Edinburgh is a city like no other; chiefly because it’s actually two cities fused together in one spectacular setting.
The medieval Old Town is an atmospheric tangle of gothic buildings, narrow alleys, cobbled streets and venerable monuments.
The elegant New Town is a masterpiece of neo-classical architecture, boasting broad streets, refined shopping and dining, world-class museums and beautiful parks.
Both the Old and New Towns have been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in recognition of their unique qualities.
Meanwhile, overlooking all, towers Edinburgh Castle. Like the rest of the city, it manages to be two things at the same time; an imposing fortress and a spectacular royal palace.
At College Links Golf, we encourage any visiting guests to spend a bit of time in Edinburgh. This tour takes things a step further – using Edinburgh as a base for a week-long golf tour which, like the city itself, fuses together two different but brilliant elements; unforgettable golf and taking in the sights of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Each of the courses on our tour is within an hour’s drive of our city-centre accommodation, ensuring you’ll have plenty of time to explore without sacrificing time on the links.
We’ll meet you at Edinburgh Airport and transfer by private coach to our accommodation. For this tour, we’ve selected the four star Doubletree Hotel, situated in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. There will be some time to freshen up and grab a spot of lunch before we head to the first golfing appointment of our Scottish adventure.
Longniddry is not just a great Scottish word, it’s also home to a charming golf course which provides a perfect introduction to golf in this part of the world. The layout here is an intriguing mix of parkland and links. Several holes, particularly on the front nine, wind their way through mature woodlands but at several points the layout descends to the shore for a true links experience.
After our round we’ll have dinner at Longniddry’s welcoming clubhouse before returning to our hotel to rest after a long, but hopefully enjoyable, day.
We’ll have an early breakfast before making the journey north into the Kingdom of Fife. This small county used to be a kingdom in its own right and it remains a royal destination for golfers, boasting some of the finest tests in the world. One such test is Leven Links, a traditional links challenge featuring rolling fairways, pot bunkers, ancient sand dunes and, quite possibly, the best closing hole in all Scotland.
The course has a proud history of hosting prestigious events, including final qualifying for the Open Championship on many occasions. Skill, not power, is the key here. Pot bunkers and patches of horrendous rough lie in wait for the player who strays from the prescribed line, while the small, slick greens require a delicate touch. When the wind blows, and it usually does, Leven is a compelling challenge for the best players.
And then there’s that closing hole. A long par four, playing to a green protected by a burn to the front and right, and out of bounds to the left and rear. Only the truest approach will hold the putting surface. It’s a heroic climax to a fun layout. We’ll have lunch at the Leven Golfing Society clubhouse, overlooking the 18th green, giving us a chance to watch the action unfold on the dramatic closing hole.
On return to Edinburgh, the rest of the day is yours to explore the city.
Gullane Number One
After breakfast we head east, into one of the finest stretches of golfing country in the world. A succession of magnificent links courses are strung along the Lothian Coast, including Muirfield, North Berwick and today’s destination, Gullane Number One. This unassuming village of 2,500 thousand people lives and breaths golf. There are no fewer than five 18-hole links courses, and each is a pleasure to play. Muirfield gathers most of the attention but the Number One course at Gullane is a championship test of golf in its own right. It’s hosted the men’s and women’s Scottish Open on the European Tour, the Scottish Amateur Championship and Open Final Qualifying on multiple occasions.
Number One is unusual for a links in that it’s laid out on a hilltop. This allows for spectacular 360 views and makes particular demands on shotmaking when the wind whips in from the North Sea. The layout, which dates back to 1884, is renowned for its strategic bunkering which means careful shot selection from the tee is essential to build a decent score.
We’ll take lunch at Gullane’s visitors’ clubhouse after our round and there will be time to explore the neighbouring golf museum before we head back into Edinburgh.
A change of pace today. We’re returning to Fife but, instead of making for the coast, we are heading inland to one of Scotland’s unsung gems. Ladybank is a classic example of heathland golf, a challenging test of heather-fringed fairways set amongst pine and silver birch forests. The course has recently benefit from a comprehensive renovation of its fearsome bunkers and is one of Scotland’s finest inland challenges.
The first hole gives a good indication of what’s to come. A subtly dog-legging par four to a well-guarded green, framed by towering trees. Building a score here requires solid game management and a sure touch with the putter, Ladybank’s greens are some of the smoothest and slickest in the country.
After lunch at the clubhouse, we’ll venture back into Edinburgh. After some time to freshen up, we’ll take part in an evening tour of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Our guide will bring to life the rich history of this ancient quarter and we’ll round the evening off with a traditional Scottish supper in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.
North Berwick is a course like no other, but that’s not to say some holes doesn’t seem familiar when it’s played for the first time. That’s because some of the holes here have inspired similar versions at courses around the world. The par 3 15th, for example, is the original ‘Redan’ hole, while the Biarritz green at the 16th – two distinct putting areas separated by a deep hollow – has many imitators.
Throughout the course, North Berwick’s distinct charm shines through. There are carries over beaches, fairways framed by billowing sand dunes and, in one memorable case, a green tucked directly behind a stone wall. Like the Old Course at St Andrews, a round at North Berwick concludes in the heart of the town. The 18th is a driveable par four, where closing putts are sunk in front of passing townsfolk going about their daily businesses. They sometimes stop to watch if a golfer has a particularly tasty-looking approach. A well-played shot might even get a quick nod of appreciation.
We will take lunch in North Berwick’s elegant clubhouse, a chance to soak in the atmosphere of this very special place, before returning to Edinburgh for the remains of the day.
Gleneagles (Kings/PGA Centenary)
Eat hearty this morning because we are going to engage in a bit of friendly competition today. The University of Stirling is one of Europe’s leading golf programs. Today we will challenge them in their own backyard – and what a backyard it is! The world-famous Gleneagles resort is a golfer’s paradise. Three magnificent courses laid out in splendid Highland scenery, each offering a different but equally thrilling test.
We will play our match on either the Kings or PGA Centenary courses, depending on availability. The Kings is a majestic layout, boasting rolling fairways and expansive greens. The PGA Centenary is a Jack Nicklaus signature design, with dramatic water features and expansive bunkering. It proved a successful host venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup and 2019 Solheim Cup matches. Whichever course we play, a memorable golfing experience is guaranteed.
After our round we’ll have lunch with the Stirling golfers at the legendary Dormy House, which has been pampering golfers at Gleneagles for nearly one hundred years.
The stately links at Muirfield is one of the world’s best golf courses and the perfect place to round off our Scottish adventure. A masterpiece of design, the home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers has hosted the Open Championship 16 times and the list winners emphasises the quality of the course; Walter Hagen, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and Phil Mickleson have all lifted the Claret Jug here.
Muirfield’s design is an architectural masterpiece. No more than two holes are routed in the same direction, meaning the golfer faces a constant variety of wind directions; clever sculpting around the bunkers means any poorly hit shot is almost certain to receive a sandy punishment and, while there are few forced carries, a timid shot from the tee almost always results in a proportionately more difficult approach.
There’s nothing so vulgar as a signature hole at Muirfield, but the course’s collection of par threes are rightly lauded. None rely on length as a defence but playing all four in level threes is a considerable achievement for even the greatest player.
We’ll don jacket and tie to experience dinner in the legendary dining room of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, surrounded by a wealth of golfing memorabilia.
On return to Edinburgh, we’ll have a final, farewell dinner together at a venue on the city’s famous Royal Mile. A fitting end to an unforgettable tour.
After breakfast we wish you a fond farewell as we take you back to the airport for your return journey home.
Your tour includes:
- Four star accommodation in Edinburgh city centre, including breakfast
- Tee times at golf courses as specified
- Transfers to and from Edinburgh Airport
- Transportation by luxury coach to and from all golf venues
- A guided tour of Edinburgh’s Old Town, including a three course meal
- Farewell dinner
- Services of a College Links Golf ambassador for the duration of your visit
* Dollar prices are for indication only. All College Links Golf fees are paid in pounds sterling.