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Author: Callum Taylor, Managing Director, Golf Concierge Scotland Ltd, Edinburgh.

Scotland’s hotels, B&B’s, restaurants and general tourism industry was given a shot of life with re-opening plans scheduled from 15 July. Golfers, like most of the population, are excited to travel to their favourite destinations and spend quality time with family and friends once again. Here are 5 golf Scottish golf experiences which will put a smile on the avid golfer’s face and go a small way towards making up for the lost time.

1) Dumbarnie Links, Fife – Just when you thought the Kingdom of Fife could not improve as a golf destination, up pops the brand new Dumbarnie Links, opening at the end of May 2020. A stunning links layout located outside Lundin Links and only 20 minutes from St Andrews. Designed by former Ryder Cup player Clive Clark, 14 of Dumbarnie’s holes have panoramic views of the Firth of Forth. This high-end course comes with a price tag to match of £235 for a round. However, there are discounted offers for Fife and Scottish residents. You will be treated to immaculate golf and service levels to rival any other of the big-name Scottish links courses. This one is something special.

Dumbarnie Links

2) Nairn, The Highlands– Nairn Golf Club is one of Scotland’s classic links and has hosted prestigious tournaments including the 1999 Walker Cup which showcased young amateurs including Luke Donald, Paul Casey, and Matt Kuchar. In 2021 Nairn Golf Club will joint host The British Amateur alongside Nairn Dunbar Golf Club. The visiting golfer should aspire to take on this 36-hole challenge themself. Both courses have benefitted recently from major renovations.

Nairn Dunbar Golf Club has undergone a restoration plan to showcase the natural dune systems and promote a more links feel, part of which reveals views of The Moray Firth from the modified 10th hole. Whilst Nairn Golf Club has gone through a re-design which includes green and bunker improvements. The work was carried out by top design firm, Mackenzie & Ebert who are behind the course improvements at 7 out of the 10 Open rota courses. This is a mighty duo of courses set in the heart of the beautiful Scottish Highlands.

Nairn Dunbar Golf Club

3) Gailes Golf Experience, Ayrshire – If you are looking for a links golf fix and don’t want to travel far between courses then look no further than Western Gailes, Dundonald and Gailes Links, all available to book at a discounted rate under the Gailes Golf Experience. Western Gailes is one of our personal favourite links courses in all of GB&I and has again seen bunker re-developments by Mackenzie & Ebert to restore classic links features. Directly over the railway is Dundonald where Rafa Cabrera-Bello won the Scottish Open in 2017. Then to finish it off less than 1km away is Gailes Links, a Final Open Qualifying course and part of the prestigious Glasgow Golf Club.

Dundonald Links

4) Island Golf - Islay/Jura –The Islands of Islay and Jura are not quite as remote as the islands portrayed in movies like Castaway, with regular CalMac ferries or Loganair flight connections from Glasgow or Edinburgh Airports. But you will discover some of the most spectacular white sand beaches with crystal clear waters that you will find anywhere in the world.

Machrie Golf Links

The Machrie Links on Islay has benefitted from a modernisation by former European Tour Pro DJ Russell, restoring classic links element while keeping the course playable for the modern game. The Hotel & Spa on-site is only 2 years old and offers an idyllic Island retreat for some r & r, relaxation and sampling some wonderful Scottish cuisine. It is also ideally located for visiting the nearby malt whisky distilleries at Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.

Next door to Islay golfers can discover the mysterious fairways of Ardfin on the Isle of Jura, also famous for their outstanding Jura malt. Ardfin is a mysterious course, playing around the Ardfin Estate and luxurious Jura House. Designed by Bob Harrison, Greg Norman’s long-time design partner, Ardfin has already found its way into the world’s Top 100 Courses. If you make the journey its not difficult to see why, the area of land is spectacular on the South East Corner of Jura along a dramatic rocky shoreline.

5) St Andrews, Fife – The holy grail of golf. Stay in the centre of town at one of the popular golf hotels or B&B’s and walk down the road with your clubs on your shoulders for your tee time on one of the six St Andrews Links Trust Courses located on the West Sands. Or if you are feeling braver head up to The Castle Course, the newest addition and seventh course. The Castle matures year on year after opening in 2008. Designed by the architect behind Bandon Dunes, Oregon – David McLay Kidd. Although the topography is more dramatic than the other six courses as The Castle treats you to cliff top links holes which are none so more spectacular than the Par 3 17th Hole, a demanding short hole played over the Kinkell Braes. No experience of St Andrews is complete without a late afternoon game on The Himalayas putting green also known as St Andrews Ladies’ Putting Club. Play the course for £3 before taking a stroll down the beach. My personal favourite activity is enjoying a cold pint at the Jigger Inn and watching the golfers on the 17th hole at The Old Course.

Castle Course, St Andrews

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