Lockdowns…… shielding…..social distancing.
Economies put on hold. Travel put on hold. Lives put on hold. Sport put on hold. Medical and scientific advisors on daily government televised briefings.
Without any question this has been the strangest start to any golf season anyone can recall. Now we are getting back on the course, the first item we pack in the golf bag isn’t a pack of new balls, it’s our anti-bacterial hand wash. We have been out on the fairways in Scotland now for a couple of weeks and my own view is that the restrictions in place are a small price to pay in exchange for a chance to support our club officials, PGA pros, green-keeping staff, meet up with fellow members and simply get the golf juices flowing.
We are now looking at a provisional date of 15th July for hospitality and tourism businesses to start trading again. Everyone in Scotland recognises how important tourism in general is to our national economic health and Scottish golf tourism in particular makes a very significant contribution to the overall figure. Whilst this latest development is very welcome, we still have a number of travel barriers to deal with before we could resume anything like normal operations. We are now left in a situation where this year’s golf tourism season will be drastically reduced if not totally wiped out with many venues now hoping to attract golf visitors from within Scotland and the rest of the UK to compensate for lost revenue.
In response to this desperate time for our country’s clubs, hotels, restaurants and bars and critically the huge number of workers facing an uncertain future we need to focus on ensuring the strongest possible recovery over the next couple of seasons.
During my last “ good walk wasted “ on Monday night my playing partner started the discussion with me on Scotland’s best courses; the great links, the “ hidden gems “ and everything in between. At the end of our 2 hr 45 mins 18 holes stroll we came up with this first draft for our 3 ( weeks ) for 30 ( courses ) Grand Tour.
Feel free to agree, disagree, add, remove or better still get in touch to discuss and hopefully book.
Grand Tour Programme
Staying 3 nights Lochgreen House Hotel ( Troon )
Day 1 arrival Glasgow or Edinburgh airport, travel to Troon : Prestwick
Day 2 Royal Troon / Glasgow Gailes
Day 3 Turnberry ( Ailsa & Robert the Bruce )
Staying 3 nights Gleneagles Hotel
Day 4 Queen’s
Day 5 King‘s & PGA
Day 6 Blairgowrie ( Rosemount & Lansdowne )
Staying 3 nights Links House ( Dornoch )
Day 7 Tain
Day 8 Brora & Golspie
Day 9 Royal Dornoch
Day 10 Skibo Carnegie Links
Staying 2 nights Ness Walk ( Inverness )
Day 11 Castle Stuart
Day 12 Nairn & Nairn Dunbar
Staying 2 nights Chester Hotel ( Aberdeen )
Day 13 Cruden Bay & Trump International
Day 14 Murcar & Royal Aberdeen
Staying 4 nights Old Course Hotel ( St Andrews )
Day 15 Carnoustie
Day 16 Old Course
Day 17 Kingsbarns
Staying 3 nights Archerfield House
Day 18 Muirfield
Day 19 Gullane 1 & 2
Day 20 Archerfield ( Fidra & Dirleton )
Day 21 Departure
Three weeks, seven fabulous hotels, 540 holes of golf including all current Open Championship courses and travelling over 750 miles around Scotland from the Ayrshire coast through Perthshire to the Highlands; across to Aberdeenshire and down to The Home of Golf in Fife and along Scotland’s “ golf coast “ of East Lothian.
A fantastic journey for any passionate golfer and precisely what is needed after enduring this period of adversity.