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Walker Thomas

  • Karma: +0/-0
Graduation Trip to Scotland
« on: August 24, 2022, 12:08:02 PM »
Hey everyone!

My name is Walker Thomas from Tampa, Florida and I just graduated from Auburn University! I start work in Birmingham, AL in mid-October and am finally getting to make my big trip to Scotland I've dreamed of for a few years now! I am going solo for most of it. I leave August 29th and return end of September.

I will be traveling all over the country trying to play as much and see as many places as possible. I am planning on figuring out and making use of the train system. For the first 10ish days I will be staying with a host family in Falkirk (west of Edinburgh), then my father is meeting me for 9 days and we are renting a car and driving around playing together (he hasn't been over there since 1997), then I will spend the rest of the month with another family in Inverness. I have had friends set me up with a few members at courses, which is what I prefer because no one knows the course better than someone who calls it there home!

I have read GCA for a few years and have been reading Bernard Darwin, Horace Hutchinson, Mackenzie, Confidential Guides, Tom Coyne, etc. to get me prepared! I can't wait.

I would love any advice on places to play and what to look for as a first time traveler. Restaurants and stuff outside of golf too! I know there are some well-traveled golfers in here who share the same mindset while looking for places to play and things to see.

While I'm in Inverness I'm planning on playing:
Royal Dornoch (my dad's favorite course! We have this scheduled together)
Nairn
Golspie
Brora
Castle Stuart

Aberdeen area:
Royal Aberdeen
Murcar
Cruden Bay

St. Andrews area:
Old Course (will enter the ballot most days I am near)
New Course
Kingsbarns

Near Edinburgh:
North Berwick (can't wait)
Gullane (I don't really know which are the ones are worth seeing, I think there are 3 courses)
Muirfield (don't know if I can pull this one off this time)
Musselburgh

West Coast:
Western Gailes
Prestwick
Royal Troon
Turnberry (seems too expensive for me this time around)

If I am missing anything I need to see chime in and let me know! And if anyone is in Scotland and wants to tee it up for a round, I'd love to join! Thanks guys I look forward to the advice.

Jaeger Kovich

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Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2022, 12:14:55 PM »
Add some less famous stuff like Cullen, Fraserbrough, Kilspindie, etc.


I played the old course 3 days after graduation college back in 2009. Have fun

Tim Gavrich

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Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2022, 12:19:19 PM »
Walker, while you're in East Lothian I would recommend including The Glen Golf Club, North Berwick's East Links, with your loop around the West Links, The Glen isn't as good as OG NB, but it's just a few blocks away and it's a lot of fun. Congrats, enjoy your trip and tell your dad I say hello.
Senior Writer, GolfPass

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2022, 12:44:02 PM »
Walker


Why are you bothering about taking a train ? With that list of courses you could easily just hitch a lift with the Perry Golf coach !


Seriously though, as Jaeger mentions, you'd be missing a trick if you didn't go off-piste. Go and play a local members club or rough it at a muni and see what Scottish golf is really about.


Niall

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2022, 01:10:42 PM »

Given Turnberry was cited as perhaps too expensive...
tells me that value is somewhat important to you.
Nearly every course you listed will be quite expensive, (with the possible exception of Golspie and Brora)
I would seriously take the above advice and see a few less famous courses.(especially this year with sooooo many tourists using 2020-2020 backlog rounds)

A search here on GCA will reveal many gems(if you can wade through the search function)

For example:Head north along the Coast road from Aberdeen to Castle Stuart-along the way you will encounter 10-15 courses that are excellent, authentic,loca,and uncrowded, and will spend about the same $$ on your 12 rounds as your round at Castle Stuart and Kingsbarn combined.
You'll have a far better time, play arguably better golf and meet locals, not over logoed-sweater vested  box tickers flying in choppers and staying in Castles.

Another example:Pass on Turnberry and Troon and use the $$$$ to play Prestwick St Nicholas,Glasgow Gailes, West Kilbride etc. and take the ferry over to Arran and play Shiskine, Corrie etc., then onto Machrihanish,Carradale, Machrahanish Dunes,and Dunaverty.


here's another resource I often usehttps://www.top100golfcourses.com/golf-courses/britain-ireland

Enjoy-there are many, many gems to be had,no need to hang out with CEOs and pay full and crazy retail $$$ when much better options and experiences abound.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2022, 03:20:29 PM by jeffwarne »
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2022, 01:11:57 PM »
Eureka!
Thanks Kalen/Alex etc.
seems I found a way to triple exposure of one post
« Last Edit: August 24, 2022, 03:22:56 PM by jeffwarne »
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Alex Miller

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2022, 01:30:21 PM »


Given Turnberry was cited as perhaps too expensive...
tells me that value is somewhat important to you.
Nearly every course you listed will be quite expensive, (with the possible exception of Golspie and Brora)
I would seriously take the above advice and see a few less famous courses.(especially this year with sooooo many tourists using 2020-2020 backlog rounds)

A search here on GCA will reveal many gems(if you can wade through the search function)

For example:Head north along the Coast road from Aberdeen to Castle Stuart-along the way you will encounter 10-15 courses that are excellent, authentic,loca,and uncrowded, and will spend about the same $$ on your 12 rounds as your round at Castle Stuart and Kingsbarn combined.
You'll have a far better time, play arguably better golf and meet locals, not over logoed-sweater vested  box tickers flying in choppers and staying in Castles.

Another example:Pass on Turnberry and Troon and use the $$$$ to play Prestwick St Nicholas,Glasgow Gailes, West Kilbride etc. and take the ferry over to Arran and play Shiskine, Corrie etc., then onto Machrihanish,Carradale, Machrahanish Dunes,and Dunaverty.


here's another resource I often usehttps://www.top100golfcourses.com/golf-courses/britain-ireland

Enjoy-there are many, many gems to be had,no need to hang out with CEOs and pay full and crazy retail $$$ when much better options and experiences abound.


Just use the text size and preview function :)


Anyway I'd also recommend Elie and Crail.

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2022, 01:32:21 PM »

Jeff,

Here is your original post. 

To fix in the future:
1)  Edit the post
2)  Select all text in the post
3)  Set the font size to 10 pt
4)  It will then show as below.




Given Turnberry was cited as perhaps too expensive...
tells me that value is somewhat important to you.
Nearly every course you listed will be quite expensive, (with the possible exception of Golspie and Brora)
I would seriously take the above advice and see a few less famous courses.(especially this year with sooooo many tourists using 2020-2020 backlog rounds)

A search here on GCA will reveal many gems(if you can wade through the search function)

For example:Head north along the Coast road from Aberdeen to Castle Stuart-along the way you will encounter 10-15 courses that are excellent, authentic,loca,and uncrowded, and will spend about the same $$ on your 12 rounds as your round at Castle Stuart and Kingsbarn combined.
You'll have a far better time, play arguably better golf and meet locals, not over logoed-sweater vested  box tickers flying in choppers and staying in Castles.

Another example:Pass on Turnberry and Troon and use the $$$$ to play Prestwick St Nicholas,Glasgow Gailes, West Kilbride etc. and take the ferry over to Arran and play Shiskine, Corrie etc., then onto Machrihanish,Carradale, Machrahanish Dunes,and Dunaverty.


here's another resource I often usehttps://www.top100golfcourses.com/golf-courses/britain-ireland

Enjoy-there are many, many gems to be had,no need to hang out with CEOs and pay full and crazy retail $$$ when much better options and experiences abound.

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2022, 01:53:18 PM »
Jeff


All hail to my fellow techno-numpty !


Niall

David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2022, 02:01:29 PM »
Walker T. -

I am in Dornoch until Sept. 16. I would be happy to meet you & your father here. Tee times at Royal Dornoch are rather hard to come by for the balance of the season. Glad you have booked there in advance.

I would also be glad to have you play Golspie with me (at the "guest of member" rate!).

David T.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2022, 02:03:14 PM by David_Tepper »

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2022, 03:00:54 PM »
Sounds like a great month.

If someone is going to Scotland for a week, they should play at least a couple of lesser known courses. A month - you really should play a bunch. Golf outside of the big names is also pretty easy to turn up and get around quickly. So on your way up to Inverness, spend 2-3 hours at Boat of Garten - you'll be glad that you did.

And when you're around St. Andrews, missing Elie is borderline criminal.

Around Gullane, Kilspindie is a good suggestion, but so is a trip to Dunbar.

For many more ideas, read through Ran's Courses by Country and Sean Arble's UK tours.

Less famous courses will provide as many good memories as the big names, and quite possibly more.

Joe Zucker

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2022, 03:06:12 PM »
If you head out east to play Cullen, I highly recommend stopping to play 9 at Covesea.  It very much has a Sweetens Cove feeling for me, where you're just hitting fun shots in what seems like someone's back yard.  The views are great, there are a lot of fun and weird holes.  It's a memorable, cheap, and easy to access.

Walker Thomas

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2022, 03:32:24 PM »

Given Turnberry was cited as perhaps too expensive...
tells me that value is somewhat important to you.
Nearly every course you listed will be quite expensive, (with the possible exception of Golspie and Brora)
I would seriously take the above advice and see a few less famous courses.(especially this year with sooooo many tourists using 2020-2020 backlog rounds)

A search here on GCA will reveal many gems(if you can wade through the search function)

For example:Head north along the Coast road from Aberdeen to Castle Stuart-along the way you will encounter 10-15 courses that are excellent, authentic,loca,and uncrowded, and will spend about the same $$ on your 12 rounds as your round at Castle Stuart and Kingsbarn combined.
You'll have a far better time, play arguably better golf and meet locals, not over logoed-sweater vested  box tickers flying in choppers and staying in Castles.

Another example:Pass on Turnberry and Troon and use the $$$$ to play Prestwick St Nicholas,Glasgow Gailes, West Kilbride etc. and take the ferry over to Arran and play Shiskine, Corrie etc., then onto Machrihanish,Carradale, Machrahanish Dunes,and Dunaverty.


here's another resource I often usehttps://www.top100golfcourses.com/golf-courses/britain-ireland

Enjoy-there are many, many gems to be had,no need to hang out with CEOs and pay full and crazy retail $$$ when much better options and experiences abound.



Jeff,


Thanks for the feedback. I wouldn't be playing Castle Stuart if my host family weren't members out there! But yes, value is somewhat important to me as I just graduated and will be trying to do this as inexpensively as possible.


This type of post is what I was looking for! These local, not as famous courses, is what I needed more info on. Thanks for that Coast Road and west coast info. Hopefully I can make it across on the ferry also.


Thanks!

Walker Thomas

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2022, 03:35:30 PM »
Walker, while you're in East Lothian I would recommend including The Glen Golf Club, North Berwick's East Links, with your loop around the West Links, The Glen isn't as good as OG NB, but it's just a few blocks away and it's a lot of fun. Congrats, enjoy your trip and tell your dad I say hello.


Noted, I did want to get out to Glen. He says hello!

Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2022, 03:36:20 PM »
Congratulations Walker! 


I spent a week at St. Andrews after graduating from law school and the trip yielded memories for a lifetime. I think you could arrive with no plan and have a great experience.


As others have stated, you will enjoy those smaller courses as much as anything you play.  Near St. Andrews I have played Crail, Elie, Lundin Links and Ladybank.  All are worth a visit but Ladybank becomes a good option after you have been beaten up by links winds for awhile.   You could peruse threads from 2019 Buda and the Buda at Lundin Links to see some of the itineraries people cooked up on those outings.   THe people who have weighed in here have years of experience so take the advice to heart. 


You may need to get in line to play the Old Course.  I am probably 0 for 10 on the ballot so do not be surprised if that option does not work  - particularly in September when there seem to be a lot of R&A member events and diminishing daylight.  There is a No Laying Up video about the line process.


I would also spend time simply wandering around the various towns where you stay to simply soak up the atmosphere.  Try to get away from the hoardes of golf tourists and try to see some of the actual country you are visiting. 


 


Walker Thomas

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2022, 03:38:14 PM »
Sounds like a great month.

If someone is going to Scotland for a week, they should play at least a couple of lesser known courses. A month - you really should play a bunch. Golf outside of the big names is also pretty easy to turn up and get around quickly. So on your way up to Inverness, spend 2-3 hours at Boat of Garten - you'll be glad that you did.

And when you're around St. Andrews, missing Elie is borderline criminal.

Around Gullane, Kilspindie is a good suggestion, but so is a trip to Dunbar.

For many more ideas, read through Ran's Courses by Country and Sean Arble's UK tours.

Less famous courses will provide as many good memories as the big names, and quite possibly more.


I'll make sure to see the Boat of Garten and fill you in. I don't wish to commit a crime, so I will see Elie.
I have also heard good things about Kilspindie.
Thanks a lot!

Carl Nichols

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2022, 04:17:15 PM »
Given the length of your trip, I would consider spending half a day playing one of the parkland courses in Edinburgh.   Not because there are any world-class parkland courses (there aren't), and not because they're as "good" as the links courses (they aren't), but because you'll have a very unique experience compared to the rest of the trip.  My sense from when I was a student in Scotland is that a lot of Edinburgh-area residents play their golf on such courses, and seeing that part of the golfing culture was interesting to me.

John Handley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2022, 05:39:34 PM »
Congrats and sounds like an amazing trip.  DO NOT miss Turnberry.  It is worth the price and maybe be the best course in Scotland.  Certainly in the top 4 for sure with TOC, Dornoch and Muirfield.

Steve Wilson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2022, 06:05:09 PM »
Walker,
Iíll be in Golspie Sept 4-8 and can provide play at member rates.  Iíll also be there from the 28 th till October 8. If this helps, message me.
Regards,
Steve Wilson
Some days you play golf, some days you find things.

I'm not really registered, but I couldn't find a symbol for certifiable.

"Every good drive by a high handicapper will be punished..."  Garland Bailey at the BUDA in sharing with me what the better player should always remember.

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2022, 06:20:49 PM »
It's not clear who you'll be in St Andrews with but i don't believe a single can enter the ballot?


Just set you alarm EARLY and you'll get on.  Good luck with the trip.
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ridelondon-tonymuldoon

Garland Bayley

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Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2022, 07:20:27 PM »
...
Anyway I'd also recommend Elie and Crail.

Make sure you bring your good britches to Elie. ;)
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

Garland Bayley

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Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2022, 07:31:29 PM »
...
Royal Dornoch (my dad's favorite course! We have this scheduled together)
...
Golspie
Brora
...

What??? You are playing Dornoch, Golspie, and Brora, but not Tarbat?!?!?   :o
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,70648.0.html ;)
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

Garland Bayley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2022, 07:40:47 PM »
You might look at https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,66070.msg1576958.html#msg1576958 for Scottish golf by train.

However, trains won't get you everywhere. So checking out the buses is a good idea. (You need a bus to get to Tarbat and to Fortrose & Rosemarkie, etc.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

James Reader

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Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2022, 02:39:49 AM »
When are you going to be in St Andrews, Walker?  Iím up there myself for some of September.


Iíd echo the comments about trying for the singles queue rather than the ballot for TOC.  Also, Iím not sure what your budget is but youíd be paying £350 for Kingsbarns against a fraction of that for any of Elie (not to be missed!), Crail, the Jubilee, the Eden, Lundin, LevenÖ itís a long list!





Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Graduation Trip to Scotland
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2022, 04:06:42 AM »

While I'm in Inverness I'm planning on playing:
Royal Dornoch (my dad's favorite course! We have this scheduled together)
Nairn
Golspie
Brora
Castle Stuart

Aberdeen area:
Royal Aberdeen
Murcar
Cruden Bay

St. Andrews area:
Old Course (will enter the ballot most days I am near)
New Course
Kingsbarns

Near Edinburgh:
North Berwick (can't wait)
Gullane (I don't really know which are the ones are worth seeing, I think there are 3 courses)
Muirfield (don't know if I can pull this one off this time)
Musselburgh

West Coast:
Western Gailes
Prestwick
Royal Troon
Turnberry (seems too expensive for me this time around)

If I am missing anything I need to see chime in and let me know! And if anyone is in Scotland and wants to tee it up for a round, I'd love to join! Thanks guys I look forward to the advice.


Just added-up the collective greenfees at these courses. Yikes, just a few ££££! Oh well, you only live once.
Atb


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