This is the proud home of St Andrews, the 'Home of Golf' which is already preparing to stage The Open 2015. Fife’s Old Grey Toon and the historic Old Course in particular is something extraordinarily special.
And the beauty of golf is that you can tread in the footsteps of the legends and there is nowhere better to do that than on the Old – especially in the winter, when the fabled layout is not as busy. A round on the Old usually costs £160 but amazingly you can savour the experience plus three nights’ B&B accommodation and two other rounds from £252.50 per person (min. two golfers). The St Andrews Links winter package, based at the town’s Ardgowan Hotel, also features the New or Jubilee championship courses, the more forgiving Eden and Strathtyrum or the spectacular Castle Course.
Nearby resort Fairmont St Andrews is running a similar winter golf offer, comprising two nights’ luxury accommodation with three rounds including a guaranteed tee time on the Old Course (costs from £249pp). Just down the coast you’ll find the magical links of Elie and until March 29 The Golf House Club Elie will be offering a winter rate of £40 per round which includes soup and sandwiches or coffee and bacon roll.
For a change of scenery, The Duke’s is St Andrews’ only inland course – and what an absolute belter it is too. Dramatically overlooking the Home of Golf, it’s a serious challenge and has really benefited from recent improved drainage which means it’s more of a year-round venue these days. After October 16, 2014 you can play it for £50, which includes free range balls.
You can also save cash with the Links with History golf pass that offers discounted rates at four of Scotland’s leading clubs – Crail Golfing Society, Ladybank, Lundin and Scotscraig – three of which stage Open Final Qualifying. You can play any two courses between November 1, 2014 - March 31, 2015 for just £22.50 per course (£50 per course from April 1 - September 30, 2015) provided you book a minimum of two venues. For more details visit www.linkswithhistory.com
So if it’s great-value golf you’re after, Fife is clearly the right place. But fantastic bargains such as these certainly don’t just apply to St Andrews because other major hotspots, including East Lothian and Ayrshire, also get in on the act. Both areas are packed with top courses with the latter boasting Open Championship venues Turnberry and Royal Troon. The Gulfstream package is on offer at the iconic Trump Turnberry Resort until March 31 and costs £105 to play the Ailsa and £75 for the Kintyre. In addition you’ll receive a bacon roll and coffee on arrival and following your round to remember you can relax and enjoy a three-course lunch in the first-floor Tappie Toorie restaurant.
You can also save loads of money with any of the following Ayrshire passes: South Ayrshire Golf Pass – three rounds on any listed course for £60 (www.golfsouthayrshire.com); Ayrshire Open Qualifier card – three or four-round packages from £150 (www.ayrshiregolfpass.co.uk); Arran Golf Pass – seven rounds for £99 (www.golfonarran.com); Gailes Golf Experience – three rounds from £120-£215 (www.gailesgolfexperience.co.uk); Prestwick Golf Pass – three rounds from £120-£175 (www.stcuthbert.co.uk).
East Lothian, a short trip east of Edinburgh, is great golfing country too – it is known as Scotland’s Golf Coast, with magical Muirfield and North Berwick the stand-outs. A dozen of the area’s leading clubs have formed the East Lothian Golf Tourism Alliance and they are behind the Earl’s Package featuring two nights’ B&B at Duck’s Aberlady and three rounds (Longniddry, Kilspindie & Craigielaw), costing £262pp (weekdays). All three courses are tenants of the Earl of Wemys & March.
New emerging star in Border country is the New Woll Estate (www.wollgolf.co.uk), which offers free golf to all self-catering guests. The par-70 parkland layout has been significantly developed and plans are in the pipeline to further improve it this winter.