The Machrie – a Scottish experience

The Islay coastline, with the Mull of Kintyre in the distance
The Islay coastline, with the Mull of Kintyre in the distance

Islay is truly one of the hidden gems of Scottish tourism. It is a relatively popular destination for Scots seeking a peaceful vacation on an idyllic island known for its whisky production and slower pace of life. There are only 3,500 residents on Islay, which is reachable by air from Glasgow & Edinburgh in addition to regular ferry service from mainland ports.

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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.

Recent Visit to The Machrie, Isle of Islay, Scotland [Thru Our Eyes]

The Machrie, Isle of Islay, Argyll and Bute, Scotland - PerryGolf.com
The Machrie Links, Isle of Islay, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. (Picture Credit / Phil Inglis)
 

By Cameron Reid
Vice President, Sales & Operations

The Machrie on the Island of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland, had always been a favorite of mine having visited it many times since the 1990’s. Islay is famous as the source of world class malt whisky due to its heavily peat soil which creates a very distinctive flavor of whisky. The golf course was as traditional a Scottish links as you could find with as many as 8 blind tee shots and 8 blind approaches, a throwback to a different era. You had to play it on several occasions to learn the correct lines and how to play in the different conditions that face you. It wasn’t a long course but it didn’t need to be, however you had to find the fairway and that is where the difficulty lay. It was a special place to play golf, the feeling of isolation, just you versus the course and the elements. It was however not for everyone, you could say the course was too hard even for the average player, the blind shots combined with rough so thick you rarely found a ball that missed the fairway. Read more “Recent Visit to The Machrie, Isle of Islay, Scotland [Thru Our Eyes]”

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”

How To Attend The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019

The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019 shall see a significant change in the distribution of tickets to the Championship when sold as part of a travel package. Whereas previously, an untold number of companies could include daily or weekly tickets as part of their “travel package”, effective in 2019, only authorized companies can do so. Read more “How To Attend The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019”