Reason #1 - Know Your History
You cannot contemplate the game of golf without acknowledging its genesis. Scotland is the birthplace of our beloved sport and is home to some of the greatest courses in the world. While in most areas of the globe golf is considered a bit of an elitist sport, here it is one of the national pastimes, as baseball is to the United States. St Andrews, Scotland is recognized worldwide as the “home of golf.” A coastal town, located in Fife, a short drive from Dundee, and 30 miles outside Edinburgh, St Andrews holds quite a bit of history. If you are in love with the game of golf, it is your duty to make a pilgrimage to Scotland.
The official historian of The World Golf Hall of Fame Dr. Tony Parker, who earned his PHD at St Andrews will be hosting Elite Golf Experience’s Epic Scotland Golf and History Tour October 8th – October 18th, 2018. Dr. Parker is the first member of the management committee for the St Andrews Golf Club not born in the British Isles in the first 170 years of it’s existence. Not only a member of St Andrews Golf Club and Thistle Club, Dr. Andrews developed a world class research center dedicated to the study of the history of golf at St Andrews University. A golf historians dream come true spending time with Dr. Parker you’ll get to dine at the St Andrews Club House. The experience continues as you take part in a farewell reception and Mini Burns Supper Experience hosted by the president of The Robert Burns Society.
Reason #2 – Saint Andrews is Golf’s Holy Land
The Old Course in St Andrews is considered a pilgrimage site among golf enthusiasts, professionals and amateurs alike. A traditional links course that dates back to the 1500’s and has been home to more Open Championships than any other course. It’s pretty amazing to note that this course has remained a public course, but over half the tee times each year are awarded by ballot to individuals with suitable handicaps (24 for men & 36 for women) who have been unable to obtain advanced bookings. Jack Nicklaus has praised the course as one of his favorites and went on to say that if a golfer expects to be remembered, he had better win here.
The Castle Course is the newest course at St Andrews, opening in 2008. With dramatic views across the North Sea, The Castle Course rests on a rugged cliff and is a great location for players looking for a challenge. The 17th hole has been rated the best par 3 in the U.K. by Today’s Golfer magazine. The clubhouse boasts even more spectacular views and is worth a stop during your visit.
Other top courses that you can tee off on are Gleneagles Golf Course, home of the 2018 Open Carnoustie Golf Links, and Kyle Phillips designed Kingsbarns Golf Links, a top 100 golf course in the world.
Reason #3 – Visit the Homes of Royalty.
Scone Palace has an exciting and colorful past as one of Scotland’s most important stately homes. The Palace was the crowning place of Scottish kings where Macbeth, Robert the Bruce and Charles II were once crowned.
Scone breathes history like nowhere else in Scotland. It is the family home of the Earls of Mansfield and the ancient crowning place of Scottish kings on the stone of Scone.
Scone Palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens and peaceful woodland, perfect for a gentle stroll or even a picnic - all under the watchful eye of the ever curious peacocks. There's a unique 'tartan' maze of 2,000 beech trees half green, half copper, designed by the world-famous Adrian Fisher. The maze was planted in the shape of the heraldic Murray Star.
Visit Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s greatest stone castles that’s an icon integral to how we understand the nation’s story. The castle peaked in importance in the 1500s, but its volcanic crag has been fortified since ancient times. The castle dominates the skyline for miles around, Stirling Castle is a shining example of Renaissance architecture. Visitors can look out from its high stone walls to the battlefields of Stirling Bridge where great medieval armies clashed to decide the fate of nations. Home to generations of Scottish monarchs including, Mary Queen of Scots, the Castle is an enduring and powerful reminder of Scotland’s fascinating history.
Reason #4 – Do You have a “Braveheart” and a Passion for Knowledge?
The National Wallace Monument is a tower standing on the shoulder of the Abbey Craig, a hilltop overlooking Stirling. It commemorates Sir William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero.
The monument is now a world famous landmarks, a reminder of Scotland's long and often bloody history.
The Wallace, as he is often known, is one of the most powerful, most evocative, and most well recognized figures from Scottish history. It is a fair bet that today his name is better known worldwide than most, if not all, of Scotland's monarchs.
Experience the history and heritage of St Andrews University. Founded in the 15th century, St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. Teaching began in the community of St Andrews in 1410, and the University was formally constituted by the issue of a papal bull in 1413. The university occupies historic and modern buildings located throughout the whole town of St Andrews.
Reason #5 – Scotch, Anyone?
One simply does not think of Scotland not think of the vast array of scotch whiskies they should be imbibing. While in Scotland you must find time to visit a distillery or two. What began as “uisge beatha” or “water of life,” has evolved over the years into one of the most complex and elegant spirits. It is an acquired taste, much easier to acquire when you have the right bottle placed in front of you. Scotch improves with age, much like a fine wine, so if a taste of a 1950’s scotch comes your way be sure to savor every drop.
The Macallan is the most popular scotch whisky in the world and is the single malt scotch against which all others are measured against. Their use of unique small stills allows for maximum contact with the copper, which helps to develop their unique flavor profile. These stills are so famous they have even been on banknotes of the Bank of Scotland. Perhaps the most important component in the development of the world’s most recognized single malt scotch are the exceptional oak casks. These casks are responsible for the evolution of flavor, color, aroma and quality of the spirit after it leaves the stills. Therefore, The Macallan spends more than any other distillery on the sourcing, crafting, seasoning and caring for its casks.
The Glenlivet, also located in Speyside, was founded in the 1800s. At this time there was a whisky smuggling epidemic with over 200 distilleries located in the glen this distillery calls home. A visit to The Glenlivet will literally walk you through history as you travel the path bootleggers would take. Enjoy a tasting featuring seven samples and learn about the tumultuous history of one of the world’s most refined spirits.
Reason #6 – Live Like Royalty
Scotland is filled with exclusive resorts and dining options. Five star luxury stays can be found in Gleneagles Hotel Golf Course and Spa, the five star Principles Hotel, and five star Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa. Traditional Scottish dining experiences coupled with exquisite French cuisine can be found all over the country. For an unforgettable, two Michelin-starred dining experience, request a table at Andrew Fairlie. The Strathearn offers classic silver service with a touch of Gleneagles glamour, and the Birnam Brasserie serves French-American dishes using the best local Scottish produce.
Scotland is a trip every lover of golf must make. History, golf, and luxury experiences are everywhere to be found in Scotland.