SCOTLAND

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For golfers the world over there is a draw to Scotland pretty much unlike any other in the world.  It is the spiritual home of golf and the scene of many great moments in the history of the game. It is home to 14 of the top 100 courses in the world - all within a few hours drive in a county of a mere 5 million people.   Nowhere in the world is there such a concentration of great golf and yet it is also incredibly accessible.  With a little planning you can play at virtually any course in the land (only Loch Lomond is a real problem) and walk in the steps of the founding fathers of the game.

In planning a trip to Scotland you are really spoilt for choice and for the overseas visitor it is attractive to put together a bucket-list itinerary.  My only caution would be that if you are constantly packing up a car and moving to the next stop you may not have the chance to stop and smell the roses.  Basing yourself in just one or two areas and playing around there has a real attraction. Obvious candidates are East Lothian, the South-West, Fife, the North-East or the North.  In each of these you could play some of the most famous courses in the world but also add in some of the local gems which will probably stick in your minds for years to come. You will also get the chance to get a feel for the area and meet some of the characters who make Scottish golf such a unique experience.

While the very top courses are often eyewateringly expensive there are deals to be found - whether in the evenings, by combining certain courses or coming a little out of season - and I have tried to include some of those tips on these pages.  You can also enjoy a range of accommodation at prices to serve pretty much every wallet and the Scottish food and drink scene also offers plenty, despite oft-held views of those from outside!

When it comes to a good time of year to visit it would be hard to pick out any one time but often the shoulder season can be well worth looking at.  May, September and October can all be good months weather-wise and the courses will be a little less busy than the height of summer and there will be deals to be had on green fees and hotels.   

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