Where Golf Was Born
A pilgrimage to the courses where the game of golf was invented provides golf lovers with dozens of choices. Many of the links here are undisputedly some of the finest on earth. Officially recorded since 1552, golf is believed to have been a diversion for the bored Scottish aristocracy as early as the 14th century. You’ll feel like aristocracy yourself at a handful of storied hotels whose raison d’etre is to indulge guests with as much nonpareil golf as the long hours of daylight will permit—and luxury apres-golf accommodations to boot.
The Old Course at St. Andrews is the world’s most legendary temple of golf, which explains why you sometimes need to reserve tee times up to a year in advance. An elegant Edwardian country house, Greywails Hotel, exudes the warmth of a private home—one fortunate enough to overlook the fabled Muirfield Course. It’s the world’s oldest golf course, and visitors are permitted, with a little help from the Greywalls’s concierge. Gleneagles, whose Queen’s and King’s courses are the oldest of five, is framed by remarkable scenery.
The magnificently situated Turnberry Hotel faces out to sea and has its own lighthouse; it has hosted the British Open three times on its two famous courses on the untamed Scottish coast. Neophytes at Carnoustie call its course treacherous, but world champions call it the best in Britain. At Royal Troon, only men can comment on its old course; the club is so steeped in tradition that women are still not allowed to play it. Anyone can try their hand at Royal Dornach. At just 6 degrees short of the Arctic Circle, it is the most northerly of the world’s great golf courses, though with a balmy climate thanks to the Gulf Stream. The list goes on and on—there are well over
500 courses in Scotland—but why not start at the top?