Scotland VS Ireland: Why Choose?
Scotland and Ireland are both bucket list golfing destinations. There is much discourse as to which is best and when it comes to choosing one over the other, well, that’s open to debate. What we know for sure is the depth of great golf in both countries is such that you could make double-digit trips to the British Isles, playing different courses each time, without ever hitting a dud.
There was passionate debate among the staff and tour hosts as to where we should go and what courses to play in both Scotland and Ireland. So we resorted to Guinness and Glenfiddich and a few late nights to come up with the ultimate bucket list tours to both destinations.
GOLF IN SCOTLAND
There is no denying Scotland takes the crown when it comes to pedigree. It is the holy land of golf. The Scots developed the game, created the rules, built the courses and nurtured the first architects and champions.
What makes it so unique is the land on which it is played. You go to Scotland to play on a ‘true’ Scottish links course. You go there to play one of the courses where history was created and where the temperamental wind and rain can embellish the challenge of hitting a small ball along ancient dunes covered with grass until it falls into a four and a quarter inch hole.
It would be difficult to find a more fitting golf destination than St Andrews. The name is synonymous to golfing royalty and you’ll find some of Scotland’s finest links courses on its doorstep. With spectacular surroundings of beaches and medieval architecture, it is a lively little town thriving with tourists and students going to the historic University of St Andrews and more pubs per square-feet than anywhere else in the UK.
Kingsbarns, eight miles away from St Andrews, is relatively young and more man-made than your average Scottish links. Yet it delivers a surreal, tiered amphitheater setting overlooking the sea. This modern layout is visually spectacular and tremendously fun to play. On a clear afternoon, you can often see across the North Sea to the small town of Carnoustie with its fearsome championship course that has tested the game’s best players for decades.
And then, on our Scottish bucket list there is Turnberry, on the Atlantic, where we’ve picked the fantastic Ailsa course and the majestic Royal Troon. Our journey will take you to Loch Lomond where you’ll play the Carricks golf course.
GOLF IN IRELAND
When it comes to links golf, Ireland does pack a punch. For golfers, it doesn’t get any better than this. Ireland’s southwest is renowned for its string of links courses which stretch along the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Fashioned along windswept beaches and between high dunes, it takes you back to the game’s origins. There is nothing artificial here; just golf on foot, dictated by the natural landscape, the elements and the luck of the bounce.
Our Irish golf line-up is packed with the who’s who of links layouts. There’s the Alister MacKenzie classic – Lahinch, to the north, and embraces Ballybunion, Tralee, and the idyllic Waterville, on the Ring of Kerry to the south. And then there is the immaculate and awe-inspiring Old Head Golf Club, peering down on the ocean from 300-foot cliffs, on a peninsula which resembles a diamond earring in shape and quality.
THE SCOTLAND VS IRELAND LOWDOWN
Sure, you can choose to just go to Scotland or to Ireland, but something tells me it will be too hard to choose. We’ve hosted several tours to both Scotland and Ireland and while we might debate the merit of course inclusions, for lovers of golf and history, these tours are guaranteed to hit your sweet spot.
Start your journey in Ireland with a fully escorted 13-day golf tour that will see you play 6 rounds of magnificent links golf and much more.
Dates: 01 – 13 July 2017
Continue onto Scotland to walk in the shoes of Open Champions like Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson. It is a 13-day bucket list trip with 8 rounds of golf that will take you to St Andrews, the home of golf, Loch Lomond and Turnberry, and to Dundonald Links where you will experience the atmosphere of the final day at the 2017 Scottish Open.
Dates: 13 – 25 July 2017
Scottish Golf Links: A Cut Above the Rest