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Courses you have not heard of, but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

A trip “over the pond” to the fantastic courses of Scotland or Ireland is an absolute must if you really love golf.  The experiences create a lifetime of memories for you.  I have been fortunate enough to play both country’s golf courses on several hosted trips.  If you ever want to join me on a fabulous golfing vacation, just visit my golf trips page here.  I would like to put a trip together in the not-too-distant future that includes these intriguing golf courses listed here by  Graham Hesketh of GolfWrx to really whet your appetite!  I’m sure we’ll have a blast!

Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

Everyone wants to play golf in Scotland and Ireland. Fact. Maybe this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or perhaps an annual pilgrimage. The bucket lists will be overflowing with your old courses, whether that’s at Portmarnock or St. Andrews! The Open Championship courses will roll off your tongue, including Portrush, back on the rota, and rightly so. There will even be the must-plays that very few can play, unless well connected, financially sound, or both.

I can understand why the usual suspects are always on the golf itinerary. And, by writing this, I don’t want to question their appeal, or their quality. But my argument lies in that in this day and age of travel and tourism, it is all about going off the beaten track, exploring, living a little, and not conforming. Some may argue my selections aren’t off the beaten track enough, but they’re there to debate!

It is with a great deal of smugness that I present to you 10 golf courses (11 if you include two at Moray) I have experienced — five in each country — where you can be assured of as Scottish and Irish golf experience as you richly deserve.

Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

Courses you have not heard of, but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

Carne Golf Links was the last links course designed by architect Eddie Hackett.

Protruding deep into the Atlantic on the west of Ireland is Carne Golf Links. The village of Belmullet lies almost exactly 3,000 miles from New York City, and Carne idly inhabits an area that is low on population, but highly populated with dunes. Sand dunes of the highest order! Now offering 27 holes, you will think you are driving to New York, but just before tipping off the edge of Europe, the dunes come into view. They are something to behold.

Courses you have not heard of, but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!


There is the possibility that Castlegregory will be expanded one day, but for now it remains a 9-hole gem.

Traveling farther down the West Coast and driving beyond the practice greens of Ballybunion, Lahinch and Tralee is Castlegregory on the Dingle Peninsula. Surely I am not recommending a 9-holer? I will grant you access to one of the usual suspects in the morning, but following a couple pints of Guinness while watching the boats bob up and down off the Inch Peninsula, it seems appealing to play nine more, doesn’t it? Castlegregory gifts dramatic views across to Tralee, the steep-sided Mount Brandon as a backdrop and a challenge that simply not enough people know about. But, that’s its charm.

Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

The Wild Atlantic Way, the world’s longest defined coastal route, should send you in the direction of the Ring of Kerry. A beautiful stretch of road and home to Waterville and Dooks, but perhaps controversially we will head cross-country to County Wicklow on the Irish Sea.

Courses you have not heard of, but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

The European Club is one of the longest links at 7,377-yards from the tips.

Pat Ruddy designed The European Club. In fact, he is still designing the European Club. Heading out with his spray can, he will mark where bunkers need to be tweaked and changed before heading in again to talk to his golfers about Tiger’s course-record 67, how Padraig Harrington has his three majors thanks to the European and how Rory thinks it’s the best links he’s ever played. Oh yes, I forgot, you get 20 holes for your money and the world’s longest green.


Druids Glen hosted the Irish Open from 1996 to 1999.

Not too far away and inland is Druids Glen. Sometimes referred to by the over-used phrase of the “Augusta of Europe,” they may be right. This is as close as I have come to what I imagine Augusta to be like. Spectacularly manicured, fascinatingly interesting, wonderfully unexpected and a lot of fun. Monty has won twice at Druids, while Sergio won his first tour event here. It goes to show it’s not just about how pretty the golf course looks; it’s tricky, too.

At the end of the 19th century, golf was steadily becoming more popular with the elite of the day. The Island Golf Club north of Dublin was originally a spur of land opposite Malahide. One fine day, a Syndicate of gents jumped in a boat and acquired the slice of land for their golf course. You could still get a boat to the course until 1973, with the clubhouse putting up colored disks to draw the attention of the boatman. Once on dry land, the dunes loom. It’s hard to tell just how big they are when you’re in Malahide, but after 18 holes and a couple pints of Guinness, trust me, they’re massive.

Hidden gems is a phrase too often used. Because a lot of the time, how you feel about a course is dependent on how you play and what type of courses you prefer to play. My challenge in Scotland is to demonstrate that no matter how low or high your handicap, or how close to it you play, you will still walk away appreciating what has just happened. This must be the reason we play? Personally, if I play poorly then I appreciate the view. If I play well I appreciate the scorecard, not forgetting the view. In Scotland, we will start by sauntering down the Edinburgh coast.

To see the rest of these underrated Scottish and Irish golf courses to play on your next trip over the pond, go here!

Source: Graham Hesketh  GolfWrx

Pictures: Carne Golf Links  Castlegregory  The European Club  Druids Glen

Thanks for reading – Courses you have not heard of but are fun to play in Scotland or Ireland!

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God is definitely a Mexican - so says Lee Trevino!

God is definitely a Mexican – so says Lee Trevino!

God is definitely a Mexican – so says Lee Trevino!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

I have played over in Scotland and England several times and had the privilege of playing St Andrews on several occasions.

Watching this video, mainly about Lee Trevino’s experiences in Scotland and England, brought back many memories.  Not only of the golf courses but the towns, pubs, wind and best of all the people!  

This is a long video (43 mins), so take your time and watch and learn because if you are a keen golfer, you must make the pilgrimage to St. Andrews at least once in your life, and this video might just inspire you to do that.   It is an experience that will never leave you!

Lee Buck Trevino (born December 1, 1939) is an American professional golfer who won six major championships over the course of his career. He is one of only four players to twice win the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship. The only major that eluded him was the Masters. He is an icon for Mexican Americans, and is often referred to as “The Merry Mex” and “Supermex”.

 

Source: hynodesignsclassics

If y0u are considering taking a trip to Scotland, click here to join Mel Sole and his group in 2017.

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Scotland vs Ireland – Which would you choose to play?

Scotland vs. Ireland – Which would you choose to play?

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

I have played golf in Scotland and Ireland several times, and to be honest, I could not tell you which one I enjoy the most. 

Each country has its own charms, with Scotland having a great golf history and tradition, but Ireland having beautiful courses and friendly people.  I don’t think you can beat a round of golf at the Old Course in St. Andrews, but golfing at Ballybunion or Lahinch in Ireland is spectacular.  Let Blain Newnham from cybergolf.com tell you his account of Scotland vs. Ireland.  It is not cut and dried!

Although we play year-round in the Pacific Northwest there are some days when it is better to stay inside and dream about golf, rather than try to play it. As much as I long for sun and warmth, my fantasy is always about returning to the British Isles, to play links golf where the game and its pursuit are random, unpredictable and adventuresome.

 

 

 

But where? Invariably – although a disservice to England and Wales – the discussion comes down to Scotland or Ireland. We’re more sophisticated about it all now with the advent of post-modern links golf in America at places like Bandon Dunes and Chambers Bay, and even inland with courses like Sand Hills, Erin Hills and Gamble Sands, spectacular if in out-of-the-way locales.

But no matter how wonderful our new courses might be, they don’t have Old Tom Morris looking over your shoulder, with a glass of single malt in hand.

My first trip to the British Isles to play golf was in 1991, although I had reported on the 1986 Open Championship at Turnberry, Scotland, and absolutely loved the possibility of returning.

Scotland vs Ireland – Which would you choose to play?

Scotland vs Ireland - Which would you choose to play?

Aerial View of Royal Dornoch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One member of my group – we were four guys who had golfed together since our college days at Berkeley and were now turning 50 – had played extensively in Scotland. I pushed for Ireland, and when we were finished he concluded that if you could live without playing the Old Course at St. Andrews, Ireland was better than Scotland.

In 1991, it wasn’t that difficult to get a tee time at Ballybunion. And green fees at a place like Royal Portrush were $35.

We landed in Dublin, squeezed into a rental car and took off for Portrush in Northern Ireland. From there it was an adventure around the entire island – Portrush, Royal County Down, Portmarnock, then across to Lahinch, Ballybunion, Waterville, Dooks and Killarney.

Spectacular. On a trip eight years later, we did the Atlantic Coast – Sligo, Donegal, Narin & Portnoo, the old course at Rosapenna, Portsalon, both courses at Ballyliffin, Enniscrone, Carne, Connemara and to cap it, a return trip to Lahinch.

 

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A few years ago, I made one more trip to Ireland, this time concentrating on the Dublin area. We played Portmarnock again along with places like the Island Club near Portmarnock and Pat Ruddy’s European Club, and then north to Royal County Down and Royal Portrush, but also County Louth and Ardglass, both wonderful courses.

So, I’m an Ireland guy, right? Not so fast.

To read the rest of Blain Newnham’s interesting article, click here.

Source: Cybergolf.com

Pictures: Aidan Bradley   cybergolf.com

Thanks for reading – Scotland vs Ireland – Which would you choose to play?

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6 Things you need to know on your first trip to Scotland or Ireland.

6 Things you need to know on your first trip to Scotland or Ireland.

6 Things you need to know on your first trip to Scotland or Ireland.

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

One of my year’s highlights is that in August of each year, I organize a group trip to either Scotland, Ireland, or South Africa.

I recently took a group to Scotland, and for all of them, it was their first trip over.   Although they all said it was a trip of a lifetime, most of them said what Craig Better from golfvacationinsider.com has so accurately described below.  I have also found out the hard way, but all obstacles can be overcome if you plan ahead.

6 Things you need to know on your first trip to Scotland or Ireland.

18th hole and clubhouse St Andrews Old Course

Have you ever taken a golf trip “across the pond?” Do you remember “discovering” some things you wish you would have known in advance? I certainly do, and to this day, I’m shocked that nobody told me these important details…

6 Things you need to know on your first trip to Scotland or Ireland.

Jet Lag.

Most flights from North America are overnighters, during which you get little sleep (but sometimes lots of alcohol), so when you step off the plane early the next morning, your every instinct is to put your head in a bed. Advice I’d give a first timer: Don’t do it. Instead, take the latest flight you can and do whatever possible to sleep on the plane. But even if you can’t, just land then go play golf. The faster you get on local time, the better.

Rental Cars.

Again, while sleep deprived and bleary eyed, you’ll be expected to drive a stick-shift vehicle on the opposite side of the road (while sitting on the right-hand side and operating the stick with your left hand). Oh, and if you’re head isn’t already mixed up enough, you’ll usually have to navigate a traffic circle, or “roundabout,” within five minutes. Advice I’d give a first timer: Hire a driver, which is quite common over there. If you insist on driving, at least request an automatic transmission. And, get a mini van (or pack light). The rental cars tend to be quite small for groups with golf clubs.

Practice Facilities.

OK, so you’re less than alert and not ready for golf, but it’s nothing a few range balls can’t fix. Well, that’s a problem, too. While there are a few exceptions, you’re generally not going to find a practice range (or a conveniently located one) at the great, classic links courses in the UK and Ireland. Advice I’d give a first timer: Do some light stretching before you tee off and concentrate on just keeping your ball out of trouble for the first few holes.

6 Things you need to know on your first trip to Scotland or Ireland.

A group with caddies at Kingsbarns, Scotland

To see the other 3 things you need to know when playing Scotland and Ireland for the first time, go here!

Source: Golf Vacation Insider       Craig Better

Pictures: Gregory Stewart

Thanks for reading – 6 Things you need to know on your first trip to Scotland or Ireland.

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PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY CHANNEL, LIKE THIS VIDEO, SHARE IT WITH A FRIEND, LEAVE A COMMENT!