OVER-RATED AND OVER-PRICED COURSES
Many of the American golfers visiting Scotland believe that the best courses must be the most expensive.Which is why the quality venues have all raised their prices accordingly, some of them to obscenely ridiculous levels. If they charge under £150 for a round they will be considered inferior. However, there are duds among the high-price venues where you’ll walk off after 18 feeling ripped off.
These courses are good modern layouts but of such conventional construction that you can find them anywhere in the world.The Castle Course is the seventh and latest addition to the St Andrews Links Trust collection, and has superb views, but designer David McLay Kidd built greens with crazy slopes.And at £120 a round it is £40 more than the far superior New Course. Nearby are the two courses belonging to the Fairmont St Andrews resort, and also the Duke’s.They’re cheaper but less spectacular.
Dundonald, on the West Coast, hosted the Scottish Open in 2017, but this Kyle Phillips design is flat and uninteresting compared to his work at Kingsbarns. Castle Stuart in the north is another Scottish Open venue; while being an impressive layout to play on a nice day it is vastly overpriced at £200 a round in high season.The PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles, the only Jack Nicklaus design in Scotland, is only worth playing if you’re a serious Ryder Cup fan.
A few venues are exclusive private domains for members and guests, notably Loch Lomond and Renaissance, both courses by American designers – Tom Weiskopf and Tom Doak – and Archerfield, adjoining Renaissance in East Lothian.The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle close to Dornoch is a luxury getaway for members, but limited tee times are available for the public.