Royal Dornoch

Golf Road Trip Version 2.0: Scotland

What do cars on the wrong side of the road, towns at the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska, and spectacular ocean views all have in common?


I’ll be experiencing all three next month when I return to Europe for the first time since my college graduation in 2007.

I’ve known my friend Dan Jarvis for the better part of three years now, and ever since we first met in the Mexican jungle, we’ve been talking about taking a golf and scotch trip to Scotland.

It was always one of those ambiguous things that never had a timeline and we always said we would do “one day”.

Well while I was in New York this past June we got to talking about my quest to play the Top 100 Courses in the United States – and further pressed to say, “how cool would it be to play the top 100 in the world?”


I’ve played 8 so far, but between September 9th and 19th we’re going to knock off 9 more as we drive to quite literally every single corner of Scotland in our quest to play some of the best courses the world has to offer.

Last October, I took a similar trip through the midwest and it ended up being one of the highlights of my year.

The whole reason I’ve pursued this lifestyle is to be able to do more stuff like this. The adventures that are always too time consuming, costly, or extreme to ever actually be taken seriously.

This is just one more opportunity to prove that just about anything is possible if you work hard at building a business around the type of lifestyle you’re looking for.

Here’s the general rundown of the trip. If you’re not a golfer, this might not mean much, but I’m pretty excited.

  • September 8th: Leave Portland
  • September 9th: Arrive in Edinburgh and drive to the SW coast
  • September 10th: Turnberry (Hosts British Opens and is the Pebble Beach of Scotland)
  • September 11th: Royal Troon (Also hosts the British Open)
  • September 12th: North Berwick (One of the most historic golf clubs in the world)
  • September 13th: Royal Dornoch (The #6 course in the world according to Golf Digest, and at the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska)
  • September 14th: Cruden Bay (Seems to be the crowd favorite from people I’ve talked to)
  • September 15th: Trump International (The newest course on the trip)
  • September 16th: Carnoustie (The Scottish equivalent of Bethpage Black)
  • September 17th: Will enter lottery for St. Andrews Old Course
  • September 18th: Kingsbarns (Another crowd favorite, and probably the course I’m most excited for)
  • September 19th: Fly out

How to Pay for a Trip Like This

Whether it’s through emails, instagram comments or otherwise the question I get asked the most is “how do you pay for a trip like this?”

Well, there are a few things that factor in.

First, I work for myself and can quite literally work from anywhere in the world as long as I have an internet connection. My other site talks all about how to build that kind of a business.

So I don’t need to take PTO and I can continue bringing in income when I’m on the road.

Second, I’ve worked really hard over the last year and a half to build (what I like to think is) a really good golf site. I usually spend 4-5 hours on every course recap post between the writing and photo editing. So when I travel, I often work with courses to get a deal on greens fees in exchange for the writeup.

I don’t get paid for them, and I always give my true thoughts either way, but it can help make these longer road trips more feasible financially.

Third, I always try and bring a friend. This is usually my buddy Dan who I mentioned before. This cuts hotel, gas, and rental car expenses in half.

Do you have any favorite courses in Scotland? Have you played any of these? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Photo Credit (Since I don’t have any of my own yet!): Foxypar4

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  1. Steve

    I went to Scotland in May with seven friends for 8 days and we played several courses in the area of St. Andrews and traveled one day to Gleneagles. We all work in Germany for the U.S. Army, so flight costs were pretty reasonable.

    The highlight was (of course) playing the Old Course. Get there at least by 0515 to get in line. Some folks camped out overnight, but all seven of us got off at some point during the day (the last got in line around 0600. I’m told it is tougher in Jun/Jul/Aug.

    Kingsbarns is the most beautiful course I’ve ever played — and very demanding if the wind starts to blow. The staff were incredibly friendly and the Caddies top notch.

    New Course (and others) — all good golf. You can spend a week just playing the St. Andrews series of courses.

    Crail Golfing Society (15 min south of St. Andrews) is one of the Oldest in Scotland, and playing there was the next best after the Old Course ( I played well). The wind howled, and playing the ball on the ground and using the wind was necessary to shoot well. We played Crail in the Morning, and then went back up the coast (5 Min) to Kingsbarns.

    The links courses in general had very hard ground, and you could putt from darn near anywhere. The greens can be huge, but balls flying in to the green often did not hold, so playing for a lot of roll up is prudent. Be prepared to walk — carts are typically allowed only for handicapped folks. Having a Caddy makes about 5 shots difference in the score. They just know the course and what type of shots work well there. Tip Well.

    Gleneagles (site of the Ryder Cup) was not much different than any course in the U.S. in fairly hilly terrain. I found the staff unfriendly and the course was not all that special — long and hilly.

    Enjoy your trip — you could spend a month there and not scratch the surface.


  2. Ryan

    Spent 17 days in Scotland in 2009. Definitely should visit Prestwick (home of the first 25 Opens). Toughest course I played but also a ton of great golf memorabilia & history. Would also recommend Royal Aberdeen (you will be close) the host of this years Scottish Open.

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