Golf Adventure Guides BLOG

2016 Scottish Golf Tourism Awards

The folks at VisitScotland recently announced their 2016 Scottish Golf Tourism Awards winners during the inaugural Scottish Golf Tourism Week in St Andrews.

The voting was done by “Scottish golfers throughout the country” from May thru August of 2016. Sounds like one of Donald Trump’s unscientific polls, so I would just keep that in mind. Still, the category winners look reasonable. Award winners for 2016 include:

Scotland’s Best Golf Experience — Kingsbarns Golf Links

The Best Value For Money (£50 – £100)— Dundonald Links

The Best Value For Money (Over £100)— Royal Dornoch Golf Club

The Best Golf Course (Under £50)— Boat of Garten Golf Course

The Best Golf Course (£50-£100)— Blairgowrie, Rosemount Course

The Best Golf Course (Over £100)— Carnoustie, Championship Course

The Best Small Hotel (20 Rooms Or Less)— Red House Hotel, Coupar Angus

The Best Hotel (21 to 50 Rooms)— The Ugadale Hotel, Machrihanish

The Best Large Hotel (50 Rooms Or More)— Old Course Hotel, St Andrews

 


Printed Guides Now Available

The print version of the combined Ireland & Scotland Golf Adventure Guides (2017 edition) is now available.

Ireland & Scotland Golf Adventure Guide
Ireland & Scotland Golf Adventure Guide

A combined 76 pages, the printed version contains both the Ireland Golf Adventure Guide and Scotland Golf Adventure Guide in one compact, spiral-bound package.

Ireland & Scotland Golf Adventure Guides
Flip it over for the Ireland Golf Adventure Guide.

The digital versions of the guides (included when you purchase the printed version, by the way) are full color inside — the printed guide is black & white inside.

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You get the best of both worlds when you spring for the printed guides.

A lovely printed document containing both Ireland and Scotland guides for easy, quick reference in addition to full access to the digital PDF versions for quick online access to golf course and accommodation websites (and more) via the hyperlinks throughout.

Special Offer for Current Customers

If you’ve already purchased a digital PDF version of either the Ireland or Scotland Golf Adventure Guide, log into the Customer Download Center to purchase the print version (includes both guides!) for only $20.


Craft beer in Ireland

It’s not all about the Guinness anymore. The craft beer scene in Ireland is exploding … and might be getting out of control!


2017 Ireland & Scotland Guide Updates

The 2017 editions of the  Ireland Golf Adventure Guide and Scotland Golf Adventure Guide are now available.

The details for every golf course and accommodation — along with everything else in the guides — are carefully scrutinized and updated. Here’s an example of updates to the Scotland Golf Adventure Guide:

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All new purchases will receive the updated 2017 editions.

Customers who purchased a previous PDF version of the guide can download a free update to this latest edition. This is just one of the many advantages of purchasing one of my guides.

What has been updated?

Updated information includes, but is not limited to:

  • Green fees and accommodation rates/tariffs
  • Golf course contact info (email, websites, etc.)
  • Accommodation contact info (email, websites, etc.)
  • Flight schedules and airlines
  • New accommodation options

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If you buy a travel guide book that was printed sometime last year, or you already own one, I can guarantee that a good portion of the information in it is out of date and/or incorrect.

By publishing my guides digitally, I can easily deliver you the latest — and most correct — information. And, even after you’ve made a purchase, because you get free updates you’ll always have access to accurate information when you plan your next trip.


How to Pack for Your Golf Trip

[Updated: 17 January 2016]

After many years of golf trips around the world, I’ve come up with a golf trip checklist that makes it easy for me to get ready for each trip and also to minimize the gear I’ve got to lug around, while still making sure I’ve got everything I need.

Check out our new Gear for Golf Trips guide!

You can download the checklist below to customize it for yourself.

Download the Golf Trip Checklist

Here’s the basic checklist (details given below):

  • 4 golf shirts
  • 2 non-cotton undershirts
  • 1 longsleeve undershirt
  • 4 pair golf socks
  • 2 underwear (washable)
  • 1 underwear (cotton)
  • 2 long pants for golf
  • 1 or 2 shorts for golf
  • 1 Goretex rain suit + golf gear
  • 1 Wind vest
  • 1 non-cotton longsleeve undershirt
  • 1 golf shoes
  • 1 black long pants
  • 1 black belt
  • 1 black longsleeve polo shirt
  • 2 dark/patterned button-down shirts
  • 2 black t-shirts
  • 1 white t-shirt
  • 1 black “dress” shoes
  • 2 pair black socks
  • 1 running/tennis shoes
  • 1 running shorts
  • 1 compression shorts
  • 1 exercise t-shirt
  • 1 pullover/sweater
  • 1 toiletries
  • 1 Cottonelle (1.5 per day in ziploc bag)
  • 4 contact lenses & solution
  • 1 prescription glasses (backup)
  • 1 folder w/ tickets/itinerary/passport/etc.
  • 1 camera, gear, recharger, batteries

You may see a few odd things on the checklist — like packing only two pair of underwear! — so I’d like to explain those below and give you some of my specific product recommendations.

Checklist Details

One fundamental is that you don’t need to pack “ten of everything” for a ten day trip! Most itineraries will/should have a 2-day stay in the same place at some point, preferrably near the middle of the trip. Use that opportunity to get some of your clothes (shirts, pants, socks, etc.) laundered at the hotel while you’re out playing golf. The other thing is that you can easily wear the same golf shirt a couple of times, especially if you’ve been wearing an undershirt. It just doesn’t get that hot (usually) in Ireland and Scotland and you’re not going to be sweating up a storm.

Golf Shirts — Four golf shirts is enough for any length trip. You can easily wear the same shirt more than once and you can always get them laundered mid trip. Plus, chances are you’ll want to purchase a shirt or two along the way as a momento.

Non-cotton Undershirts — I like to layer for warmth. Wearing an undershirt also extends the “wearabilty” of your golf shirt. The key here is it shouldn’t be cotton. Any of the polyester/spandex blends from REI, Nike, UnderArmour, etc. will work great.

Washable Underwear — Yes, you only need two pair of underwear for the entire trip regardless of how long it is. Not only does this save space, but you won’t have to lug a bunch of dirty underwear around in your suitcase. I would highly recommend the Ex Officio Give-N-Go Briefs. They come in a boxer brief style as well.

Here’s how the “2-Pair of Underwear” system works. After golf, you come back to your hotel and pop into the shower wearing your underwear. While showering (leave your underwear on) soap up and wash yourself and your underwear. Near the end, take ’em off and rinse well. After drying yourself off, place your just-washed underwear on a dry towel, roll it up, and then stand on the towel to extract as much moisture out of the underwear as you can. Remove from towel and hang over a chair to dry. Get dressed and put on the clean underwear that you washed the night before. Wear that underwear for the evening (while your just-washed pair is drying) and for the next day. Using this system you will always have a clean pair of underwear on hand.

Related article: Two Pair of Underwear? Two Week Golf Trip? No Problem!

After Golf Clothes — Bring a pair of dark trousers and a couple of nice button-down dress shirts. Don’t wear your golf clothes when you go out for dinner. And leave the jeans at home; they are heavy and bulky. Try your best not to look (and act) like a tourist. 🙂

Travel Luggage

I use The Last Bag from Club Glove which is perfect for holding the golf clubs, shoes, rain gear, balls, and extra clothing. It’s also compact once you take everything out and so fits well in the rental car. Do NOT use one of the hardshell cases; they are just too bulky and take up too much space once in country.

My suitcase is from Travelpro, their 22″ Expandable Rollaboard Suiter (suit holder stuff removed). It’s not too big — so I’m not tempted to bring too much — but not too small either.


Northern Ireland Ultimate Round

On the eve of the 2015 Irish Open held at Royal County Down Golf Club in Northern Ireland, the good folks at Northern Ireland Tourist Board have released a series of videos they are calling Northern Ireland Ultimate Round.

You can tell they spared no expense in filming and editing these videos. Seriously high production value that showcase these beautiful golf courses in remarkable fashion. Without further ado, here they are:

Holes 1-3: Castlerock, Portstewart

Holes 4-6: Royal Portrush, Kirkistown Castle

Holes 7-9: Ardglass, Royal County Down

Holes 10-12: Lough Erne, Dungannon, Galgorm Castle

Holes 13-15: Ballycastle, Cairndhu, Malone

Holes 16-18: Belvoir Park, Holywood, Royal Belfast


More is Still Less

2015BordFailteGolfGuideFáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, have released the Fáilte Ireland Golf Guide—2015 Edition. While I applaud the effort and recommend you view it — if only to learn more about golf in Ireland and hopefully get inspired to take a trip — I find it to be a poor resource for actually planning a trip. Here is why:

Information overload: 130 pages, 54 ads, 392 golf courses, 100s of hotels.

Seven regions are detailed in the guide:

  • 01 Dublin (53 courses)
  • 02 Dublin’s Doorstep and Lakelands (108 courses)
  • 03 Southeast (35 courses)
  • 04 Cork and Kerry (52 courses)
  • 05 Midwest (24 courses)
  • 06 West and Northwest  (50 courses)
  • 07 The North (70 courses)

How are you supposed to decide where to play and where to stay? Naturally, the tourism authority can’t play favorites and wants to promote all of the golf courses in Ireland, and provide a venue for hotels, tour operators, golf courses, resorts, etc. to advertise their offerings. The result is a very beautiful 130-page magazine, but it doesn’t help you with the decision-making process of planning a golf trip.

When I created my Ireland Golf Adventure Guide my goal was to provide only the information you really need to plan a great golf trip and in the most concise manner possible. If my best friend asked me where I should play and where I should stay, would I give them a list of all of the courses and hotels in Ireland? Of course not. I would provide a short, curated lists of the best golf courses to be considered in each region and for each course a few recommendations on where to stay (in various price ranges).

And that’s what I did. The Ireland Golf Adventure Guide is 36 pages, 57 courses, accommodations (a few in various price ranges) in each town close to the golf courses, and a time-proven process for planning a great itinerary.  Less is still more.

The Fáilte Ireland Golf Guide has two excellent articles I recommend:

  • Royal County Down and the Irish Open” (pp. 12-15)
  • Links to the world’s finest” by Brian Keogh (pp. 16–18)
  • Ireland’s Hidden Treasures” (pp. 126–128)

Distance Made Simple: Bushnell Neo XS

I’ve owned multiple laser rangefinders, had my eye on the Garmin Approach GPS golf watches, and even bought (and returned) the Arccos tracking system but I am thrilled with my decision to purchase the Bushnell Neo XS GPS watch.

My first round and first experience with the Bushnell Neo XS watch was perfect: The first hole at Pasatiempo Golf Club is a pretty long par four — most of the time it is hard to reach in two, especially first thing in the morning when it is cool and the air is heavy with Monterey Bay fog. However, if you don’t layup properly you can easily reach a fairway bunker about 70 yards short of the green. After my “average” tee shot, I knew it was foolish to go for the green. A quick glance at my Bushnell Neo XS told me it was 162 yards to the front of the LFB (Left Fairway Bunker). I pulled out my 160-yard club (for me a 6-iron), put a smooth swing on it, and ended up a few yards short of the bunker. Mission accomplished!

I love the simplicity of the watch — the opposite of the Arccos system. Very quick and easy to get front, center, and back yardages as well as hazards and bunkers. Exactly what you need to know. And no hunting around for sprinkler head yardages and pacing back to the ball.

368550-yardageThe Neo XS also has a great battery life for products like this. After the round, I still had 3/4 left. They claim it is good for three rounds on a charge — sounds about right.

The Neo XS comes loaded with over 33,000 courses so I’m all set for my next trips to Ireland, Scotland, and England!

Buy at Amazon.com

Ireland Golf TV Ad

Tourism Ireland just started running this ad promoting golf in Ireland:

Featured courses, in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, include: Royal Portrush, Royal County Down (host of the 2015 Irish Open), Ballybunion, Lahinch, Doonbeg, Old Head, and Tralee. The “pub” scenes are at Trump Doonbeg.

At the end of the video your are invited to visit http://www.ireland.com/golfnow/ for more information. The Ireland tourist board has a nice website with some inspiring images, but as far as tools to help you plan your trip, frankly I find it a bit overwhelming.


Discover great flights with Hopper

There’s a new app I ran across the other day to help you find the best flights — this could be very helpful when planning your next golf trip to Scotland or Ireland. It’s called Hopper and it’s available for download from the Apple AppStore.

From their website:

Hopper tells you when to fly and buy and scores you the lowest fares. Save up to 40% on your flight. Hopper predicts price changes for your trip, and tells you the right time to book. Data-driven advice shows you the cheapest times to fly, and how to save more by switching travel dates or airports. Push notifications keep you posted the instant prices drop, and before they’re about to rise.

screencapture-www-hopper-com-flights-from-SFO-to-DUB-guideIn addition to the iPhone app, you can create destination reports on their website. For example, here’s a screen shot of a report from San Francisco (SFO) to Dublin, Ireland (DUB). It gives you an idea of how much a “good deal” flight would cost, the best times to go, when to book, and alternate airports to consider.

Their website also has an interesting Airline Fee Calculator, which includes the cost of baggage and other fees to help you determine your real flying cost between various airlines.

No excuses now. Plan that trip, book those flights … get hopping! 🙂