The REAL Scottish golf Experience:
Playing with Local Scots
...others have told me, “The club secretary set up a game with our four and four of their members. We played a set of match, team-play events in the morning and rehashed the results in the clubhouse over a 2-hour lunch. It was the best day of the trip.”
“I met a fellow on the putting green who suggested that the two of us go out for a round together. We had a great day and began what grew to be a lasting friendship. He and his wife have visited us in Alabama and we plan to go back to Scotland in two years.”
Scots deserve their reputation as friendly people, and none more so than Scottish golfers. They seem universally eager to share golf with visitors. They love “their” game and thoroughly enjoy hearing of other’s love for the game as well. They take justified pride in their Scotland golf courses and enjoy sharing “local knowledge” about how tricky holes might be approached.
And spending four hours on the course with visiting Americans is not the end of Scottish hospitality. Inevitably, the players end up back in the clubhouse where successful shots are reviewed, stories are shared, and discussions range from the growing dominance of world players on the US PGA tour to the utility of high-loft wedges on links golf courses. Following a time-honored Scottish tradition, when one member buys a round of drinks to enliven the talk, all others follow in turn and the afternoon slips away as memories are made and friendships forged.
After one such afternoon with a group of locals whom I had met only that morning, I found myself invited to the wedding of one of the player’s daughters the following Saturday. What an experience! The wedding was appropriately solemn and beautiful but the reception was uproarious. Food, music, dancing, laughter, singing… it lasted into the wee hours of the morning. When I finally stumbled toward a taxi at 2:30 am I recall my host’s parting words, “Wha? Ayr ya packin’ ih in sae arely?”
For many visiting Americans, these experiences with local players are what make the REAL Scottish golf experience. But, unfortunately, other visitors miss out. These are the folks who, having purchased a packaged tour, spent all their time on the course and in the hotel with other visiting Americans. The only Scots they meet are bus drivers and hotel clerks.
The only way to ensure that you have a REAL Scottish golf experience is to plan your own trip, stay at local Bed and Breakfast establishments or small Hotels, include in your itinerary a few of the wonderful local courses that are scattered across Scotland, plan to spend some time in the course clubhouse after the round and, above all, be open and ready to talk golf with the folks you encounter along the way.