Make 2015 a memorable year - Book a golf outing with friends and ensure this is a year that you won’t forget
THE new season is fast approaching and here at Scottish Club Golfer, we know every golfer is itching to get back out on the course. Planning a golf trip with your mates is always a great way to get that excitement flowing and with such a fantastic array of courses covering the length and breadth of Scotland, we truly are spoiled for choice.
Starting in the Highlands, Cullen Golf Club is a traditional seaside links course that incorporates many blind shots. Offering great views of the coastline, Cullen Bay and beyond, its signature hole is the par-3 seventh and you can see almost every green on the course from that vantage point. Course management is key to shooting a good score here.
An hour’s drive along the A96 and you’ll come to Nairn Dunbar Golf Club. A traditional Scottish links course, it recently underwent a plan of continuous improvement to, in the club’s own words, turn it from a very good golf course into a great golf course. The club has played host to many national championships over the years including the Scottish Boys’ Championship in 2011.
Moving south, Grantown-on-Spey Golf Club was designed by Willie Park with assistance from James Braid. Situated in the Cairngorms National Park, the course is naturally split into three sections, with holes one to six played over flat parkland, holes seven to 12 played through moderately hilly woodland, and holes 13 to 18 reverting to undulating parkland.
Just outside of Aberdeen, you’ll find Craibstone Golf Club, which aims to offer a relaxing and enjoyable experience for members and visitors. The course was originally built in 1999 by the Scottish Agricultural College to an extremely high standard and provides the perfect balance between challenging and straightforward holes, making it ideal for golfers of all skill levels.
Downfield Golf Club is regarded as one of the finest inland layouts to be found anywhere in the UK and it is a club that has a lot going in its favour.
Set over beautiful rolling parkland, the course has played host to a number of prestigious tournaments over the years and offers a real challenge for golfers of all abilities.
Whether you’re just starting out in the game or are an experienced player, you will be tested here with water coming into play on no fewer than seven holes as well as no fewer than five tricky par-5s to contend with.
Originally laid out by Old Tom Morris and later redesigned by James Braid, the course at Forfar Golf Club is set on beautiful wooded heathland. The terrain is almost links-like with the undulating fairways lined by trees and lovely views towards the Angus Glens. There’s very little walking between the green and the next tee, too, so you can easily tackle this challenge twice in one day.
Situated not far St Andrews, Drumoig Golf Club is an 18-hole championship course that is a truly unforgettable adventure. The layout is very picturesque and combines a number of natural features, such as the old quarries surrounding the fifth and 13th greens and the specially created lochs forming boundaries to the ninth and tenth.
If you’re looking for a course near the capital, then Ratho Park may well be the one for you. Situated just 20 minutes from the city centre, it’s an easy-walking parkland course framed on both sides by the Union Canal. It’s completely encircled by trees, too, and therefore offers a challenge to all standards of golfer.
A short drive over to the south of the city and you’ll find Glencorse Golf Club. With views of the Pentland Hills and the lush green surroundings, your group will be guaranteed a warm welcome as it takes on this formidable but fun test of golf.
If it’s a nine-hole test you’re after, then there few better than Ross Priory Golf Club, situated on the south shore of Loch Lomond. Just 40 minutes drive to the north of Glasgow, this is a course that is good fun to play but not all that testing. Your group can also take in the stunning 17th century Ross Priory house that occupies the same land.
Glasgow Golf Club is the ninth oldest club in the world and is in the unusual position of two golf courses that are 35 miles apart. The Killermont course is just five miles from Glasgow city centre and is a manicured parkland layout that follows the original line of play laid out by Old Tom Morris in 1903. The Gailes Links course, on the other hand, is positioned on the Ayrshire coast and takes the form of a traditional links. It is currently one of the four hosts of the Open Qualifying Final Series and is a simply brilliant test.
Further down the Ayrshire coast, Stranraer Golf Club has the honour of being the final golf course designed by James Braid before his death. Sitting on the shores of Loch Ryan, the course is set on gently undulating ground and affords exceptional views over to Ailsa Craig, the Isle of Arran and beyond.
If you fancy going a bit further afield, a trip across the border into England may be the perfect solution.
Slaley Hall is an ideal destination for a golf trip in 2015, boasting two fantastic courses as well as a beautiful country house hotel. There’s plenty to experience both on and off the golf course.
Ramside Hall Hotel and Golf Club is another option to be considered. The Durham hotel boasts two championship courses - the Prince Bishops and the Cathedral - with both providing drama, enjoyment and excitement from the first tee to the final green.
So there you have it, a host of brilliant golf courses for both you and your group to consider. Now you just have to choose one.