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Scotland, home of Golf

You can’t go wrong, no matter where you arrive in the UK there are great golfing experiences close at hand, and all of them have historic non-golf related side trips (y’ nay kin live on gawf alone).

When Carolyn and I took our first golf trip here we landed in Manchester and played along one of finest strips of sand based golf courses outside of Australia -several Open courses are there, Royal Liverpool (Hoylake), Royal Lytham & St Annes (Blackpool), The Royal Birkdale, and so many others including Formby, Clitheroe, and Prestonbury. You can stay and play for weeks in this part of England, certainly never boring, in fact Liverpool is the 2008 cultural centre for Europe. We’ve also stayed in the Prestwick area (Old Prestwick, Troon, Turnberry, and many more), and at Carnoustie and now, we live in St Andrews. When you realize that the whole country* is the size of southern Ontario it makes it easier to decide where to base yourself, you can get everywhere in a few hours drive (usually).

*country Everytime I have to fill out some form on the net there is a drop down screen for “country”. Seldom is this easy, usually it’s a challenge to find what they have listed for here. Great Britain, or United Kingdom, or Scotland.

To us, St. Andrews, in the Kingdom of Fife, is the perfect central location. We’re an easy hour drive from the Edinburgh (“Edinburrrr”) Airport, EDI. We are within two hours of Glasgow or Aberdeen, and less than five hours from Manchester. From St Andrews you can take the pilgrim’s drive north to Dornoch, or west to Machranish, or south to North Berwick. Or just stay and enjoy this wonderful city (it is official, wee St. Andrews has been a city for hundreds of years). You can play a different course every day if you wish, or play a few twice each, or just play the same one every day. The area has a great selection of accomodation, including our five star Fairmont St Andrews, the Old Course Hotel, Russacks, Rufflets, and hundreds of smaller hotels and Bed & Breakfasts. All can be perfect in their own way, and they all speak gawf.

Following I’ll give you my recommendations for golf in or from St. Andrews (whether you want them or not), including the DEVLIN COURSE, the OLD COURSE and it’s family of great golfing experiences including The CASTLE COURSE which opens in 2008, the NEW COURSE which opened in 1895, The EDEN and JUBILEE, The DUKES – and next door to us at the Fairmont, KINGSBARNS, and down the road ELIE, CRAIL, LUNDIN LINKS. And more importantly, there are some great Chippies along the route.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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