Ireland and Scotland – Great Golf Holidays
Simply put, Scotland and Ireland are the two ultimate golf destinations in the world.
No other locales exemplify the true tradition of the ancient game invented by Scottish shepherds
over 500 years ago in the Kingdom of Fife.
Today, both countries are chockablock with joyously dramatic seaside links-style courses playing through incredible dune land just like the first golfer in recorded history, Mary Queen of Scots, played on in the 1500s.
For nearly three decades, Dublin-based Carr Golf, winner of Golf Digest Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award as 2016’s “Best Tour Operator,” and led by executive chairman and golf vacation expert Marty Carr, has built its reputation on creating the ultimate golf escapes to Ireland and Scotland. We recently interviewed him for tips and ideas on planning these “bucket list” golf getaways with the clubs in tow.
The Family Game
Carr, the youngest of six siblings, comes from one of the most famous golfing families in Ireland as his father J.B. Carr was a heralded player. When asked about his early golf life he says, “When I was growing up, my father was in the twilight of his career. He was probably Europe’s best amateur player in the 1950’s and 60’s. He won 40 championships including three prestigious British Amateurs, which were considered ‘majors’ in those days.”
When asked what sets Carr Golf apart from other golf tour companies he says, “We’re all about providing an exceptional trip for our clients. We deliver a unique VIP experience for golfers wanting to play the best courses in the world. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and having a ‘no stone left unturned” approach to customer service. No request is too difficult. You name it; we do it. Most importantly, golf is in our DNA and it’s like we’re going on the trip with you.”
The World’s Greatest Golf Courses
Carr stresses that when considering which golf tour company to work with, you need to ask the right questions. “First, you need to have a budget because that really dictates what tour company you should be talking to. It’s important to know or seek advice on what courses you want to play, the number of rounds, the number of days, whether you want to self-drive or have a coach, the type of accommodations you prefer, really all the nuts and bolts of the daily itinerary. You can do it yourself or bring in someone like Carr Golf to make it hassle-free. We work with all sizes of groups from large to small and provide them with exactly the experience they seek.”
Know What You Want
Carr offers advice for someone taking a golf tour in Ireland for the first time: “It all depends on how long you’d like to travel. But assuming you’re coming from North America, for vacations of a week or so duration, consider either a trip to the southwest of Ireland, the north/northwest or in and around the Dublin area. These are all fun destinations by themselves with clusters of some of the greatest golf courses in the world. For longer trips, consider doing two or all three regions.”
Carr continues, “One of the biggest factors we often find for how much ground a client wants to cover is whether they want to drive themselves or have a tour guide who chauffeurs them around the country. Many folks from North America feel uncomfortable driving on the other side and the roads can be a bit narrower than they’re used to. Our guides are top-notch and can certainly make a golf vacation even more enjoyable. They know the lay of the land for any additional requests for sightseeing or local restaurants. They handle all the little things like getting the luggage to your room and golf clubs to the courses. It’s money well spent.”
For first-time visits to the birthplace of golf, Carr stresses that it’s important to know the lay of the land. “Scotland has three main regions: the west coast with incredible courses like Turnberry, Troon and Prestwick; the east coast highlighted by St. Andrews, the birthplace of the game with its iconic Old Course; and the Scottish Highlands with exceptional links courses like Brora and Royal Dornoch. Again, these areas all have clusters of great golf courses, many hosting multiple British Opens.”
It’s All in the Links
But what makes golf in Scotland and Ireland so intriguing and special? “I think it’s the fact that we have ‘links-style’ golf courses. The definition of ‘links’ comes from the Old English word ‘hlinc’ which describes the arable strip of land adjacent to the sea. These areas are fairly unique to the U.K. and Ireland and ideal for incredible courses. On top of this, you have very friendly people, good food, great pints, safe environments, and, most importantly, good ‘craic!’”
Carr also speaks of the many sights and activities for those who don’t play the game but travel with those who do. “There are loads of activities for non-golfers. The scenic attractions are spectacular whether it’s the Cliff of Moher or the Giants Causeway. The villages throughout the country have real character: There are world-class shopping and spas, distillery tours at Bushmills in Northern Ireland and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, and, of course, hundreds and hundreds of friendly, welcoming pubs.”
Go Out Swinging
Ireland and Scotland are the best golf destinations in the world. Let Marty Carr and his staff take care of everything. For more information on Carr Golf visit www.carrgolf.com, 1.855.617.5701 (U.S. toll-free) or +353.1.822 6662.
Ireland and Scotland have golfing down to a tee. Get into the swing of things and find cheap flights to Dublin, Cork or Edinburgh from USA or Canada for the golf holiday of your dreams.
Photos: Courtesy of Carr Golf