July 2019 - Scotland Wedding/Golf Trip Report (lots of pics)
This will be super lengthy, will take multiple posts, and I might jump around some. Plenty of golf, but a lot of non golf, too. Will also add photos. Feel free to ask any questions as well. Hope you all enjoy.
This trip was over a year in the making. What had originally started out as a normal vacation to Scotland morphed into an elopement/honeymoon/vacation for us. We had never been to Scotland, so we were sort of winging this whole trip. The first idea that we (read: I) came up with was to get married on the Old Course on a Sunday when it's open to the public. She was totally on board and this was the original plan, until we got to thinking about how much of a crapshoot the weather could be. It would have been awful to plan to get married by the Swilcan Bridge only to have it be monsooning that day. So after searching our google machines, we found the perfect spot for us near Aberdeen in Peterhead at the Buchan Ness Lighthouse. This place is right on the North Sea and is about a 10 minute drive to Cruden Bay. We could get married outside and if the weather was bad, we had an indoor space, just in case.
Once we squared away the wedding location, we figured out our locations for the rest of the trip. This wasn't too much of a hassle as we sort of knew where we wanted to be. We arrive into EDI on Sunday morning the 14th, so we chose Dundee to stay in that first night. It wasn't quite a halfway point, but was close enough. I think it's the 4th largest city in Scotland, so it seemed like it would be a cool spot for a night. We found an AirBnB there. The next few days (Mon-Wed) would be spent at the wedding location in the cottage next to the lighthouse up in Peterhead. For the next leg of the trip we decided we wanted to be in St. Andrews. For Thursday through Sunday night, we found an AirBnB on North Street. Seemed like a good spot, private apartment, centrally located, and appeared to be a short walk to The Old Course. It checked all of the boxes. Then for the last 4 days of the trip, we wanted to be in Edinburgh. We found an AirBnB apartment on Lawnmarket St. that looked really neat. It was at a place called The King's Chamber at Riddle's Court that is near the top of The Royal Mile. I think there used to be Royal parties in this apartment back in the day. Anyway, it was in Old Town Edinburgh and seemed perfect. (To be clear, we decided on locations well in advance. We booked the lighthouse in late 2018, but we didn't actually book our AirBnB's until around March 2019. I'm not sure how much that limited our options, but there seemed to be plenty of availability.)
Now that we knew where we were going to stay, it was time to start figuring out where I wanted to play golf! I am a very lucky man and there are many, many reasons I married this woman. One of the many reasons is that she does not care that I play golf and she encourages me to do so. I know quite a few people on this board and they can all attest to how great she is in regards to my golf and travel. She just wants me to be happy and that is all I can ask for. That's my FIGJAM moment. Ok, back to the golf scheduling. I've been obsessed with Scotland golf courses since thinking about this trip, so I have done nothing but check out course reviews and read anything/everything related to the subject. I read Golf in Scotland by Allan Ferguson, A Course Called Scotland by Tom Coyne, and searched the interwebz and GolfWRX incessantly. When the NLU guys did a trip there last summer, that made me become even more obsessed with golf in Scotland. I figured I would play one round near Aberdeen, 2-3 rounds in St. Andrews, and 1-2 rounds while in Edinburgh. Four to Five rounds seemed reasonable on a two week trip and I heard no complaints from the roommate.
Cruden Bay was a course that caught my eye right away. I think it was on Graylyn Loomis' course reviews site where I originally saw photos of it. I knew I wanted to play here and she told me I should play it on the morning of our wedding on 7/16 while she was getting ready for the big day. Sounds good to me! I booked this round back in October 2018. While in St. Andrews, I wanted to play The Old Course, Kingsbarns, and Carnoustie. Last August, I struck out on the advanced singles ballot for TOC, so I did not have a guaranteed tee time heading into this trip. The plan was to line up in the queue at 2am on the Friday and Saturday I'm there. I was able to snag a tee time for that Sunday 7/21 at Carnoustie. You can't just book online as a single, but I reached out to them in October to see what they had. They had nothing for me and told me to contact them in January to see what availability they had. So I fired off an email to them in January and they had an opening with another threesome. Boom, booked. Kingsbarns was easier to book as they had something for me in October, so I booked that for Monday 7/22. And for my last round of the trip, I knew I wanted to play North Berwick. I had seen and read enough to know this is the spot where I should end my golf journey. I made a tee time for Wednesday 7/24 back in October as well. So my golf schedule was set:
• Cruden Bay 7/16
• The Old Course 7/19 or 7/20
• Carnoustie 7/21
• Kingsbarns 7/22
• North Berwick 7/24
Outside of the wedding and golf, we had no set plans for the trip. We just like to do what we want, when we feel like it, so having a trip full of "plans" just isn't our jam.
A lot more coming soon.