Alan Greenwood is a Director of College Links Golf.
1 Favourite five
Rank your top five golf courses in Scotland with a one-word explanation of why each course has made it on your list
Carnoustie – Rigorous
Turnberry (Ailsa) – Eyecandy
North Berwick – Absorbing
Cruden Bay – Rollercoaster
Royal Dornoch – Spellbinding
2 Groundhog golf
If you could play just one Scottish course, over and over again, which course would you choose and why?
The 1562 Course at Montrose. It’s great fun to play and testing without being beyond the skill of a hacker like me! The early stretch along the shoreline is stunning and the back nine has a great mix of holes. It’s long enough without ever feeling like a slog and the putting surfaces are beautiful. It’s also compact – there’s no great hikes between tees and greens, so you can zip round in two and a half hours without any fuss.
3 Hidden gems
Scotland is full of great courses that hardly anyone has ever heard of – what’s your favourite and what makes it special?
Dead heat between Murcar and Shiskine. Murcar is a fantastic links just outside Aberdeen with a great variety of holes. Friendly clubhouse, too. Shiskine is a 12-hole course tucked away on a quiet corner of the Isle of Arran. You play up cliffs, down cliffs, over dunes and round dunes. Buy a day ticket and play 36 holes – you’ll have a smile on your face for weeks.
4 Links lessons
What’s the single most important piece of advice you’d give to someone who was playing links golf for the first time?
Unfair bounces are part of the deal!
5 Off course
What’s the one off-course activity that any golfer coming to Scotland should experience?
Get into the wilderness, even if it’s only for a short while. Scotland’s not a big country so you’re never more than a couple of hours’ drive from some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
6 This much I know …
What words of wisdom would you give to a student golfer visiting Scotland?
Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track. It’s understandable that visitors want to play the famous courses but getting away from the big venues can be hugely rewarding, too. There’s a real sense of adventure about heading out to places like Southerness, Cruden Bay or Machrihanish.