The Best Quick Tips for St Andrews, Scotland

St. Andrews, Scotland – the “Home of Golf” – is a fascinating, vibrant Scottish town facing the North Sea with all of the vagaries of weather this tumultuous body of water brings to the shoreline. For golfers who desire to understand the historical, societal link that exists in Scotland between golf and the greater community, a visit to St. Andrews provides some wonderful insight. Here are The Best Quick Tips for St Andrews, Scotland.

The Best Quick Tips for St Andrews, Scotland
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Part 4: Golf, Friends & Fancourt, South Africa

Welcome Function

Drinks and dinner the first night were a success – the group gelled nicely and the conversation was vibrant with constant laughter. Pairings had been thoughtfully made in advance, based on personal requests and years of experience. Our round on the Montagu Course at Fancourt the following day was terrific. The weather was ideal. The course was in great shape.

Dinner on the second night was at Henry White’s, in the formal dining room at the Manor House. In order not to stress the kitchen, we staggered the seating over 90 minutes, which worked out very well. An impromptu party broke out in the bar after dinner and the first full day on tour was now in the history books.

Day 2 of golf, consisted of a 40-minute coach ride to Pinnacle Point….South Africa’s answer to the Old Head in Ireland. We enjoyed a spectacular day with a steady breeze and glorious scenery. 

Upon returning to the Manor House and short downtime, we congregated for a casual dinner at La Cantina, the Italian restaurant at Fancourt. As the tour progressed, the convivial, welcoming atmosphere accelerated. In our marketing materials we speak of “like-minded” travelers, and this group is the very essence of that description.

Our third round of golf was at Africa’s top-rated course and venue for the 2003 President’s Cup, The Links at Fancourt. It was exceptional. It is a difficult but wonderfully manicured course and the clubhouse experience is similarly impressive.

After golf, the group enjoyed a BBQ in the clubhouse overlooking #18 green….it was an appropriate way to conclude our visit to Fancourt.

After a relaxing morning and with a tinge of sadness, our group departed Fancourt the following morning. Golf clubs and luggage were surfaced to our next venue. A simple, 40-minute flight to Cape Town and we were at the gorgeous Lanzerac property by early afternoon. More to follow…

Lanzerac Hotel

About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. View on LinkedIn.

Part 3: Arrival in South Africa

Fancourt - The Manor House - PerryGolf.com
Fancourt – The Manor House

I have long held the view that the first 15 minutes is the most important time period when you arrive at a hotel as it starts to define your experience. The same can often be said when you arrive at a destination – there is nothing worse than a long wait for a few overworked, immigration officers.

Our arrival into Jo’burg mirrored that of all our clients with your name on a sign at the top of the jet bridge. Regardless of how well-traveled you are, that simple interaction removes so much anxiety…you are with a local. Movement through an airport with a friendly face and local connection removes the needs for the reading of signage. Check-in for the domestic flight and access to a lounge facility is the next step. All went well.

Arrival into George  Airport was similarly easy. The driver has a sign outside baggage claim and 10 minutes later we are checking into the Manor House at Fancourt.

To be clear, Fancourt is a wonderful resort, but the Manor House is 18 suites with exceptional service inside that environment. First Class within a premium experience. Our group of 15 couples had virtual exclusive use and the camaraderie from the first evening was palpable…like-minded has never been a truer expression!  Dinner, drinks, laughs, comparing notes and clubs, overlapping friends…it was a memorable first evening and set the tone for the next 12 days.

The next morning, golf was thoughtfully arranged at noon, golf carts to the front door of The Manor House and off we go with sunny skies and 72 degrees, light breeze.

About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. View on LinkedIn.

Distilleries enhance the allure of St Andrews

Any trip to St. Andrews will certainly, hopefully, thankfully include a round on the Old Course, a couple rounds at the Dunvegan and a stroll around the campus of Scotland’s oldest university, where William and Kate met as students.

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Old Tom Morris designed the St Andrews New Course which opened in 1895. Avoid the bunkers.

Wander to the banks of the harbor and gaze across the North Sea toward Carnoustie. Tackle the New Course (which isn’t so New after all) or perhaps venture to the lovely Kingsbarns, a modern gem among the classics.

Tour the ruins of the Castle and the Cathedral, stroll the lovely streets in the quaint village, eat lunch at the St Andrews Links Trust and return to the Fairmont St. Andrews on the outskirts to absorb a scintillating sunset and majestic view of the town.

Then again, there are many other ways to enjoy the Home of Golf.

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Taking the time to tour one of the local distilleries is a fascinating experience that will reveal the method, nuance, time and skill required to craft world-class whisky, beer or, even gin.

About three miles northwest of St. Andrews is Eden Mill, Scotland’s first single site brewery and distillery. The Haig Family made spirits on the property throughout the 19th century, and current ownership revived operations in 2012.

Eden Mill combines an excellent water source to an outstanding, experienced international team of distillers, producing a palate pleasing product that aims to be the world’s best small batch single malt whisky.

The operation expands further in the summer of 2020 enabling Fife’s top tourist attraction to double from 25,000 to 50,000 the number of visitors it can accommodate annually.

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While Eden Mill is an obvious starting point for a guest wanting to learn more about the fabric and backbone of Scotland, there are other options available near St. Andrews. On a summer day, delight in a refreshing gin-and-tonic produced in a farm cottage near Kingsbarns by brother-and-sister team William and Isabella Wemyss, proprietors of Darnley’s Gin. What makes their product unique? They say it best …

 We handcraft Darnley’s Original Gin using a combination of 6 botanicals including elderflower, coriander and lemon peel to create a classic juniper led gin that is smooth and elegant with fresh citrus and floral flavour. 

St Andrews is undoubtedly the home of golf – spiritual and physical – and nearby Lindores Abbey Distillery claims the title of ‘spiritual home of Scottish whisky. While you’ll have to wait until 2023 to sample the first run of the product, which was stored in Woodford Reserve and Old Forester bourbon barrels in 2017, it’s a fascinating trip to this 12th Century abbey and neighboring farm where whisky production dates to 1494 and King James IV.

After a 523-year hiatus, Drew MacDonald restored whisky production. Attention fans of the 1995 hit movie “Braveheart” or history buffs: William Wallace rested in Lindores Abbey after The Battle of Black Earnside in 1298 and the ruins are also open to the public.

Heading north out of St Andrews one arrives in the legendary Speyside region, in the northeast of Scotland, which has earned a global reputation by creating some of the best whisky in the world. The Macallan raised the bar in distilleries to a unprecedented level in 2018 when it opened a stunning £140 million building on the exquisite Easter Elchies Estate.

Golfers who enjoy a Scottish Highlands & St Andrews Customized Tour relish the opportunity to tour the majestic Macallan distillery and Visitor Center.

Reflections on a Great Golf and Sightseeing Experience in New Zealand

My first visit to New Zealand was 1989. At that stage the country had a few good courses but none with significant international profile. I am just returning from a two-week trip escorting a group of PerryGolf clients through the North and South Islands of New Zealand and can unequivocally say that New Zealand is one of the great golf and lifestyle destinations. The intervening 30 years has seen a remarkable evolution in the golf and hospitality industry. Read more “Reflections on a Great Golf and Sightseeing Experience in New Zealand”