June 1, 2012

The Home of Golf

Scotland is the home of a lot of things – clans, tartans, kilts, bagpipes, but most of all golf. So anyone who knows my family can appreciate why this is a special country for us to visit. We couldn’t possibly lug four sets of clubs with us everywhere, but we did take advantage of the country’s rich golf history with stays at some of the most hallowed courses.

For Dad’s retirement celebration, we started at Turnberry along the western Ayrshire Coast.

Turnberry has a beautiful hotel set on top of a hill overlooking their famous golf course and Alisa Craig – a large crag in the sea where curling stones are mined.

At 6:30 every night, a bagpiper marches up and down the grounds of the hotel with the course and sea set as the backdrop.

Turnberry also has an adorable 12-hole pitch & putt course. We held a couple of family competitions under the shadow of the hotel.

From Turnberry we headed north to the Scottish Highlands and stayed in a stylish country B&B in a small town called Dornoch – the birthplace of the world’s most famous course architect, Donald Ross. It took us a couple of days to figure out that we were actually staying in his sister’s old house!

At almost 58°N, Dornoch is the most northern we will reach on our entire 11-month trip.

It’s a Bremer family tradition that when in Dornoch, you have to wade into the North Sea at night. So at 11:00pm – while it was still light outside – we wound our way through the golf course to the beach for a chilly dip.

After Dornoch we headed to the southeast of Scotland, known as the Mecca for golfers. We stayed in a boutique hotel called Greywalls which is situated inches from the 10th tee of Scotland’s most exclusive golf club, Murfield. Players must wear a coat and tie into the Murfield clubhouse before they change into their golfing clothes. Women can’t even enter the premises, yet we saw two pooches on the course.

At Greywalls we celebrated our family’s two April birthdays – Mom and me. We stayed in the old doorman cottages that flank the gates as you drive onto the property.

On our last morning, we held a couple’s “country club triathlon” which consisted of a contest in the sports of croquet, grass-court tennis, and putting.

We were tied going into the last hole, and in the end, my parents legitimately beat us.

By the way, have you ever seen croquet mallets that big before? We have photographic proof that Arnold Palmer used the same ones at Greywalls back in the 80s.

Our last major golf stop was to the town where the game originated: St. Andrews. This is a course that I grew up watching on TV, and I've always wanted to come here.

The amazing thing about the Old Course at St. Andrews is that it’s the most famous golf course in the world, and yet it's so incredibly accessible. At any time throughout the day you can stand feet from the 1st tee or 18th green or walk across the fairway to get a picture on the Swilcan Bridge.

St. Andrews is public land, so on Sundays they shut the golf down so that people can walk and picnic on the world’s most prestigious course!

Right along the 1st fairway is a fun putting complex called The Himalayas. The holes are long and seriously hilly. We played 54 holes in one and a half days.

All of the golf resorts that we visited are amazing. Really, they are top-notch. But the four of us agreed...our favorite memories were of our family competitions puttering around Scotland.


  1. Katie, you need to keep your left arm straight during your swing :-) Sher and I are glad to see that you two are doing well. Love your blog!

  2. Another beautiful country, I just cant get enough of all the greenery!