Scotland is the home of golf and some amazing golf travel values

April 08, 2008
David Brice, Golf International, Inc.

The Scots have never been known for their extravagant ways and thrifty is perhaps the most appropriate way to explain this side of the Scottish character. Nobody recognizes a bargain as quickly as a Scot and no other nationality has a greater appreciation for real value. As the place where golf was born over 600 years ago, it should come as no surprise that in this world of changing economic times and a US dollar that is not as strong as it once was, some of the best golf values are to be found in Scotland. Golfers take heart; a golf trip to the home of golf is still very much an affordable undertaking.

Making things even more attractive, the British Pound, which remains the currency of the British realm (Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland) has been much more dollar friendly than the Euro, the currency used by most other European countries. Confusing the two currencies gives a picture that is very misleading. Check on any foreign currency website and you will discover that in April of 2007, it took 1.99 US dollars to purchase one British pound, exactly the same rate of exchange as one year later, in April of 2008. And during the past week, there are definite signs the dollar is trending stronger against the British pound. Over-dramatizations by the news media with talk of a dollar that is tumbling, or in a free-fall, or some other melodramatic generalization, may grab headlines, but it's simply not the reality when it comes to the British pound.

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St. Andrews Old Course is a real possibility for participants on Golf International's St. Andrews special
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Royal Dornoch consistently ranks as one of the world's top links courses
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7 time British Open venue, Carnoustie - the toughest links in Britain
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The second at Gullane # 1 is a test to bewilder the best golfer
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North Berwick - an East Lothian treat, overlooked by too many visitors
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With 24 British Opens under its belt, Prestwick belongs on every visitor's must play list
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Western Gailes is an unsung hero of Scottish golf
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For a few ideas on how to incorporate Scottish bargains into your golf vacation,click here. Or call Golf International at 800.328.9898.

The only appreciable increase in the price of a golf trip to Scotland in 2008 compared to 2007 will be the normal, inflationary increases that apply to any business, but with Scottish inflation holding steadily around the 2-3% level, this is very nominal. So with the chances of a Scottish golf trip being too rich for your blood, reduced considerably, where are Scotland's very best golf travel values to be found? Truth is they are throughout the length and breadth of the home of golf, but in some places they are just extra special.

Any trip to Scotland that doesn't include The Scottish Highlands will be incomplete. Miss this dramatically beautiful part of the country, rich in spectacular golf and you will be missing out on the very essence of the real Scotland. Spend a full week here and you will return home with memories enough to last a lifetime and a newfound affection for one of the world's most charming small countries. Best of all for golfers, you will have experienced a sampling of some of golf's most highly regarded links courses, together with a couple of historic gems that rank among Scotland's top 50.

Golf International offers a weeklong stay at a first-class, golfers hotel in the delightful town of Nairn and 5 rounds of conveniently located, championship golf on a selection of the regions very best layouts. Included is the world renowned links at Royal Dornoch, Nairn Championship Course, the stunning links designed by James Braid at Brora and a true Highland classic, Tain Golf Club, a masterpiece from the most famous of those late 19th century golf architects, Old Tom Morris, together with the highly respected, Nairn-Dunbar Links. Total cost, including a car rental for the week, is less than $2,300 per golfer.

For any who may warm to the idea of combining visits to whisky distilleries and historic, centuries old castles, together with golf, the area surrounding the city of Aberdeen area makes the ideal base. Taking one of the most golfer friendly hotels as a base, complete with lively bar and an award winning restaurant, the golf menu offered by Golf International is no less impressive.

Golf is included on Royal Aberdeen, host to the 2002 Senior British Open and as tough a links as exists, neighboring Murcar Golf Club, which some consider even more demanding and Cruden Bay, a links delight, sought out by more connoisseurs of the game than any other. Rounding out this very special golf offering are two genuine hidden gems that can only delight. Fraserburgh, the world's 7th oldest golf club and an astonishing links where golf has been played since 1613 and finally, Peterhead, an inspiring example of classic, Scottish seaside golf that will be a thriller for even the most accomplished golfer.

And for those non-golfing hours, this area has a wealth of sightseeing opportunities, including more ancient castles than any other region and whisky distilleries galore, many located within a half hour drive of the hotel. Total cost, including a car rental, for this weeklong extravaganza of superb golf, castles and whisky, is just $2,350 per golfer.

St. Andrews is an irresistible attraction for any golfer and Golf International offers a bargain week to this Mecca as well, staying for 6 nights in a delightful, small hotel, located just 10 minutes walk from the fabled Old Course itself.

The golfing banquet includes 7 time British Open host, Carnoustie, reputedly the toughest course in Britain, ranked number 4 in Scotland; St. Andrews New Course, ranked number 21 in all Scotland and the most demanding of all links courses in town, including The Old Course. Don't worry; all participants will be balloted for The Old Course on each of the 6 days they are in St. Andrews, maximizing their chances of playing the grand old lady.

Other, Top 50 links courses to be played from St. Andrews includes a trio of centenarians, packed with history and each as awesome as the others -- Crail Balcomie Links, considered the Prince of Scottish links, Lundin Links, an Old Tom Morris classic, used as a British Open qualifier and one of Scotland's most welcoming golf clubs. As a grand finale, Montrose, a windblown monster where golf has been played for over 400 years and as wicked a test of links golf, as you will ever play. A fitting end to a week's worth of top-flight golf and all for an amazing price of under $2,900 per golfer.

One of Scotland's most under-rated golf regions, which also happens to be one of the country's major contributors to the history of the game, is East Lothian, a tiny county located just outside of the capital of Edinburgh. This is where you will find Muirfield, one of Scotland's premiere links layout and home to the very exclusive, Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. The famous 3 links layouts at Gullane are located just next door and only a further 10-minute drive, North Berwick West Course, a stunning ancient links that has been impersonated by golf architects the world over. Ranked among the 100 Best Courses Outside the USA in Golf Digest Magazine's 2007 ratings, North Berwick is a golf enigma that remains unfamiliar to visiting Americans. But East Lothian is filled with over 20 top-drawer layouts that manage to fly under the radar of most visitors.

Spend 6 nights in the heart of East Lothian's golf paradise where most courses will be little than 10 minutes away and play 5 of the best. Craigielaw provides an excellent introduction to links golf in the area and although this impressive track is barely 10 years old, the prevailing feeling is that of a grand old links that has been here for centuries. Each layout that follows is used as a British Open qualifying course, attesting to the uncommonly high caliber of golf in East Lothian. Dunbar Golf Club is a genuine piece of 150 year-old golf history that still ranks alongside the best. Designed by Old Tom Morris with 14 holes running alongside the beach, the layout contains every links defense in the book, together with a few that are not.

Gullane # 1 is the best of the 3 excellent championship layouts in this golfing village of the same name and presents one of the region's most serious examinations of links abilities. Also included is Luffness New, which despite its name, is another character-filled, century-old links from the designing mind of Tom Morris. Topping out a very challenging week of golf, the world renowned, North Berwick West Course. The guaranteed, bargain basement price for this week-long extravaganza, including hotel accommodation, car rental and 5 rounds of extraordinary golf, just $2,468 per golfer.

Scotland's west coast, also has its share of values and Golf International has put together a gem of a one week package using the golfing town of Troon as a base, staying in a delightful small, but decidedly first class hotel that also boasts a top rate restaurant. The attractive golfer price of $2,763 includes 5 rounds on courses, again ranked among the country's top 50, headed by 24 time British Open venue, Prestwick Golf Club, one of Scotland's most historic links. Western Gailes, the unsung hero of the region and a magnificent links deserving of far more attention than it receives. Also included are Glasgow Gailes, Irvine Bogside, and the thoroughly charming Tom Morris links at West Kilbride.

Not only does Scottish golf remain an honest to goodness value, even in 2008, it's a downright bargain. Best to snap-up the bargains while they last and before those thrifty Scots realize they are practically giving the house away. For more information on these Scottish golf travel bargains and more, click here.

©2008 David Brice / Golf International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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