The 2015 golf season is fast approaching and Scotland gears up ready for the next influx of golfing enthusiasts. Here is what’s new across a selection of the country’s most visited links courses.
1. Nairn Golf Club’s Halfway House
The modest winter restoration of Nairn Golf Club’s halfway house will likely go unnoticed to most however the project at the turn of the course is sure to add taste and smell to an already satisfying golf experience. Helped by its staging of the 1999 Walker Cup and more recently the 2012 Curtis Cup, Nairn has always been a popular stop on a golf vacation to Scotland. The recent improvements with the visitor in mind include a museum room in the clubhouse showcasing the first documented recording of golf being played on the links dating back to 1887, new driving range facilities and improved pro shop. That said its likely to be the transformation of the old fish store that will be the most impressionable improvement this coming season.
Cruden Bay just got better, no honestly! The transformation this winter has seen the hillside cambering 9th repositioned to capitalise on the cliff edged setting. Previous visitors to Cruden will recall two aspects of this old 9th, the climb from the sleepy 8th green and the view from the top. Don’t fret, both aspects remain but the extra 10 yard climb to the 9th tee is most definitely worth it. From here golfers can count 12 holes of the course including a birds eye view of the iconic bathtub green on the 14th. Other works at Cruden Bay include a re-routing of the 10th tee, a knock on affect from the work carried out on the 9th while the work at the par 3 16th is perhaps the most impressive. All the work mentioned here was overseen by architects Mackenzie and Ebert, known for their restoration of historical links courses. We await your judgement.
As the course continues to gather rave reviews from a growing number of visiting golfers, construction of the new and improved permanent clubhouse this winter should finally provide an equal experience off the course. The new 5,000sq ft building has been designed to provide views over the course with an extended terrace area with the usual amenities inside. While the temporary building was an efficient setup and satisfactory for the opening of the course in 2012, this new clubhouse signifies the next phase in the Donald Trump project. While attention naturally draws south towards Turnberry, the continued improvements here at the Great Dunes of Scotland certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.
4. Kingsbarns’ New Whisky Distillery
Just miles from St Andrews the perfect combination of golf and whisky awaits visitors in the sleepy coastal town of Kingsbarns. The new distillery with visitor centre was opened before the New Year by family distillers Wemyss and is situated on the perimeter of the golf course. As the Open returns to St Andrews in July neighbouring courses such as Kingsbarns and Carnoustie surprisingly note a downturn in business by the perceived inaccessibility of the courses. So if you really needed another reason to visit Kingsbarns Golf Links this summer, the offer of an educated dram or two should do the trick.
Known to only the purist golf enthusiasts is the Machrie links on the Isle of Islay. Logistics to the far west island home to no fewer than eight whisky distilleries, prevented visitors making the pilgrimage. Recent investment however has seen this tired hotel and course complex undergo a twenty-first century makeover. The course redesign incorporates yet utilized larger dunes on site while also allowing the removal of a number of repetitive blind shots. Remaining open throughout the restoration work a visit here in 2015 and beyond is a must for anyone seeking authentic golf away from the mainland. Start familiarising yourself with the names of Machrie, Askernish, Machrihanish and Shiskine as Scotland’s next great golf destination takes shape.
Stay with us as we continue our winter series profiling Scotland’s best links golf courses you will likely visit on a golf vacation to Scotland in 2015. Subscribe on itunes.
For Scottish golf course reviews including a St Andrews Story section where golfers are asked to share their visit to St Andrews check out co host Graylyn Loomis’ website.
If left with any questions don’t hesitate to contact Ru or Graylyn by emailing email@example.com.