Ryder Cup 2014: 5 Courses to Play in Scotland
The Ryder Cup kicks off tomorrow morning on the beautiful Gleneagles Resort in the heart of Scotland, just north of Edinburgh. While we tend to think of Scottish golf being mostly links, Gleneagles is a prime example that this country has some very good “parkland” courses, as well. Here are five must-play courses of similar character in the heart of the host country.
Prestonfield Golf Club (Edinburgh)
Prestonfield GC is one such course, located just north of Edinburgh. Barely 6,200 yards from the back tees, the course features a James Braid layout with mature trees lining the fairways and tricky bunkers that put a premium on accuracy, particularly into the greens. It’s not just an easy walk in the countryside; it’s golf as planned by one of the game’s iconic course designers.
Alyth Golf Club (Perthshire)
This stunning and historic course dates back to 1894 when Old Tom Morris first laid out nine holes, followed by James Braid making it 18 in 1934. This is another charmer that doesn’t quite reach 6,300 yards, but provides plenty of fun challanges. Playing through the birch and pine, this heathland layout requires diligence in focusing on keeping the ball out of the woods and striking good approach shots. It’s one of many gems to be found in Scotland.
Gogarburn Golf Club (New Bridge)
Gogarburn Golf Club is a quaint course located between Edinburgh and Glasgow with a wonderful track through lush woods and streams. Be prepared though – just as you’re mentally preparing for the heart of the back nine, the journey ends, as Gogarburn has only 12 holes. On a good day you can complete the loop in about a little over an hour and still have plenty of time to take in the natural beauty of the Scotland countryside.
Crow Wood Golf Club (Glasgow)
Located just minutes from central Glasgow and about an hour from Gleneagles Resort, this is another James Braid layout through pastoral central Scotland. First appearance suggests someone yell, “Release the hounds,” as it seems befitting of a good fox hunt. This flat course is rich with gentle undulations through birch and pine and is a pleasant walk that hardly begets the need to keep score.
Pollok Golf Club (Glasgow)
Located also in central Glasgow, this course in on the grounds of the Maxwell family that dates back to the mid-18th century. It is also rumored to have a large, private collection of Spanish paintings, including works by El Greco, Francisco Goya and paintings by William Blake. The historic nature of the course – a flat but scenic stroll through wooded areas with that James Braid touch – carries throughout the entire experience. The land is now part of the National Trust of Scotland.
Featured image of Victor Dubuisson of Europe during practice before the 2014 Ryder Cup courtesy of Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images.