Western Isles of Scotland
Given this region contains two courses that began life in the 1800s this might seem an odd choice as an ‘emerging’ destination. However, not only has one of them been so thoroughly revamped it is virtually a new course, the Western Isles have never been thought of as an actual destination before. Oh, and there is a very exciting brand-new course set to open this year to augment these existing attractions.
This is a fly-drive, or a purely driving trip. Fly to Glasgow or, even better, Prestwick and hire a car. If you’re driving, head straight to Ardrossan for the ferry to Arran. You could spend a week playing cute golf on Arran but this trip only has time for the beguiling 12 holes on Shiskine – full of intrigue, majestic views and tremendous fun.
Next, take the ferry to Claonaig, and down to Machrihanish to stay in the Ugadale Hotel and play at Machrihanish and Machrihanish Dunes. Old and new mix beautifully here. From here take the ferry to Islay (from Kennacraig) to play the revamped Machrie (next year it’ll have a new on-site hotel). From there, take the 10-minute ferry to Jura and play soon-toopen Ardfin, assuming it offers the limited tee times we expect.
Then it’s a long ferry back from Islay and a chance to reflect on the most soulful, feel-good golf trip you’ll ever have the fortune to make.