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Scotland Golf Trip Advice


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Looking for ettiquette / do's and dont's help
Hello All -

I am in a group going over to Scotland for the first time later this spring. We already have all our courses and accommodations lined up, so I am not in need of any advice regarding these topics. What I am hoping to get are a few tips related to ettiquette from those more famililar with the culture. What are some do's and don'ts for us to keep in mind? We don't want to be the ugly Americans. What are some customs that the Scots have that Americans don't share? Are there people that provide services we should tip (or not, that Americans usually do tip?)

Any suggestions you may have that you feel would be beneficial to our trip would be appreciated.

JLB
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I've been overseas a couple times and the one thing we were always told was to be quiet. Americans in general are very loud and boisterous. Try not to be overly loud, they know you're american so you don't need to tell them twice. Europe and the UK/Scotland tends to be very conservative and seemingly grumpy at first glance but they are very pleasant people. So, second advice would be to have fun and listen to anyone who talks to you during your trip. You may be surpirsed at how much you can learn about people and communication by becoming the minority or the outsider. Enjoy it, I'm jealous.

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[quote name='nagoh' post='888738' date='Jan 29 2008, 10:37 AM']When on the course, especially if you are playing private clubs, you play from the middle tees. If you insist on playing from the tips, you should speak with the pro first.[/quote]

if u don't mind me asking, why??? i am not going over there anytime soon but is it like an honor to play the backs or something.

thanks
jon

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[quote name='jsuff' post='888835' date='Jan 29 2008, 11:46 AM'][quote name='nagoh' post='888738' date='Jan 29 2008, 10:37 AM']When on the course, especially if you are playing private clubs, you play from the middle tees. If you insist on playing from the tips, you should speak with the pro first.[/quote]

if u don't mind me asking, why??? i am not going over there anytime soon but is it like an honor to play the backs or something.

thanks
jon
[/quote]


I am by no means an expert but can answer that one. They enforce playing tees based on ability over there to keep things moving. Unlike in the US and here in canada where every guy feels like a women if they don't play the back tees.
Of course they play the back tees then watch their ball sail off into the trees, duff the next, 3 putt etc. You get the idea.
It is good idea if you have a official handicap to bring a copy with you as some courses will request it, plus especially if you feel strongly about playing back tees in which case you will have to prove what level you are at to be allowed.

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[quote name='sharkhark' post='888850' date='Jan 29 2008, 11:57 AM'][quote name='jsuff' post='888835' date='Jan 29 2008, 11:46 AM'][quote name='nagoh' post='888738' date='Jan 29 2008, 10:37 AM']When on the course, especially if you are playing private clubs, you play from the middle tees. If you insist on playing from the tips, you should speak with the pro first.[/quote]

if u don't mind me asking, why??? i am not going over there anytime soon but is it like an honor to play the backs or something.

thanks
jon
[/quote]


I am by no means an expert but can answer that one. They enforce playing tees based on ability over there to keep things moving. Unlike in the US and here in canada where every guy feels like a women if they don't play the back tees.
Of course they play the back tees then watch their ball sail off into the trees, duff the next, 3 putt etc. You get the idea.
It is good idea if you have a official handicap to bring a copy with you as some courses will request it, plus especially if you feel strongly about playing back tees in which case you will have to prove what level you are at to be allowed.
[/quote]


I was about to say the same exact thing. Overseas they don't tollerate slow play and if you play from the back tees and hack it around the course you will end up looking like the ugly American the first post was talking about.

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[quote name='stonebridgeaa' post='888859' date='Jan 29 2008, 09:03 AM'][quote name='sharkhark' post='888850' date='Jan 29 2008, 11:57 AM'][quote name='jsuff' post='888835' date='Jan 29 2008, 11:46 AM'][quote name='nagoh' post='888738' date='Jan 29 2008, 10:37 AM']When on the course, especially if you are playing private clubs, you play from the middle tees. If you insist on playing from the tips, you should speak with the pro first.[/quote]

if u don't mind me asking, why??? i am not going over there anytime soon but is it like an honor to play the backs or something.

thanks
jon
[/quote]


I am by no means an expert but can answer that one. They enforce playing tees based on ability over there to keep things moving. Unlike in the US and here in canada where every guy feels like a women if they don't play the back tees.
Of course they play the back tees then watch their ball sail off into the trees, duff the next, 3 putt etc. You get the idea.
It is good idea if you have a official handicap to bring a copy with you as some courses will request it, plus especially if you feel strongly about playing back tees in which case you will have to prove what level you are at to be allowed.
[/quote]


I was about to say the same exact thing. Overseas they don't tollerate slow play and if you play from the back tees and hack it around the course you will end up looking like the ugly American the first post was talking about.
[/quote]
Sharkhark and Stonbridgegeaa pretty much summed it up. The only thing I would add is that the medal tees are typically reserved for club competition.

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[quote name='hbear' post='889163' date='Jan 29 2008, 01:43 PM']yes bring you handicap card....
Never a bad idea to have it with you.[/quote]

Great advice. A few courses require that you have your handicap card to play.

The fact that you are asking how to act, etc. shows you're a considerate person who does not want to offend anyone. That in itself is all you need. I think you'll find that the people of Scotland are incredibly friendly and polite. Extend them the same courtesy and you'll have a great time!

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Hi, a scotsman here, just joined up.

Firstly the back tees at private courses are usuaully member competition tees.

Courses like Kingsbarns, ST A, ST A The DUKES and ST A Bay etc will either be via handicap or your choice.

Re: Caps
A bit fussy but you get to show the old boys how much hair you have compared to them.
it is usually only enforced in the club house bar/restuarant. Pro shops etc it's ok.

Speed of play - a few courses will have the guys doing the rounds making sure that you're not slow but as long as you roughly keep up with the group in front, you'll be ok.

On Course Etiquitte?
Shouldn't matter where your playing. like if there are visitors at your club.

Off it - get stuck into the whisky - have a good time - and wake up with the hangover from hell - a good Scottish breakfast and off to the couse to start it all again! :tongue:

slàinte mhath(good health)-'SLANJ' - used as a toast like saying cheers with your drinks.


Out of interest, what courses have you got lined up?

[size=4][font=comic sans ms,cursive]Ping G10 9* Prolaunch Red Stiff
Titleist 913 17* S Plus 82 Stiff
Titleist 913 21* S Plus 70 Stiff
Mizuno MP63 4-Pw SG S300 Stiff
52 & 56 MD Players Cobalt Wedge Flex
58 Ping Tour S
Rife Bimini[/font][/size]

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[quote name='bunter101' post='889928' date='Jan 29 2008, 08:45 PM']Hi, a scotsman here, just joined up.

Firstly the back tees at private courses are usuaully member competition tees.

Courses like Kingsbarns, ST A, ST A The DUKES and ST A Bay etc will either be via handicap or your choice.

Re: Caps
A bit fussy but you get to show the old boys how much hair you have compared to them.
it is usually only enforced in the club house bar/restuarant. Pro shops etc it's ok.

Speed of play - a few courses will have the guys doing the rounds making sure that you're not slow but as long as you roughly keep up with the group in front, you'll be ok.

On Course Etiquitte?
Shouldn't matter where your playing.

Off it - get stuck into the whisky - have a good time - and wake up with the hangover from hell - a good Scottish breakfast and off to the couse to start it all again! :ok:

Out of interest, what courses have you got lines up?[/quote]

:tongue:
great advice

jon

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Hi, a scotsman here, just joined up.

 

Firstly the back tees at private courses are usuaully member competition tees.

 

Courses like Kingsbarns, ST A, ST A The DUKES and ST A Bay etc will either be via handicap or your choice.

 

Re: Caps

A bit fussy but you get to show the old boys how much hair you have compared to them.

it is usually only enforced in the club house bar/restuarant. Pro shops etc it's ok.

 

Speed of play - a few courses will have the guys doing the rounds making sure that you're not slow but as long as you roughly keep up with the group in front, you'll be ok.

 

On Course Etiquitte?

Shouldn't matter where your playing. like if there are visitors at your club.

 

Off it - get stuck into the whisky - have a good time - and wake up with the hangover from hell - a good Scottish breakfast and off to the couse to start it all again! :tongue:

 

slàinte mhath(good health)-'SLANJ' - used as a toast like saying cheers with your drinks.

 

 

Out of interest, what courses have you got lined up?

 

Here is our course list, as you requested. Nothing too surprising on here. We are pretty much blowing the budget on this one. We'll be there late April/early May.

 

Royal Lytham & St. Annes

Royal Liverpool

Kingsbarns

Crail

Carnoustie - Championship

St. Andrews - Jubilee

St. Andrews - Old

Muirfield

North Berwick - West Links

Turnberry - Ailsa

Royal Troon - Old

Royal Troon - Portland

 

I'd like to thank everyone for all their responses. slàinte mhath!

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All great advise: I have been over there 5 times. I would suggest skipping the Portland course at Royal Troon and playing Old Prestwick instead if you can work it out. First of all it is not far, second it is a really fun qwirky lay-out, but with lots of history, third the Portland course is just OK. (Used to be the course that juniors and women would play before they allowed females on the main course - in 2002 or so!)

 

Also try to play Ilie if you can, it is near Crail and a real jem. The par four 13th hole was described by James Braid as "the finest hole in all the land" Also there is a periscope on the first hole that play dead up-hill, so you know when to tee off.

 

On another note I highly suggest you get your hads on a copy of "Blasted Heaths and Blessed Greens" by James W Finegan. It is a really fun read, and will descibe a lot of the courses over there.

 

Don't forget to try the Haggis, it is really good! and do not ruin a great single malt with ice, another American faux paux!

 

Bernard

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Lots of good advice here.

 

Proper golf wear will be required, obviously no jeans, t shirts etc.

 

Take a caddie once in awhile, great experience. Try and get a local, not an American student!

 

A mulligan counts as 3 off the tee over here.

 

Anything within 2 feet is a gimmie. You are not expected to putt out.

 

Matchplay is the usual format, usually 4 ball-better ball

 

Some of the clubs may require a jacket and tie to go into the lounge, especially the English clubs. At Muirfield, as I am sure you are aware, it is a must. Presumably you are going to have lunch at Muirfield? Another must....

 

Drink the local beer or whisky, not bud

 

Absorb some of the history, especially at St Andrews. There's a superb putting green there as well!

 

As you said you are blowing the budget, I agree with the above poster about trying to get onto Prestwick Old. Unlike any course you will ever play.

 

As you're going to Muirfield and North Berwick, how about dropping into Musselburgh and playing a round using hickories?

 

Eat the full breakfast, best meal of the day in the UK......... Pub grub in the evenings.

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I couldn't agree with malibubs more about Prestwick. It is a definite must play. The clubhouse alone makes the experience worth it. It is literally a museum of the history of golf and the Open Championship. The course is one of the most fun layouts that you will play. Before I went over the first time I read "Blasted Heaths and Blessed Greens" as well. It definitely sets the tone.

 

Be sure to have plenty of Belhaven's Best. It is some of the best beer you can find. Great before and after any round.

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Great advice here guys!

 

I will chip in my 2 pence here as well if nobody objects!?

 

Make sure to let members play through if you lose a ball or are taking a bit of time to play a hole! Members in this country generally play a lot quicker than the usual pace of play in America. I have lost count the number of times members have come into the pro shop where i work and start bitching about these "damn Yanks" holding up their game. If not for your sake, do it for the poor schmo Assistant like myself who has to hear this time and time again!

 

Definately agree with the Belhaven Best idea, its called your golfers pint in Scotland for a reason!

 

You MUST play Old Prestwick if you get a chance! It is one of the most challenging courses you will ever find and the hospitality you will receive will be fantastic! Phone the professional shop and ask to speak to David Flemming, he is a personal friend of my boss and he will be more than happy to help you out! Tell him that Fraser and Jim at Helensburgh said you should give him a ring!

 

Also when you are at Turnberry make sure you also speak to the Head Professional Ricky Hall (he is my gaffers identical twin brother!) If you can tempt him out of his office his stories about some of the greats of golf are legendry, he has played with all the greats including Tiger and he is also a first rate player (and no stranger to a bevvy too!) Yet again make sure to tell him that his brother Fraser and his sidekick Jim (me) told you to give him a shout!

 

Lastly guys, my best peice of advice to you all is have a fantastic time. Scotland is the home of golf, true! But we are also a nation of friendly people and are more than willing to help likewise people! Drink, Golf and be merry!

 

Have a great time!

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In case the original poster takes your advice on the course near Crail, it is "Elie". I believe it is actually somewhat awkwardly known as the Golf House Club - or something along those lines. It was one of my of my favorite courses in Scotland. Starter's hut has an old submarine periscope used to see over the hill on the first hole to make sure the group in front has cleared the fairway. No par 5's, and a wonderful pub (with real cask ale) hard by left side of the #4 fairway.

 

If you can find time to fit in a round there, you should. I would easily place it in the top 3 most fun courses we played.

 

North Berwick is phenomenal.

 

Damn, I am jealous.

 

You will have a great time.

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My bad, you are right it is Elie. It has somewhat of a storied history, with legal fights over who owned the land, as well as 2 memberships, the Thisel and Rose (I think) and the Elie House Golf CLub. The house club is near the first tee and on the premises and a little more "proper". The Thistle and Rose is on the street to the left as you go out, and is more "blue collar" in membership. It is really a fun track, and one of my more memorable rounds out there in Scotland, having played it twice, 3 years apart, I liked it more the 2nd time!

Yes North Berwick is AWESOME. It is trip to play it with that wall that runs through the couse, and comes into play on at least two holes, as well as the original Redan hole. (Was really designed as a par four, not a par three). I played it in (I kid you not)40 MPH winds the first time I played it. I saw my ball bounce BACK at me more than once, although it is fun to drive with the wind at your back, it is impossible to stop your approach.

 

One important word of advise for you for the trip (besides the Belhaven, and good rain gear): remember, if you hit the green with your approach, you have missed the shot! Practice the 165 yard nine iron, 120 in the air, and 45 along the ground.

 

Have fun, YOU WILL BE BACK!

 

Bernard

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Prestwick or even Western Gailes or Dundonald over the Portland. I know at Troon it's an all-day ticket where you get both courses plus lunch, but really you're just paying for the Old- the Portland is nice, but Prestwick is amazing.

 

Also you absolutely MUST do the lunch at Muirfield, but make sure to bring your blazers. And of course, excellent rain gear is a must.

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