The Open Championship is one of the world’s great sporting events and is high up on the bucket list of most keen golfers. What is also unusual about it is that all courses that host The Open are accessible to amateur golfers to experience. You would never be given access to play tennis on centre court at Wimbledon, a game of touch footy with your mates at Twickenham or a game of backyard cricket on the pitch at Lords, but you CAN tee off on the Old Course at St Andrews, or at Turnberry, Muirfield and Royal Birkdale, to name only a few of many.
Up in Scotland, the true home of golf, you are spoilt by choice in the country that has the highest number of golf courses per capita in the world. Within a 90 mile radius of Edinburgh, you have the Old Course at St Andrews where it all began; Open Championship rota courses in Carnoustie, Muirfield, Royal Troon and Turnberry; the incredibly enjoyable Prestwick where the first Open was held in 1860; a modern classic in Kingsbarns; a place to spoil yourself both on and off the course at Gleneagles; along with one of the quirkiest and most fun courses you’ll ever play in North Berwick, a course that sits comfortably within the top 100 in the world on every major course rating system.
Heading further up north in Scotland doesn’t mean you’ll run out of high quality options. You have the very highly rated Royal Dornoch, whose head green-keeper and professional was the famed Donald Ross, who after migrating to the US became better known for his course design, including the celebrated Pinehurst No 2, amongst others. There is also Castle Stuart, Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay and Trump International Aberdeen, again, all world top 100 courses.
A short ferry trip across from Scotland, the amazing golf journey continues, both in Northern Ireland with the must play Royal Country Down or Royal Portrush that has returned to The Open rota and hosted The Open Championship in 2019, and down in Ireland, home to the historic Ballybunion, the Alister MacKenzie designed Lahinch or the exhilarating Old Head that juts out almost 2 miles into the Atlantic!
Back across the Irish Sea to the British mainland, once you have experienced the views across the Bristol Channel from the beautiful Royal Porthcawl in Wales, you have the opportunity to get back deep into the British Open history at Royal Lytham & St Annes, Royal Liverpool and Royal Birkdale, 3 courses situated near the Beatles home town of Liverpool, in England’s North West. Or back closer to London, you have England’s top rated course and location for Greg Norman’s second Open Championship win in Royal St George’s, as well as the private clubs of Sunningdale and Wentworth, where opportunities to play, while heavily restricted, do exist.
You may want to attend The Open Championship in July and play on some amazing courses as part of that tour; attend one of many other great sporting and cultural events held in the UK and tack on a couple of games; or organise a straight golfing holiday with your family and friends, with 32 out of Golf Digest’s Top 100 courses in the world along with many other wonderful courses, the UK and Ireland is one of the world’s truly great golfing destinations and we would love to help you get the most out of your trip.
If you want to discuss your options, or get some ideas, please give us a call on (02) 9555 5311, or email us here.