Meet the PerryGolf Concierge Drivers: Neil Cruickshank

 

PerryGolf’s Concierge Drivers play an essential part in any Customized or Escorted Tour. They fill many roles during your trip abroad – from recommending restaurants to sharing nuggets of local history and culture while also making certain every part of the Tour from the airport to the hotel to the first tee runs smoothly on schedule. This post is the first in an ongoing series, during which we’ll profile the devoted, diligent Concierge Drivers who help PerryGolf guests, Play the Game. See the World.    

One of Neil Cruickshank’s first encounters with golf occurred in 1977 at Turnberry.

Armed with a degree in hotel management, Cruickshank landed a job at the famous hotel adjacent to the course in Scotland where American legends Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus staged their epic Duel in the Sun in The 106th Open.

The evening after the final round, Nicklaus, accompanied by wife Barbara, entered the hotel’s main dining room. They received a standing ovation and hearty round of applause from the other diners and guests, Cruickshank recalls. Minutes later, Watson entered to a polite, yet somewhat muted response. Perhaps the young American had yet to fully win the hearts of Scotland; their special mutual relationship accelerated that day, however, as Watson’s second consecutive 65 nipped Nicklaus and earned his second Claret Jug. He finished his career with five, tying the modern record, and, at age 59, missed a sixth by inches at Turnberry in 2009.

The storied Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry, as it’s known today, remains one of Cruickshank’s favorite places to take his PerryGolf clients. He’s spent the last two years as a Concierge Driver, after enjoying a long, successful career in the hotel and service industry. A golfer for 50-odd years, he’s never played the game particularly well but that hasn’t curbed his enthusiasm for rounds on legendary links like Royal Dornoch or Turnberry, which he feels is even better following architect Martin Ebert’s massive renovation in 2016.

Regardless the destination, Cruickshank, 59, enjoys his role as Tour host because of the friendships and relationships built during the week-to-10-days spent together.

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“It’s two-fold,” Cruickshank said in a phone interview. “We’re making the trips a trip of a lifetime for a guy, seeing their enjoyment and excitement of the trip. We deal with all the detail. That’s all it takes and seeing all that is exciting. Meeting the new people and going back to old style hotel keeping where you are really taking care of your customers.”

Cruickshank possesses enormous pride in all portions of his native Scotland, from the rich culture to the natural beauty and certainly the golf which is beyond compare. He’s also a particularly fervent supporter of the national rugby union team and plans to travel to Japan to support them in the World Cup in 2019.

Then again, traveling is old hat for Cruickshank. Clad in a kilt, he was a volunteer greeter during the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine and ranks that as perhaps the ultimate sporting experience. The journey to Minnesota also enabled him to reconnect with former PerryGolf clients who reside in the States and have become friends through the years. It’s not unusual for Cruickshank to receive a photo text message when one is playing a top 100 layout on a particularly pleasant day, trying to make him a touch jealous – all in good fun, of course.

These relationships are the backbone of the experience for Cruickshank.

“It’s strange how quickly it does develop,” he said. “When you meet them at the airport they are so excited, like children at Christmastime or in a candy store. They are a joy to be with and that becomes infectious.”

“You get caught up with their excitement, just think about the next round of golf and talk about their previous round of golf, get to know them really quickly. There’s no barriers, away from their home environment, it’s quite amazing how much you learn about them and their family. You’re with them for big chunks of the day, really do build a bond with them.”

6 Nights, 6 Rounds in the Scottish Highlands and St. Andrews

Cruickshank relies on decades of experience in the service industry to determine the ideal agenda for each set of guests. Some might desire the fine dining options available across Scotland while others simply seek sustenance to survive until the next round of golf. Whatever their preference, his role as concierge driver demands that the clubs and luggage are always safe and secure while golfers arrive at the course well in advance of their starting time.

“Everything is labeled and I always check how many bags they have,” he said. “Many of our hotels have a golf storage. Each morning we get the clubs out and off we go. I check with the golf courses to make sure everything is in place. If caddies have been requested … we pride ourselves at PerryGolf on being one step ahead.”

The seasonal schedule (April – October due to daylight restrictions in the spring and fall) serves Cruickshank well at this point in his life. Married with three children, two of whom live in Glasgow and one who lives at home, serving as Concierge Driver on roads and in towns he knows so intimately enable him to provide a comfortable experience for all clients.

Memories lasting a lifetime are made on these trips to golf’s most hallowed grounds. Links that have tested the greatest golfers through the generations accompanied by dozens of hidden gems make every trip unforgettable and golfers anxious to return. Years like this one, which have been dry and seasonably warm, only amplify the expectations. With drivers like Cruickshank behind the wheel, clients feel confident they’ll be steered around Scotland in the best of hands.

2021 Open Championship – Old Course at St Andrews

PerryGolf guests on our 2015 Open Championship Golf Cruise enjoyed Sunday attendance to The Open at St Andrews
The 150th Open Championship returns to St Andrews, Scotland in 2021 as the Old Course plays host for the 30th time, from July 15-18, 2021. Most recently the Old Course at St Andrews hosted The Open in 2015, when Zach Johnson was crowned Champion Golfer of the Year after defeating Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen in a four hole playoff. Read more “2021 Open Championship – Old Course at St Andrews”

Everything You Need to Know About The Old Course & St Andrews

VIEW RECORDING - How To Get A Tee Time On The Old Course At St Andrews

Everything You Need to Know About The Old Course & St Andrews

In the WEBINAR PODCAST, Gordon Dalgleish – President of PerryGolf – explained the various options available for arranging play on golf’s original course plus he shared some advice on how to play this most idiosyncratic of links courses. We also talked about the local lodging choices along with a few minutes about the “Auld Grey Toon” herself which is every bit as interesting as the golf.

The Old Course is a remarkable round of golf. Obviously because of the history. Certainly because of the surroundings. But when you know that even though it hasn’t changed materially since 1794 – yet it hosted its 29th Open Championship in 2015 – it’s clear this is a golf course that stands the test of time (and technology) unlike any other in the world. The uniqueness of the experience is why we have built our company around St Andrews.

The 2018 season begins an important era at the Old Course of St Andrews. St Andrews Links Trust takes back control of the allocation of all their commercial starting times, the responsibility for which was outsourced to a third party for the past twenty years. PerryGolf has done business with St Andrews Links Trust since 1984, the longest such relationship of any existing tour operator. PerryGolf has accepted an invitation to become an Authorized Provider, and in doing so continues this long held and valued association with the Trust. Our season long allocation of starting times for 2018 ensures we are in a very strong position to accommodate clients from around the world who seek to make the pilgrimage to the Home of Golf with secure and guaranteed advance arrangements to play The Old Course.


Sample Tours – Scotland Golf Packages

Early Booking deposit is only $500* per person.
Plus, any booking deposited by September 15 that includes the Old Course will receive a $400 credit to our First or Business Class fares with British Airways. Details here.

Turnberry & St Andrews
6 Nights | 6 Rounds

St Andrews & Aberdeen
6 Nights | 6 Rounds

Scottish Highlands & St Andrews
6 Nights | 6 Rounds

 

Golf, Castles & Gardens
7 Nights | 4 Rounds | 3 Garden Tours

 
Plan your own Golf Vacation with PerryGolf
We always welcome the chance to assist you personally on

800.344.5257 or Information@PerryGolf.com.

Plan your own Golf Vacation with PerryGolf
To learn more about the Old Course and its history, click here.

How To Get A Tee Time on the Old Course, St Andrews

2018 Availability for the Old Course, St Andrews - PerryGolf is an Authorised Provider of Guaranteed Tee Times

VIDEO - Click To Watch

 

 

About the Author: Harrison Gould is the Social Media Marketing Manager of PerryGolf, a leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Kingsbarns Golf Links, Fife, Scotland

Kingsbarns Golf Links, Fife, Scotland 
Golf dates to 1793 on the site where Kingsbarns Golf Links is found today, overlooking the North Sea 7 miles east of St Andrews. Everything changed in 2000 when Kyle Phillips reinvented links golf with the opening here of the game’s first “modern classic” links layout. Read more “Kingsbarns Golf Links, Fife, Scotland”

The Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland

The Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland
Truly it’s remarkable that the game of golf continues to revolve around the course that gave it birth over 600 years ago. One of the oldest golf courses in the world, the Old Course at St Andrews is referred to by many as the “Home of Golf.” Read more “The Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland”