THE MAKING OF A PERFECT “BUCKET LIST” GOLF VACATION

Forget Trying to Book your Dream Golf Vacation Alone

More and more golf travelers are finding few choices at golf’s most storied destinations for a golf vacation. In the past, booking online direct may have worked for the most part, but today it’s an entirely different game best left to the pros.

As golfers, we yearn to find new places to play, and new horizons in the game to discover. Once hooked on golf, we all watch the game played by professionals at some of the most incredible destinations worldwide.

Golf travel has become one of the largest economic sectors in the golf industry across the globe. While we all have our own “bucket list” of places to play in the U.S. and abroad, that list in many ways is pretty much the same for us all.

Having said that, the one thing that the coronavirus left us all with after years of being cooped up, is a new sense of urgency to finally fulfill the destinations on that list.

The very words “golf bucket list” have brought millions of golfers to the same reality: If not now, when?

This has created a major issue with many of the top golf travel destinations that none of us ever expected to see. Fully booked hotel accommodations, limited access to tee times, and having to settle for second or even third choices on dates, prime seasons, and preferred courses.

Travelers planning a golfing vacation to prestigious courses in Ireland, Scotland and other UK destinations have seen this trend now for over a year. The same is true at top U.S. destinations, like Pebble BeachKohler, Bandon Dunes, Big CedarPinehurst, and many others as well.

The reality is that open reservations during prime times with preferred tee times are a hot commodity. For some playing pre-dusk tee times is fine, but for most, the full experience with a great itinerary is a must.

Some of the UK’s top venues are selling out, not just this year, but well into 2024, due in part to growing confidence in international travel among wealthy Americans.

The days of booking your own “bucket list” golf travel vacations today are best left to the seasoned professionals, who have built their business models on having the access to the top golf travel destinations in the world.

They are well connected, deeply vested, and have years of experience at successfully building great golf travel memories for their clients. Many have garnished top hotel bookings in prime periods and reserved already the very best in tee times at many of the greatest venues, including the Old CourseNew Course, Jubilee Course in St Andrews and have access to many of the greatest British Open venues as well.

It is not only their investment in inventory that keeps their golf travel business vital, but more importantly, it’s their long-standing personal relationships with many of

the hotels and courses in prime golf travel locations, who they have worked with in good times and bad, that are key today to getting that perfect golf vacation.

In most cases you will find better value, more secured itineraries and most importantly, concierge service for your dream golf experience

Planning Far Enough in Advance

The first step to any magnificent golf journey may start with the internet for research on where to go.

The next step and the most important with trips like this, is talk to a golf travel professional. Few travel professionals have the extensive golf knowledge of golf tour operators, who will most times already know all the answers you need.

Depending on your golfing destination, you will most likely need to book at least 8 months to 16 months in advance, which will ensure that you get to play on the courses you want to at the time of year you plan to go.

Also, booking far in advance allows you to get better rates, find better airfare, accommodations, and most important prime course tee times.

Note: Many well-connected golf tour operators have pre-planned group excursions to Ireland, Scotland, and top UK destinations multiple times yearly. They may have openings in these trips or cancellations you could take advantage of as well.

The best way for overseas travelers to get a spot on the Old Course is via an authorized provider golf travel professional. Sean Winton at Golf Inspired for decades has provided custom packaged golf vacations worldwide.

Reach out to Sean for any questions on any of the top destinations in golf: [email protected]

History made by Legends at Costa Navarino

The Legends Tour will visit Greece for the first time in 23 years from 7-9 June. The Costa Navarino Legends Tour Trophy will take place at the stunning Costa Navarino destination.

The European Tour Group is providing financial backing, promotion, and organization for the first Legends Tour event of the 2024 season, set to take place in continental Europe.

Costa Navarino, situated in Messinia in the southwest Peloponnese of Greece, is a member of the European Tour Destinations network. Known for its sustainable practices, this Mediterranean destination offers a premier golfing experience with its four signature 18-hole courses.

The Legends Tour event will be held on two of Costa Navarino’s courses: The Bay Course will host the first round on Friday, June 7, followed by the International Olympic Academy Golf Course for the second and third rounds on Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9.

Ben Cowen, Chief Tournament and Operations Officer of the European Tour Group, expressed enthusiasm about supporting the new tournament in Greece. He emphasized the importance of providing additional playing and earning opportunities for Legends Tour members and highlighted the collaboration with Ryan Howsam and the Legends Tour team, which includes record prize funds for 2024. Cowen also noted the success of the season’s launch in Barbados and wished members well in the upcoming US Senior PGA Championship before the event in Greece, which will showcase the beautiful Costa Navarino to a global audience.

Phil Harrison, CEO of Legends Tour, praised Costa Navarino as an exceptional destination. He acknowledged the support from the European Tour Group and highlighted the challenging yet picturesque golf courses. Harrison also mentioned that many members are already familiar with Costa Navarino, while new visitors can expect a unique experience both on and off the golf courses.

Harrison added that bringing the Legends Tour to Greece expands the tour’s global reach across Europe and beyond. He expressed excitement about the new addition to the calendar and thanked the European Tour Group for their financial and organizational support.

David Ashington, General Manager at Costa Navarino Golf, expressed pride in Costa Navarino becoming the first venue in Greece to host a major professional golf tournament in 23 years. He highlighted the destination’s four signature golf courses, five-star hotels, extensive sports and lifestyle facilities, and authentic year-round experiences. Ashington looked forward to showcasing Costa Navarino to players, their families, tournament guests, and a global audience.

Guests at Costa Navarino can choose from several five-star resorts, including The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, W Costa Navarino, Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino, and The Westin Resort Costa Navarino.

The Field
Already entered into the event are three Major Champions as well as eight of the top ten from last season’s Legends Tour Order of Merit. Look to see guys like Michael Campbell, Scott Hend, Mikael Lundberg, and Roger Chapman compete this weekend.

The Bay Course

Open since October 2011, the 18-hole, 71 par seaside Bay Course at Navarino Bay, designed by Robert Trent Jones II, provides both a fun experience and a challenging test for golfers of all levels. Just a few minutes from Navarino Dunes, at the Navarino Bay development, the Bay Course offers an alternative set of challenges and choices in a quite different setting.

With the majority of tees offering sublime sea views and two holes playing along the historic Bay of Navarino, the course plays at 6139 yards from the back tees and meanders through three distinct natural landscapes. The Seaside, Canyon, and Grove holes provide striking contrasts that create a dramatic and memorable golf round.

The International Olympic Academy Golf Course

The International Olympic Academy Golf Course, is one of two 18-hole par-72 golf courses designed for Costa Navarino by the world-famous golfer and two-time Masters champion José María Olazábal. It is located at Navarino Hills, the 125-hectare golf haven named the “World’s Best New Golf Development” at the 2020 World Golf Awards and one of the most anticipated new projects worldwide in the golfing community.

In these rolling green hills, the 6366-meter International Olympic Academy Golf Course course overlooks the historic Navarino Bay and the Ionian Sea. Olazábal describes the spectacular sea view as “breathtaking” and almost impossible to keep your eyes off. Speaking this summer at a virtual event announcing the project, he said: “It is a great honor to have designed the first International Olympic Academy Golf Course at Navarino Hills. The development of the game is very close to my heart, and I am proud that future generations of golfers will have the opportunity to be educated in the Olympic values at this wonderful new facility.”

The Costa Navarino Legends Tour Trophy takes place from June 7-9, 2024.

Discover more about the incredible destination of Costa Navarino here

America’s Golfing Couple On Golf Inspired

Freelance multimedia journalists Danny & Alice, known as America’s Golfing Couple, travel the world promoting destinations, tournaments, and products.

Golf Inspired – The World’s Most Connected Travel Community Orange Tree Golf Club was the brilliant venue for the Golf Inspired First Annual Golf Outing. Founder Sean Winton welcomed partners and guests along with David Damesworth, Director of Golf. David shared that there is always a waiting
list for membership at the private Orange Tree Golf Club and it is no wonder given its strategic location in Orlando with a challenging, fun layout and exceptional food and service.

We had a blast playing with Jon Whittemore, owner of 15 U.S. golf courses and John Brown, a successful entrepreneur who now serves as the Director of Membership for Golf Inspired. Playing a round of golf is the best way to get to know people and they are our kind of people.

Traveling to play golf affords the chance to meet new friends and bond with old ones while experiencing new adventures, cuisine and learning about history, and culture. It is an opportunity to live briefly within the pages of National Geographic Magazine. Golf Inspired is the world’s most connected travel network to facilitate the pleasures of golf travel.

John explained the Golf Inspired business model and company philosophy. Golf Inspired was born under the umbrella of Distincte Travel Group, a lifestyle travel company owned by Sean Winton who has been a travel industry expert since 1996. Golf Inspired was created to enhance and leverage marketing partnerships with key destinations for their Ambassadors of the Game program. Ambassadors would bring or arrange groups to these special places. Trip details such as itineraries and collateral are undertaken by Golf Inspired personnel to include the best of not only golf, but culture and adventures to authentically experience the true destination.

Golf Inspired has no waiting list for membership. Potential ambassadors will be recruited and vetted with the right candidates having a proven track record of influence and production within their social reach or personal network of golfers that love to travel in style to the best ports of call. Perhaps they already arrange group trips or have always wanted to but didn’t have the proper connections or desire to fret the many details of coordinating transportation, tee times, lodging, etc. It takes a lot to put a single trip together, let alone a group trip. We know this very well, having been on hundreds of trips in our sixteen years of golf travel writing.

Golf Inspired’s ethos is about the celebration of the game; good living shared by likeminded individuals seeking memorable experiences. Through a series of signature events, the Golf Inspired team specializes in creating relaxed and fun-filled environments in some of the most iconic golf destinations.

The destination portfolio will consist of some 60 premier, bucket list spots around the globe. Some current destination partners to highlight are:

Costa Navarino, Greece, ranked #1 Golf Resort in Continental Europe, delivers authentic Greek culture while respecting the nature with beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, and gorgeous golf.

Costa Navarino Olympic Course 10th hole, credit: Jacob Sjoman

Fancourt Links, S. Africa, in the heart of the Garden Route has three spectacular, scenic courses designed by Gary Player’s team. Combined with safaris, a trip to S. Africa can be life changing.

Apes Hill, Barbados is the only elevated golf resort in the Caribbean offering panoramic sea views amid lush landscaping and sunbathing beaches.

Solmar Links, Los Cabos delivers stunning Pacific Ocean vistas on every hole of Greg Norman’s design with whales breaching in season.

West Cliffs, Portugal is a five-star resort in the Silver Coast with a dramatic seaside routing.

The Machrie, Scotland is on the beautiful isle of Islay, Argyll and offers a tranquil setting nestled in the dunes of a pristine seven-mile beach.

The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links, Islay, Argyll , Scotland Picture: Phil Inglis ( © Phil INGLIS )

Performing Ambassadors of the Game will enjoy discounted travel benefits with an up-front subscription and annual fee. One benefit is taking discovery trips with their spouses to experience the ideal itinerary. Special relationships between Ambassadors and Golf Inspired would be evaluated annually to ensure a
mutually beneficial equation of revenue and quality of life for all.

For a taste of Experiences by Distincte and Golf Inspired, Sean Winton is hosting the 2024 Ayrshire Links Invitational presented by SQAIRZ, the official “Links Golf Shoe.” This is the area of Scotland where Sean grew up, so it is near and dear to his heart. Starting on August 18 th , 2024, through August 23rd rd at the Trump Turnberry Resort on Scotland’s picturesque Ayrshire coast, it is open to 40 golfers and non-golfers. Golfers will start off with Turnberry’s King Robert the Bruce followed by Royal Troon (host to this summer’s 152nd OPEN Championship) and Western Gailes, before finishing off with arguably one of the best links golf courses in the world – the Ailsa Course at Turnberry.

The Ailsa Course at the Trump Turnberry Resort on April 26, 2016 in Turnberry, Scotland.

Non-golfers will have an array of options to explore. Some local highlights are the 17th century Culzean Castle and the home of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard. On property, Turnberry has a wonderful spa, an equestrian center, falconry, clay pigeon shooting and so much more. There is literally something for everyone to do! Throughout the week, the very best of what Ayrshire has to offer in scenery, culture and most important of all, it’s culinary delights will be showcased by Golf Inspired Scotland Team! The price is a reasonable $4,995/golfer sharing and $3215/non-golfer.
The full itinerary can be found HERE

If you’d like to speak directly to host Sean Winton, feel free to email or call him [email protected] / M: 813 300 2466 For information on Ambassador of the Game Program for Golf Inspired, contact John Brown – [email protected] / M: 941 448 4733

WOMEN’S SCOTTISH OPEN RETURNS THIS SUMMER

This summer, the Women’s Scottish Open will once again return to the renowned Dundonald Links in Ayrshire for its third consecutive year, August 15-18, 2024.

IRVINE, SCOTLAND, 1ST MAY, 2024

Since its co-sanctioning in 2017, this event has been a significant stop on both the LPGA and Ladies European Tours. It consistently boasts one of the strongest fields outside of the majors with last year’s edition featuring seven of the world’s top 10 players. The event returned to Dundonald Links in 2022 following a £25 million makeover from owners Darwin Escapes to transform the club into one of the UK’s finest golf resorts. It was also previously held there in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Ricki Lasky, Chief Tour Business and Operations Officer for the LPGA added: “We are excited to return to Dundonald Links for yet another incredible edition of the Women’s Scottish Open this summer. The course will provide a great challenge and showcase some the amazing golf our world-class athletes are known for, especially as they prepare for the final major of the year, the AIG Women’s Open played on the historic links at St. Andrews the following week.”

The Scottish Government and VisitScotland have been long standing supporters of women’s golf, and in 2020 committed investment of up to £6m to The Women’s Scottish Open through to 2025. With this partnership, the event has grown in stature, both in strength of field and in terms of best operational practices, becoming the first GEO Certified®️ Tournament on the Ladies European Tour, recognising the tournament’s leadership as a more sustainable golf event.  

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events with VisitScotland said: “Dundonald Links has established itself as an exceptional host for the Women’s Scottish Open, and the Scottish Government and VisitScotland are delighted the event is returning for a third consecutive year. Set against the scenic backdrop of the Ayrshire coastline, it provides the perfect stage for showcasing the world’s best female players. It’s a busy summer of international golf in Scotland, with five professional events taking place throughout July and August, making it an exciting time for the region.”

Lindsey Esse, Managing Director of Darwin Escapes said: “Hosting the Women’s Scottish Open is one of the highlights of our year. We love watching the top players battle it out on our links course, and it’s a privilege to be able to showcase our venue and celebrate the remarkable talent in women’s golf.”

World No.3 Celine Boutier will defend her title at this year’s edition after securing a commanding three-shot lead to claim victory at last year’s event. Her win marked back-to-back triumphs, following her first major title at the Amundi Evian Championship the preceding week.

“It’s going to be an exciting week at Dundonald this year, especially returning as the defending champion. I have always loved playing this event and securing second place in 2022 before clinching”

Barbados, The Return of The Legends

2009 was the last time The Legends Tour was on the Caribbean Island. Today, the wait is over for the return to Barbados. On May 3rd, the award-winning venue, Apes Hill, will be host to the Barbados Legends hosted by Ian Woosnam.

If you’re unfamiliar with Apes Hill, it’s truly a gem of the Caribbean, and they’re not kidding around when they say the golfs on a ‘Higher-Level.’

Opened in 2009, Apes Hill is proudly the newest course in the Caribbean. ‘Higher-level’ golf is used to describe the quality of the championship course but also how the course is situated 1,000 feet above sea level. Ron Kirby, the acclaimed course architect, set out to build a “Caribbean Masterpiece” when he designed this par 72 layout, covering 7,041 yards of gorgeous scenery. Stunning coastal views are accompanied by challenging holes throughout the course. Vistas of the Atlantic and the Caribbean stand with stark elevation changes, wide fairways, and deep natural gullies. The occasional monkey may be seen as well, so be sure to keep an eye on your ball.

For this highly anticipated event, there was no better choice for the host than Ian Woosnam. As an ambassador for Apes Hill, a resident of Barbados, and having both a Masters win and Number 1 ranking in his back pocket, Woosnam is the right man at the helm. In addition to Woosnam, the field will be studded with stars like Shaun Micheel, Michael Campbell, and Angel Cabrera. But, there is certainly more than just the tournament that will make the weekend at Apes Hill special.

As a resort, Apes Hill offers its guests an array of luxury one and two-story golf villas amidst the natural beauty of Barbados. In its brief history, Apes Hill has earned a series of honors at the 2023 World Golf Awards, including Best Golf Course Barbados, Best Golf Course Caribbean, Best Eco-Friendly Golf Facility, and Best Golf Real Estate Venue.

Beyond golf, Apes Hill Resort offers a plethora of activities to suit every interest. For on-site activities, look for the floodlit padel and tennis courts or simply unwind by your private pool. Guests can also explore the vibrant natural heritage of the area through indigenous gully hiking trails. Pristine beaches along the gorgeous west coast are ideal for water sports and relaxation and are less than ten minutes away.

Apes Hill is a must-see destination. Tune into coverage of the tournament on May 3rd and learn just how much it is.

Book your stay with Golf Inspired and receive exclusive benefits.

Announcing Brand Ambassador: Paul Cormack

Golf Inspired Proudly Announces Paul Cormack, LPGA Tour Caddie, as a Brand Ambassador

St. Petersburg, FL, USA, April 18, 2024 – Golf Inspired, a leading brand in the world of golf, is delighted to introduce Paul Cormack, esteemed LPGA Tour Caddie, as its newest Brand Ambassador. Paul’s remarkable journey in golf, coupled with his passion for the game and travel, perfectly aligns with the Golf Inspired ethos.

Hailing from Aberdeen, Scotland, Paul Cormack embodies the transformative power of golf. Being introduced to the sport at the age of 11, Cormack’s journey from football (soccer) to golf has been nothing short of extraordinary. It was Paul’s early achievements on the greens, including representing Scotland on prestigious occasions, that paved the way for a successful collegiate career in the U.S.

After earning the title of All-American in 2004 at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, Cormack transitioned to the professional circuit, embarking on a journey that would redefine his relationship with golf. As a player on the PGA Tour-sanctioned McKenzie Tour in Canada, Paul’s perspective on the game evolved, leading him to embrace the role of a caddie.

Today, Cormack stands as a respected figure on the LPGA Tour, presently working for soon-to-be Hall of Famer Lydia Ko. His career is storied with successful working partnerships across many of today’s professional Tours. The most notable run to date was the partnership with Anna Nordqvist, where together they were victorious at Carnoustie Golf Links as “Champion Golfer” and “Champion Caddie” of the year in 2021! Other notable achievements include multiple Solheim Cup triumphs, all of which underscore his expertise and dedication to the sport. At only 40 years old, he has got the making of a strong career in this sport! 

Golf Inspired is thrilled to welcome Paul Cormack as its Brand Ambassador. This collaboration signifies a shared commitment to inspiring golf enthusiasts worldwide through compelling storytelling and authentic experiences. As Cormack travels the globe with the LPGA Tour, Golf Inspired will showcase his journey, celebrating the love of the game and the diverse landscapes it encompasses.

“We are honored to have Paul Cormack join Golf Inspired as our Brand Ambassador,” said Sean Winton, Founder of Golf Inspired. “Paul is a close friend, a fellow Scot, and we felt choosing a Tour Caddie as our first brand ambassador was a unique but wise choice. Rarely does the caddie receive the spotlight or deserved adulation out on tour but it’s the caddie’s influence that gets the player to the finish line each round. The same can be said when choosing a good travel planner as we are like your travel caddie which is why having a tour caddie as our brand ambassador is a perfect fit for us. Again, we are excited to have him on our team”.

(Credit Getty Images)

“I am thrilled to embark on this exciting journey as a Brand Ambassador for Golf Inspired,” said Paul Cormack “. “Golf has been a central part of my life, shaping my experiences and perspectives which all happen to include travel. So, considering that I am out on the road for 25+ weeks of the year, this is the perfect partnership to share my journeys, both the glamorous and not-so-glamorous parts of a Tour Caddie out traveling the world”.

As Paul Cormack joins Golf Inspired as its Brand Ambassador, the partnership signifies a shared commitment to promoting the love for golf and the enriching experiences it offers through the power of global travel.

Follow Paul Cormack’s journey on Instagram @TheInspiredCaddie as he travels the world with the LPGA Tour and discovers the inspiration behind Golf Inspired, The World’s Most Connected Golf Travel Community. For media inquiries or further information, please contact:

Mark Berry

Director of Marketing

[email protected]

727 378 0345

About Golf Inspired:

Golf Inspired, a division of Distincte Travel Group, is a leading brand dedicated to inspiring golfers worldwide through quality products, storytelling, and community engagement.

Imagine. Being connected to the only global golf travel platform powered by a community of industry partners, travel advisors & discerning golf travel enthusiasts. Golf Inspired is a community-based global marketing platform. It’s built to provide destinations and golf resort partners an opportunity to “tell their story” to an exclusive audience of golf travel enthusiasts and luxury travel advisors. Golf Inspired understands what today’s golf travelers want, delivering a high quality, high-value inspirational vacation, packaging amazing experiences with top-notch service… anywhere in the world…. time after time. Are you ready for your share of this golf travel market? Imagine the possibilities when you join GOLF INSPIRED.

Don’t Just Visit a Destination, Experience It! 

Learn more at: https://golfinspired.com/about-us/

Why We Love Portugal

Portugal consistently emerges as a top recommendation for those seeking a fresh and unforgettable adventure, and there are plenty of reasons why. Visitors often find themselves smitten with the country, whether it be the delectable cuisine, warm and welcoming locals, robust economic offerings, exceptional golf courses, pleasant climate, or the perfect blend of all these elements. What’s unequivocal is that our clients express an eagerness for a return visit, marking Portugal as a destination that captures hearts. Allow us to delve deeper into the allure of this enchanting country.

Portugal boasts a temperate climate throughout the year. The Algarve, located at the Mediterranean Sea’s mouth, stands as the warmest region. Golf enthusiasts can indulge in their passion year-round, with outstanding courses such as Monte Rei, a Jack Nicklaus masterpiece and the country’s top-ranked course. The Algarve, though geographically small, hosts 27 Michelin-rated restaurants, offering a culinary adventure to pair with exquisite beaches and over 300 days of sunshine annually. Among our favorites is Vila Vita Parc, a self-contained 5-star resort that epitomizes the best of the Algarve.

Venturing north, the city of Porto, Portugal’s second-largest, captures our affection. While possessing a grittier charm than Lisbon, Porto’s position on the Douro River sets the stage for winery tours along the river.  Imagine a lesser known Bordeaux region. Just outside the city lies the Vidago Palace, once the retreat of King D. Carlos I. Today it is a resort with a thermal spa, an 18-hole golf course, and luxurious grounds—all offered at attractive prices. Porto itself dazzles with its shops, vibrant nightlife, riverside allure, and captivating dining experiences.

A two-hour drive south from Porto leads to Praia d’el Rey Golf and Resort, one of Europe’s premier golf destinations. Positioned by an awe-inspiring beach with a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean. The golf options, including courses like Royal Óbidos and West Cliff, make it a golfer’s paradise. A short drive away is the UNESCO world heritage site of Obidos, a charming walled town with pedestrianized streets.

Continuing south, just an hour and fifteen minutes away is the capital city, Lisbon. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe our affection for Lisbon. Here, you will eat well, visit amazing architecture, stay at modern yet charming hotels,  and you will walk and walk and walk some more occasionally stopping to have a Ginja, a Portuguese liqueur, sold in kiosks (more kiosks than yellow cabs in New York CIty) around the city. You will learn about the famous Portuguese explorers, Vasco de Gama and Magellan.

AND you will taste a Pastel de Nata for the first time which is a Portuguese custard tart. You can buy them all around the city but you must try them at Pastel de Belém. It may be the most heavenly thing you’ve ever eaten. The most heavenly view will be at the Torre de Belém where you can take in the entire city and down to the Tagus River.  After a full day of exploration, we always recommend Palacio Ludovice as our hotel of choice. The people who run the hotel are friendly and attentive and the rooms are modern but classic.

For those in search of their next extraordinary holiday, Portugal beckons. We proudly accept the accolades for helping create a fabulous vacation, and rest assured, your tales of this remarkable journey will resonate among your friends for years to come.

About our Author:    Mike Di Carlo is one of our Ambassadors of the Game and an excellent Travel Advisor on our team.  Ask him about golf in Scotland, experiential travel in Italy, Greece, & Portugal Email: [email protected]

A Scottish Dream Fulfilled

When you think about a dream trip, what comes to your mind? Laying on the beach, doing snow sports and hiking in the mountains, seeing a new city, or even eating those foods you never thought you would? Maybe for you, it is visiting that one place you have always wanted to experience but have never been able to justify the expense.

Everyone’s answer may look very different to that question. Some will want to see all the sights, experience all of the culture, and not sleep much if it means following the strict itinerary. Others will be content getting to their destination and sitting oceanside and turning off from the rest of the world for the next few days before returning home to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. While there is no problem with having a different idea, some will have very similar tastes.

If you have stumbled across this article, that means you may have an idea like me. My answer to this question was able to come true with the help of many hands pushing me into the right person’s email inbox. As a 22-year-old recent university graduate with a love of golf and meeting new people, a trip to the motherland of the game was a dream of mine. Visiting Scotland, more importantly, St. Andrews is a dream destination for anyone with a love of grass, irons, and the continual pursuit of the perfect golf round.

I have played for the last 14 years of my life through high school and into college so the thought of playing some of the most historic courses in the world has always been in the back of my mind. This trip however does not come around often, especially for a young person. I was able to use a few of my contacts to meet Mr. Winton with Distincte Travel, I feel as though through all of this I can now call him a great friend.

His contacts helped to open the door to many amazing opportunities and it was going to be up to me to take them. The biggest door that was opened was a contact with Kingsbarns Golf Links. I was able to intern and learn from this first-class establishment. I met and worked with most of the team in all the different areas around the property, from the bag drop station greeting the day’s players, to the pro shop sorting and stocking shelves, and to cutting holes on the greens one morning with the world-class greens team.

My time here opened another door, the door to the most known course around the world, The Old Course. While riding with the course ranger, (course marshal), just a simple conversation of why I was over led to the question, “Well, are you playing the Old?” Followed by the response, “No sir, I haven’t planned it yet but of course I am going to find a way.”

We then proceed to enter the lottery, one of only a few ways to secure a tee time. We found out we had been selected and it was scheduled, Three o’clock two days later. Playing this historic track, especially with Locals, is the only way to do it in my opinion. From the Swilcan Bridge, the Road Hole, the original Out and Back layout, and of course the sausage roll and coffee, it was one of the most perfect days.

My time in St. Andrews was all about Golf and the reality that the city is the ultimate definition of golf. The culture does live and breathe because of the game. The Dunvegan, Jigger Inn, Auchterlonies, and the numerous other golf shops were what made the city what it is today and all are stops that must be made while visiting. After cutting short my time in what quickly became my favorite city on Earth, my journey then continued to the Highlands and back down to the West Coast continuing to play golf and learn and meet new people. From Castle Stuart to Turnberry and everywhere in between.

After finishing my journey I have been able to stay in touch with most of my new friends that I was able to meet along the way. Overall, I go back to the original question. What does your dream trip look like? Is it something like me where you cover most of a country in two weeks playing some of the greatest golf destinations you can?

Well if that is the case, I would love to share the rest of my story with you. If this is something you would be looking to experience for yourself, I know my great friend Mr. Sean Winton and his wonderful team at Distincte Travel will be more than happy to help you plan the journey of a lifetime for you and your closest friends.

Always remember that some opportunities do not come around often, and sometimes you must say yes even when it may be uncomfortable in the moment. But in the end, it is worth it!

By Devan Martin