Golf: “Off The Beaten Track” Series: Scotland

Introduction

This series introduces golf courses in remote locations or away from popular golf tour areas. They can be played as a complete individually tailored tour, or particular courses can be included or added to a popular tour.

Many of these golf courses are in dramatic or outstanding locations and can be combined with sightseeing. We have looked for quality courses and many of them are original layouts. They have been carefully selected for quality, interest and location. 

1. The Outer Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles

Getting there:

There are 15 inhabited islands and 50 uninhabited. Our typical tour visits Lewis, Harris, Benbecula, North Uist and South Uist. These islands are connected by causeways except that a short ferry crossing is needed from Harris to North Uist. There are airports on Lewis and Benbecula. Flights are available from a number of mainland cities including Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are also several different harbours for ferry crossings from the mainland.

A Typical Itinerary

There are 5 golf courses on the Islands. We have left out the course at Barra which is very short, also to limit the number of flights or ferry crossings. Our choice is six rounds playing two courses twice. This allows plenty of time to explore the islands. 

Sunday - Arrive at Stornoway Airport, met by AGS Representative, collect auto or meet your private driver/guide, drive to the 4* Cabarfeidh Hotel for 4 nights. 

Monday - Play Stornoway, a beautiful parkland 18-hole golf course in the grounds of the Lews Castle, just outside of the town. There are many height variations, it is well maintained and has delightful views over Stornoway and the coast.  5252 yards, Par68. 

Tuesday - Play Isle of Harris, a first class links golf course with many demanding holes and lots of natural hazards. It has been described as one of the most picturesque 9-hole courses in the world. The western edge of the course is a sweep of white sands, characteristic of the Hebrides. 4900 yards, Par 68.

Wednesday Play a second round on Stornoway. Although short by modern standards, mature trees, heather and gorse pose hazards for wayward shots. Experienced players can find it quite challenging. The club dates to 1890 but its original land was acquired by the Ministry of Defence in World War 2 and is now the site of the airport. 

Thursday – Cross by ferry from Leverburgh in South Harris to Bernerey and North Uist.

Play golf at Benbecula. It is a typical small island course with around 65 members who do their own maintenance. You leave your green fee (£20) in an ‘honesty box’, a real island golf club tradition.  It was originally laid out by soldiers of the Royal Artillery. 9 holes, 18 tees, 4179 yards, Par 62. Drive to the Polorchar Inn South Uist for 3 nights. 

Friday and Saturday Play Askernish Golf Club each day for a unique golfing experience blending history and natural beauty. The links were designed in 1891 by Old Tom Morris, one of the forefathers of professional golf. He created some of the best golf courses in the world. The course declined over time but in 2008 it was restored to the original design and has received the highest acclaim being described as the most natural course in the world.

Askernish delivers 18 holes of challenging links golf in some of the most beautiful island scenery in Scotland. Throughout the course you experience stunning golf on a course kept in great condition and with a historic pedigree.  The final 12 holes are through an outstanding system of dunes.

Sunday Depart by air or Ferry 

The Western Isles

The islands cover 130 miles from North to South, the main language is Scottish Gaelic but some areas have a majority of English speakers. The population is about 27,000 with the majority on Lewis and Harris and the remainder sparsely populated. Commercial activity is fishing, weaving, fishing and tourism. Historically the islands were part of the Norse kingdom for over 400 years. Sovereignty was passed to Scotland in 1266 and control was then by clan chiefs. The Highland clearances in the 19th century were devastating and the population decreased dramatically. 

Religion is an important part of local culture. Sundays are very special to the islanders. Many facilities are closed on Sundays although this has started to change recently. Music and sport are also significant to many islanders as is protection of the natural environment. The islands are known for their, spectacular wild scenery, diverse wildlife, breathtaking natural beauty and laidback friendly communities. Crofting activities are still part of everyday life including peat cutting, seaweed gathering and wool dying.  

The incredible machair lands and dunes along spectacular extensive beaches are brimming with flowers, birds, otters and other wildlife.  Machair is rare coastal grassland, unique to the north-western fringe of Europe and Scotland in particular.     

The islands are also known for their historic attractions:

The Callanish Stones form the best stone circle in Scotland and date from 2900 BC.  

Doune Carloway Broch – a circular dry stone tower dates to the Iron Age.

Gearrannan Blackhouse Village - is imbued in history and located in an environment of outstanding natural beauty.

Eilean Dòmhnuil on Loch Olabhat  is probably Scotland’s oldest crannog, an artificial island dwelling constructed around 3200–2800 BC.

Cladh Hallan is the only site where prehistoric mummies have been found in the UK

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