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Scotland, the home of golf

Here at Inspiring Travel Scotland, we’re immensely proud of the customisable nature of our Scotland tours. We offer tailor-made Scottish experiences to match our clients’ unique requests, and we have a range of pre-existing luxury Scotland tours if you’re looking for a little travel inspiration before you plan your next trip. For this blog post, we’d like to talk about golf. Scotland is the home of golf and many visitors from the States and further afield are understandably excited to try out Scotland’s famous golf courses. If your main reason to visit Scotland is to try out its golf scene, then you certainly won’t be disappointed; we’d like to talk about some of the country’s best golf courses — all of which are available as part of our customised Scottish tour service.

St Andrews golf course in Scotland

The History of Golf

Golf is one of the most popular sports in the World, with extravagant golf courses in nearly every country. However, the sport was invented in Scotland, and die-hard golfers enjoy travelling to Scotland to learn more about the history of their beloved sport. The exact dates and details are a little hazy, but most scholars agree that golf originated in Scotland during the Middle Ages as the 18-hole stick-and-ball game as we know it today.

Historically, the first written mention of golf was in an act of the Scottish parliament issued by King James II of Scotland. James II felt that too much time was being spent on ‘gowf’ (the Scots word that later became the English word ‘golf’) and ‘futball’ and that these sports were a distraction from archery, which provided Scotland with a greater military advantage.

Although golf had been around for centuries, it only rose to prominence during the 19th century, when the sport spread throughout the UK and throughout the [then considerable] British Empire. This means that golf had been a big part of Scottish culture for centuries before the rest of the World got hold of it, making it the perfect pilgrimage for any avid golfer. But really, the best thing about visiting Scotland as a golfer is all of the incredible golf courses…

Golf at St Andrews

Golfing at St Andrews in Scotland during spring and summer
The Old Course at St Andrews – renowned the world over!

St Andrews is perhaps the most famous place for golf in Scotland. St Andrews is a beautiful seaside town in Fife, to the northeast of Edinburgh. St Andrews itself has plenty to offer visitors, however, most people visit St Andrews for its incredible golf scene. There many different golf courses in St Andrews and they can trace their golf traditions back 600 years, making it the oldest golfing community in Scotland (and the World). St Andrews has such an inextricable connection to the sport that it is frequently referred to as the ‘Home of Golf’ and you’ve probably heard of many of its famous courses including the following:

  • The Old Course (perhaps the most famous course in the World)
  • The New Course
  • Jubilee
  • Strathtyrum
  • The Castle Course

St Andrews is also home to one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the World: the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. This club is one of only two organisations with the authority to change the rules of golf.  Any golfers travelling to Scotland simply have to visit St Andrews; there’s just far too much to see and do!

Golf at Gleneagles

One of Gleneagles' championship golf courses
Gleneagles has three championship golf courses

There is so much more to the golf scene in Scotland than just St Andrews, with Gleneagles next on the list. Gleneagles has three championship golf courses that are widely considered to be some of the best golf courses in the World. Gleneagles is located a short while northeast of Stirling and it is pretty much exactly what people expect from the Scottish countryside: wild, majestic, beautiful. The natural beauty of the area is the perfect backdrop for its stunning golf courses:

  • King’s Course (the No. 1 ranked inland golf course in Scotland)
  • Queen’s Course
  • PGA Centenary Course (Which hosted the 2014 Ryder Cup and will host the 2019 Solheim Cup)

The golf scene at Gleneagles is different to St Andrews. Its newer courses are loved by golf pros and celebrities alike and there are more than enough golf courses for any enthusiast to visit and play where the pros have played!

Kingsbarns golf course in Scotland
Kingsbarns Golf Course (via Flickr: Gregory Stewart)

Kingsbarns is located seven miles to the east of St Andrews, which usually attracts golfers who have visited St Andrews and are looking for a slightly different golf experience. The beaches at Kingsbarns are stunning and they provide incredible views for anyone who chooses to golf on one of the World’s top-ranked golf courses. Perhaps, Kingsbarns’ biggest claim to fame is that it co-hosts the annual Alfred Dunhil Links Championship with St Andrew’s Old Course this year. Like St Andrews, Kingsbarns has a rich golfing history, with the Kingsbarns Golfing Society dating back to 1793. Given its close proximity to St Andrews, it’s definitely worth visiting Kingsbarns on your next Scottish golfing tour.

Scotland really is the perfect location for any golf enthusiast and we’re confident that our tailor-made Scottish golf holidays allow guests to take full advantage of everything the country has to offer. Learn about the history of golf, visit some of the oldest courses in the World, and play some of the top-ranked golf courses in World. If you’re interested in your own bespoke golf holiday, please get in touch and let us know exactly what you’re looking for. Plan your next big golf holiday today with Inspiring Travel Scotland!

St Andrews golf course in Scotland

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