My previous trip to the UK was in 2011 and was specifically for the purpose of playing the 30 best heathland courses in England , from Leeds to London.
Irene and I were attending a family wedding in Durham (north west England) in late May so we figured it was time to revisit her land of birth, Scotland.
Late May and June is probably a month too early for the best weather but we had to fit in with the wedding date and we wanted to be gone before the influx for the Commonwealth Games. This trip involved less golf and more general sight seeing but we still managed a few very memorable golfing experiences.
Just 3 really sunny and warm days in 5 weeks was not so great but on the other hand it only rained extensively for about three days. In 4 days on the Isle of Skye we did not see more than a few minutes of sunshine.
Heading north into Scotland the pre-arranged golf involved revisiting Southerness, Panmure, Nairn and Nairn Dunbar none of which I had played since 1998. Castle Stuart was certainly on the agenda. We were at Castle Stuart in 2009 a week before the official opening so we could only walk the course on that occasion. Trump International at Aberdeen was high on my priority list, especially given all the hype surrounding its construction and subsequent opening late in the summer of 2012. The other pre-arranged golf was at the lovely seaside links at West Kilbride which Irene had not played but I enjoyed immensely when last there in 2006.
The only island we had not visited was the Isle of Skye so I figured that during our four days there we would have a look at Sconser, a 9 holer near Portree.
We also had booked a few days in St Andrews so, having played every major course in that area, I thought we would look at Anstruther (a little 9 holer on the coast) and Kingarrock near Cupar where you must play with hickory clubs and balls that go a reduced distance.
Whilst staying at Trump International we came across an interesting course nearby, Newburgh-on-Ythan, which we decided was worth a game.
As always my visits to Scotland include a game at Royal Troon with my good friend and former publisher Bill McCreaddie. Some new photographs were taken at Cruden Bay, Kingsbarns, the Old Course at Musselburgh, Prestwick and Prestwick St Nicholas but in the case of the latter two it was pretty much cloudy and wet the whole time.
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- West Kilbride
- Sconser (Isle of Skye Golf Club)
- Castle Stuart
- Nairn Dunbar
- Trump International Aberdeen
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