take care to avoid the burn, situated 260 yards from the tee. The second shot calls for a medium to long iron, depending on the wind and with the green almost at one with the burn, walk off with a par and it is a job well done. The par 4, 17th "Road Hole" is one of the most celebrated and feared holes in golf. Should you take the advised line over the "Black Sheds", your drive should be struck with a touch of draw and must carry at least 180 yards. And while the prudent second shot here would be to the front right corner of the green, for those who relish a challenge, great accuracy is required in order to avoid the road to the right and rear of the green and also the dreaded Road Hole Bunker. End up in the bunker though, and you may well experience both on your way to running up a nice score.
 
Kingsbarns Golf Links
Located directly on the North Sea coast only six miles from St. Andrews, Kingsbarns Golf Links is without doubt one of the most breathtaking courses in the world. Though it only opened for general play in July 2000, it is not untrue to say that the links appears to have been in existence for centuries as golf was played on this very site as far back as 1793. Kingsbarns Golf Links is a real one of a kind and contrasts with Scotland's other famous links courses in that it is a modern, man-made development. The significance of Kingsbarns was highlighted by Sir Michael Bonallack, five time British Amateur Champion and past captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, when he indicated that "Kingsbarns might well be one of the last true seaside links sites capable of development in Scotland".

With views of the ocean and the high tide foaming over the rocks below, one quickly realises that this links is special and while nothing can replace the Old Course at St Andrews, Kingsbarns Links is infinitely more scenic and is a worthy spiritual descendant of its historical neighbour. Despite its relative youth in golf course terms, Kingsbarns already plays annual host to the Dunhill Links Championship, which is played over three golf courses (the other two being the Old Course and Carnoustie Championship Links). And don't be too surprised when you hear the British Open and Kingsbarns mentioned in the same sentence. It's that good!



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