Lady Golfer: Top 50 UK stay-and-play destinations 10 – 1March, 2014
We show you our pick of the best golfing venues in the UK
10 BOVEY CASTLE
Bovey Castle, in Dartmoor, describes itself as the place to wear your Hunter wellies at 8am, golf spikes at 3pm and Manolos for dinner. Bedrooms and public spaces are beautiful, with art deco touches and hand-painted chinoiserie. The Sundari spa specializes in Ayurveda.
9 DUKE’S & OLD COURSE HOTEL
There are various ways to make the most of this visit. The Duke’s is set above the old town and differs from the brilliant links elsewhere with its heathland setting. The five-star hotel is something else, with not only the best view in golf but more luxury than one can imagine.
8 STOKE PARK
More five-star luxury in this corner of Buckinghamshire. Whether you choose one of the particularly elegant bedrooms or suites you will be spoilt. Elsewhere it is a mix of pretty much every activity and any type of relaxation. Then there’s the 27 holes of quality golf.
7 CAMERON HOUSE
Golf at the Carrick is truly breathtaking with the elevated holes offering spectacular views of Loch Lomond before you play alongside the water on the way home. Then retreat to Cameron House where old meets new and you do very little other than eat and relax in incredible style.
We all know about the golf here where three 18-hole courses reside. The brilliant East is many people’s favourite ahead of the more famous West, while the Edinburgh is also excellent. You can stay in one of the Dormy rooms and you might be surprised by the value.
Depending on your budget there are some very appealing options to explore here in East Lothian with Archerfield House being its prized asset. The two courses, Fidra and Dirleton, are both stunning links in equally striking surrounds. You’ll love it here, trust us.
4 THE GROVE
Just 18 miles out of London, The Grove is a 5-star, high-wattage country estate blending classic period features and quirky, modern design. Restaurants include fine-dining Colette’s and the Glasshouse. The Sequoia Spa is exceptional and the golf facilities are simply exemplary.
3 MACHRIHANISH DUNES
Tucked away on the Mull of Kintyre, Machrihanish Dunes offers everything that is brilliant about seaside links golf.
It might be tricky to get to – a boat from Troon is the best bet – but it is worth the effort. This is the new kid on the block, having only opened in 2009, but it is brilliant – think wild and rolling – and getting better with every year.
The historic Ugadale Hotel is located just steps from the ocean and the 1st tee at Machrihanish, which has stood since around 1876, and features spectacular guest rooms and suites, the Serenity Spa and the Kintyre Club, a warm and inviting restaurant and bar in a private club setting offering inspired dining and spirited good times.
Next door you’ll find the Ugadale Cottages, eight luxurious two-bedroom cottages. Tourism Scotland voted The Village at Machrihanish Dunes the Resort of the Year for 2013.
There was plenty of debate about whether we had underscored this Ayrshire masterpiece. As a Major venue and place to revel in 18 stunning holes (there is also the Kintyre course as well) it is hard to beat. As a place to stay – be it in the magnificent hotel or five-star apartments or lodges – it is equally sensational.
Likewise the ESPA spa is the perfect environment for surrendering to utter relaxation with 12 treatment rooms, two hydrotherapy suites and a glass-walled swimming pool with views of its dramatic surrounds.
Nobody would pretend that playing here comes cheap but in the knowledge that the experience will match – if not exceed – expectations it is a treat that every golfer should enjoy.
The Women’s British Open returns in 2015 and, for those not lucky enough to visit, we can all feast our eyes upon Ailsa Craig and its famous holes once again.
You will hear plenty about this small slice of Perthshire heaven when the Ryder Cup comes to town in September.
The Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA Centenary will play host as Scotland stages the biennial matches for the first time in over 40 years. The American described it as the ‘finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with’.
The Grampians and Trossachs are as stunning as the holes that sit before you.
Many consider the King’s and Queen’s even more spectacular and memorable, both steeped in history and designed by James Braid.
You could not fail to enjoy 18 holes on either and, when the golf might not be firing on all cylinders, the hole names will raise a smile. The 17th on the King’s ‘Warslin’ Lea’ (Wrestling Ground) reflects the difficulty of the lengthy par 4. Otherwise there is a brilliant academy and exquisite pitch and putt in front of the hotel to sharpen up your short game.
You can’t help but feel a sense of awe when you swing up the long drive to Gleneagles. Maybe it’s the monolithic grandeur, the sense of history or the old-world glamour, but something makes you forget about humdrum reality; while you are here you feel like Gatsby.
The interior is soaringly grand and austere but the welcome is genuinely warm. The main bar is a glorious place to be at lunchtime, sun streaming in from the formal gardens. Three restaurants offer something for everyone, The Strathearn for Scottish/French classics and art deco opulence, Andrew Fairlie for two Michelin starred gastronomy and Deseo for relaxed, family-friendly fare. Bedrooms are airy and elegant, but traditional, tactile fabrics make them still feel cosy.
The show-stopper is the Espa spa. In a cosseting retreat of dark wood, slate and gold, intuitive therapists will make you feel like new while for more chronic issues there’s Espa Life, a residential programme with serious credentials.
If you prefer the great outdoors, there are a plethora of activities from falconry and off-roading to trout fishing, horse riding and shooting.
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