If you’re a keen golfer then a trip to the home of golf, Skottland, is an absolute must. With over 550 golf courses the length and breadth of the country, you’re spoilt for choice. Fancy playing golf late at night? Fancy treading the same links as countless Open Champions have? Fancy stunning views that may see you reaching for your camera more often than your golf clubs?
It’s all there in Scotland, but there may be a perceived image of golf north of the border being expensive with long waiting lists.
In reality, it’s possible to secure some top class golf at budget prices if you know how to go about it and you’re prepared to do a bit of virtual legwork online.
If flying, then you’ll likely save if you fly on weekdays rather than weekends – and save further on flights taken at certain times of the day. Check the airline websites to see the variations.
Beware of the extra costs of hold luggage and travelling with golf equipment.
Off the beaten track
Naturally, if you want to play St Andrews Old Course or Turnberry during times of peak demand than there’s steep price tag (although maybe not as steep as you think if you combine it with a golf package). Why not consider some of the lesser known courses that offer wonderful golf experiences at much lower rates?
For example, while it may seem a bit extreme you could play Britain’s most northerly golf course, Whalsay, in Shetland. Due to its northerly location, Shetland enjoys long hours of daylight so you could realistically play a nocturnal round with daylight lasting until midnight sometimes.
Rounds of golf at courses like this would be very competitively priced – you’d likely have change from £30 for a day ticket.
Fife, the location of the ‘home of golf’ St Andrews, offers much more than the famous Old Course. St Andrews itself offers six golf courses to try, and there are many more in the area at reasonable prices. For something really unique, why not try playing the game with hickory clubs as those golfers of yesteryear did? The Kingarrock Hickory Club will kit you out with these old clubs, let you play, give you a nip of whisky and provide refreshments all for bargain basement money.
A great way of planning keenly priced golf by region. The Visit Scotland website has details of various types of golf pass which basically give you discounted golf in certain regions.
For example, you can play on four of the courses in the Carnoustie area – including the Open Championship venue itself – for just over £300.
For Perthshire golf, you can buy a booklet for £5 that gives you a 25% green free reduction on a choice of 18 golf courses in the area. If you fancy some golf in South Ayrshire, £55 buys you three rounds of golf over seven days on a choice of seven courses.
Various voucher schemes run long and short term – and well-known voucher sites such as Groupon have golfing deals at times. There are two for one schemes sometimes run by golf magazines or other concerns – try an online search to see what’s available.
A typical offer of this type is two rounds for the price of one, although there may be restrictions on days and times you can play and times of year.
Professional golf break specialists have the advantage of being able to buy tee times, accommodation and arrange car hire deals at lower rates to build your Scotland golf tour as they buy in bulk. This can make the overall cost of a trip highly competitive, and it’s very convenient – you can select from a choice of itinerary knowing everything is organised including the tee times.
Some operators build in some flexibility so you can tailor your trip to suit your exact requirements. If you hanker after teeing up on the famous Scottish courses such as those used in major tournaments such as St Andrews Old Course, Carnoustie and Turnberry then golf break specialists can remove the obstacle of trying to book privately and dealing with waiting lists.
The overall cost of a golf package can work out less expensive than arranging everything yourself, especially when you take into account aspects such as transport from the nearest airport and travel while you’re in Scotland.
Enjoy Scottish golf more when it’s cheaper
A combination of basic research and deciding exactly what type of golf experience you want will help you save money. While you can research golf course green fees, accommodation options, car hire and airport transfers, you may feel it saves time and possibly even more money by putting it in the hands of a professional golf break company.
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Adrian Stanley is the founder of AGS Golf Vacations, which specialises in arranging golf tours to the home of golf.