As Scotland Week continues on “Talking GolfGetaways,” who better to join hosts Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch than Ru Macdonald, creator of the Scottish Golf Podcast and the man voted Golf Tourism Scotland Young Person of the Year.
Ru begins the podcast by explaining how great it was to grow up, and now live and work, near iconic Cruden Bay — and how important it is to have the core of courses such as Cruden Bay, Royal Aberdeen, Trump International (which has sparked new interest in that part of the country) as a draw for Highlands golf.
But there is so much more, including less well-known but as the less well-known yet fantastic courses at Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Murcar and Newburgh-on-Ythan.
Ru offers three important tips that anyone planning a golf trip to Scotland should consider: managing your expectations of how many courses to play; how to choose tees based on a reasonable links-style length for maximum fun; and why you should stay in the heart of Scotland’s small towns whenever possible to truly understand the golfing culture.
He also talks about the amazing mixture of the old and the new when it comes to golf in Scotland, mentioning Castle Stuart and Trump International in the Highlands, as well as Kingsbarns in the St. Andrews area and the Renaissance Club outside the town of North Berwick, home to its own historic namesake course plus famed Muirfield nearby along with a host of other seaside links.
Ru also gives us a first-hand account of the great accommodations at the Castle Lodges at Castle Stuart before providing a rundown of the courses in the west of Scotland, reminding us of “a real pilgrimage” — one of his Top 3 favorites, Macrihanish Old, built by Old Tom Morris, in conjunction with the recently added Macrihanish Dunes, designed by award-winning David McLay Kidd.
He includes Prestwick, site of the first 10 Open Championships, in his recommendations — to which Mitch adds the often overlooked Prestwick St. Nicholas. And when asked about “hidden gems,” Ru provides insight into Royal Tarlair, a clifftop course in the town of Macduff, and the northern course Brora — both of which reflect the beautiful landscape of a country with much more golf than many travelers ever realize on just one or two visits.
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