After watching Tiger Woods win his first British Open at Scotlands St. Andrews, the acknowledged birthplace of golf does there live and breath a golfer who did not say the themselves, I've got to get to Scotland. But we know that the lament of so many golfers is "so many golf courses, so little time". So if your timing is quite right this fall, let Golf Chicago! take you there this fall on the internet. Golf Chicago! is taking 10 days to visit some of the best known and some of the lesser known (but sometimes better) courses just to give our readers a real feel for golf where it all began. So lets just call this the www.eGolfChicago.com e-tour of Scotland. Heres how its all going down:
Beginning on September 8 log on to www.eGolfchicago.com for daily reports and photos of the Golf Chicago! 2000 Tour of Scotland. We will be sending back daily updates of the courses played, pubs visited, where we stay overnight, single malt distilleries visited and all the other little unexpected adventures that can pop up at almost any moment in Scotland. If you want to ask questions or just provide comments or suggestions just log on to join in on the fun. Since there is a six hour time difference we won't be doing any real time correspondence, but we will respond to all e-mails that are received.
Our Golf Chicago! 2000 Tour of Scotland begins with a non-stop flight on American Airlines, the only U.S. airline that flies directly to Glasgow. From there a short drive northeast takes in the region known as Perthshire on the very southern edge of the Scottish Highlands. This is home to Gleneagles a trio of courses that many consider the most beautiful in all of Scotland. We wont be staying at the famous Gleneagles resort, but rather at a much smaller and elegant hotel nearby simply called The Royal Hotel. This should be a very auspicious start for us. But we also intend top check out the nearby course at Auchterarder, which some call the poor mans Gleneagles. Well give you a full report on the website.
From Perthshire well stay north of Glasgow and start our golfing journey westward. The next stop will be the Kintyre Peninsula a drive of about four hours taking us to the southern tip of the peninsula and the course at Machrihanish. For some this a most fabled course, cherished for its remoteness, isolation and the sense of being one with the sea and the land. The first hole, a drive across a beach below the golfers is one of the most dramatic openers in the world. Oh, and the distillery at Campeltown, nearby is also highly regarded.
From Marhrihanish the journey westward continues to the Isle of Islay ( eye-luh) for the probably the most remote course in the world, Machrie. A ferry takes us there from Kintyre. If youre a golfer on Islay is because of Machrie since there are no other courses on the island. But it will be worth it. This is a totally unique and sometimes quirky course, with at least 12 holes having blinds tee shots, and sometimes again on the second shot. Well surely take a caddie here. For true lovers of potent single malt Scotch whisky the names Bowmore and Lagavulin create instant longing and both are made on this remote island. We do intend to visit these seaside malt meccas.
After Machrie a re-tracing of our steps takes place until we land/drive to the west coast of Scotland for some more outstanding golf. Prestwick in Ayrshire has our reservations as does Western Gailles. The former is probably better known to Americans, it held the first British Open in 1860, though it opened in 1850! Some call this course a loveable antique for it quaint and yes, probably antiquated design. But we dont know anyone who didnt have a great time there. Western Gailles, just a little to the north of Prestwick, though less well known is still considered a premier links course on the Firth of Clyde and were looking forward to playing it for the first time.
After Prestwick and Western Gailles, its back to Glasgow, but the golf isnt over quite yet. In the hills above Glasgow in Renfrewshire reside some of the most unique and beautiful moorland courses in all of Scotland. But dont be mislead by the term moorland, courses the likes of Bridge of Weir and Old Granfurly Golf Club are very hilly in parts and can provide plenty of non-links golf thrills.
So there you have it, a week and a half of golf in Scotland, with daily doses right at the touch of your mouse. Just click to www.eGolfChicago.com, starting on September 7th. If you have any questions, just e-mail me at BillD1541@aol.com