Kingsbarns Golf Links has been voted the number one ranked new course in Britain and Ireland. The accolade, which can only go to courses built after 1960, was awarded by prestigious American magazine GolfWeek and was voted for by a panel compiled by the magazine who took a number of aspects into consideration. Second and third in the rankings also went to Scottish courses in the shape of Castle Stuart and Loch Lomond; so it was a major coup for the home of golf. It’ll be interesting to see where Trump’s course in Aberdeen will feature on the rankings next time they’re announced.
Anyone who has contacted PerryGolf regarding a trip to Scotland, and has spoken to me, will know that I agree wholeheartedly with this decision, as I consider Kingsbarns to be my favourite links course in the world. If you haven’t played it and you’re planning a trip to Scotland, be sure to include it on your list of ‘must plays’.
After much consideration, the European Tour announced today that the Barclays Scottish Open will relocate from Loch Lomond Golf Club to Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness. It is believed that the tournament will remain in the Highlands for 3 years and I’m sure the locals will welcome this news with open arms. Loch Lomond has hosted the event for the last 15 years and every year was a resounding success with large crowds ever present. I’m certain this tradition will remain now that Castle Stuart is taking over.
After its official opening in 2009, Castle Stuart has been on the receiving end of very high praise – and for what it’s worth, I was one of those who praised it. Being awarded with the Scottish Open is acclaim of the highest order. This is one of the European Tour’s biggest events and it attracts a top quality field on a yearly basis. I’d like to think that it’ll attract an even higher class field now that it will be played on a links course. This was always a major consideration for some players as the Scottish Open is played the week before The Open Championship. Loch Lomond is an outstanding course, but the parkland layout and soft fairways haven’t suited some players’ practice regimes the week before The Open.
One of the biggest tournaments on the European Tour calendar is set to move venue in a bid to lure some of the world’s biggest stars. The tournament, which is held the week before The Open Championship, is currently based at Loch Lomond GC and has been there since 1996. Loch Lomond is one of the best courses in the world but as it is a parkland style course; some bigger name players prefer to practice on a links course the week prior to the Open Championship. There has been speculation as to who the main contenders are and it seems as though it has been narrowed to 2 potential candidates – Castle Stuart near Inverness or The Renaissance Club in East Lothian. The Renaissance Club is the more mature of the two, having been open for two seasons, a pretty remarkable stat for the two main contenders for this highly regarded event.
Wherever you are in the Cameron House Hotel, you cannot help but notice the boats of all sizes enjoying the loch, and so we decided to join one of the daily cruises. The skipper of the Astinawas very knowledgeable and entertaining and I sensed we were in for a good trip around a few of the thirty-eight islands. We headed north away from the ‘busy’ end, past the famous Loch Lomond Golf Club and some of the larger islands and up to Tarbet where history has it noted that Viking raiders would drag their longships overland from the sea-lochs to the west. Turning back south we saw the cave where Rob Roy is reputed to have hidden (he was often in hiding from the law!) This is MacGregor country and there are many links to the infamous outlaw around the loch. The clan burial place lies on the island of Inchcailloch.
Our lunch stop was at the tiny (but very busy) village of Luss; with its sandy beaches, narrow lanes of tiny cottages and flowers everywhere, it’s a step back in time. There is a small sea-plane based there and we were just leaving as it flew in; an impressive sight below the mountain of Ben Lomond. The plane is apparently popular with golfers, as it can take them and their clubs to courses that are our hours away by road. Our return journey took in the larger islands, each with a story to tell and lots of rumours too. We didn’t see the wallabies on Inchconnachan, hear the ghostly bell on Inchtavannach, or catch sight of any nudists on Inchmurrin…but who could doubt that they are there?
By Yvonne Shaw. Yvonne has been with PerryGolf for over 10 years and is a member of the admin team.