Golfing holiday at home

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Golfing holiday at home

With the UK having so many great golfing regions, and me having not long taken up the game,  I have made it an ambition of mine to play and experience as many of these fantastic courses as possible - from the hidden gems to the Open Championship courses.  I guess now that I have started the golfing bug has well and truly bit.

I was really interested in finding out if other forum members had been on golf holidays in the UK rather than jetting off abroad to, say, Spain, Portugal, the US and the like; and which regions they visited and which courses they played.  I'm not talking about two or three weeks breaks as may be required to justify going abroad for a golf trip - anything between two to seven days would be ideal.

As well as this if you had any further information on how you went about planning your trips and any tips that you could give on doing so in the most efficient and cost effective way possible would be much appreciated.

Obviously playing the Open Championship courses in both England and Scotland is very expensive, with the green fees of each of the nine courses on the current rota being priced in excess of £100, and when this is coupled with accommodation, travel and food/drink expenses the cost can escalate pretty rapidly.  For this reason I am keen to learn from experience and not break the bank on a single golfing trip, which would (hopefully) allow me to visit more than one of the regions I have been longing to play!

I am sure that achieving the aim of playing many great courses without costing an arm and a leg is attainable but I have done a little research on the options available and it appears that the best way of keeping costs down when planning a "home golf holiday" is through independent travel, accommodation etc rather than booking through a tour operator - which I am told can be pricey.  If anyone can confirm through their own experiences then that would be really helpful too. 

One method, I am told, is by playing in the various courses' opens which allows you to play for a fraction of the usual green fee, however if planning a trip to a certain area is there much chance that all of the courses in the region will be having their opens on consecutive days which would allow me to take advantage of them - I imagine that this would not be the case and I would probably be best timing my trip to coincide with the most expensive course's open and just pay regular green fees for the others in the area that I plan to play.  Does this sound the sensible approach to take? 

Living in Edinburgh I have good access to the East Lothian and Fife courses, which would possibly be many peoples' choice of area for a UK golf break, therefore, the regions I have earmarked as being the most desirable for an away trip at the moment would be the Northern Highlands (encompassing Royal Dornoch, Brora, Tain, Nairn, Boat of Garten etc) and the North East of Scotland (Cruden Bay, Murcar, Royal Aberdeen, Montrose etc) although once these areas have been visited I am keen to visit England's golf coast in the North West, the South East of England and also Northern Ireland and the Republic - so hopefully everyone on GM will have been to one or two of these golf zones in the UK and Ireland. 

This clearly is a long term plan and it is likely to be the case that I will only be able to tick one off my list every year or two at best and any wisdom that could be passed on from those who have experience of such home golf breaks would be excellent to know.

Apologies for the long post and thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.

I have done it many a time. Usually i try to play courses with 2 for 1 vouchers to keep costs down, and also play 1 good course.I have stayed in Elgin a couple of times  and played there, Forres, Moray Old & New, Nairn Dunbar, Hopeman, Cullen, Duff House Royal, Strathlene, Buckpool, Garmouth & Kingston, Spey Bay, Rothes, Keith & Royal Tarlair. If missing out any of those I would make it the last few.I have stayed in Inverness and played Boat of Garten, Grantown on-Spey, Newtonmore, Fortrose & Rosemarkie, Muir of Ord, Tain, Royal Dornoch & Struie & 2 of the Inverness courses, can't remember their names,Stayed in Aberdeen and played Murcar, Fraserburgh & PeterheadStayed in Dumfries and played Dumfries & County, Dumfries & Galloway, Pines, Southerness, Powfoot & Gretna.Best was up in Elgin. Plenty of golf, mostly reasonably priced and enough to keep you occupied in the evening, although with Inverness not being a million miles away that is a really good alternative.

Thanks for the suggestions Forbesie.I recognise and know a bit about most of the courses that you mention but there are a few (ie. Strathlene, Buckpool, Garmouth & Kingston, Hopeman, Cullen, Muir of Ord & Pines) that I don't know anything about other than the region that they are in.Regarding the 2 for 1 vouchers - do you require two people to effectively utilise the vouchers or are you able to play two rounds as a single for the price of one?  Or can you play two courses for the price of one where a club has more than the one course (such as at Royal Dornoch, although I suspect they won't take vouchers in any case!)?  Some guidance on this would be helpful as I do tend to play the majority of my golf as a single.Are these 2 for 1 vouchers different from Bunkered vouchers?  I've seen them before but if I remember correctly they just give you reduced green fees rather than 2 for 1 offers.

There is a Competition on the Wirral in the NW Golf Coast in September, The Wirral Classic. You play Royal Liverpool ( Open Venue) and Wallasey ( Open qualifier) and two other courses for £199.Which i think is pretty good value given that Royal Liverpool and Wallasey would cost you that much on there own.and on the way back home, could fit a round in at the southport courses . Golf magic did an article on it not so long ago and i think there is webiste for it.

Aces,Thanks for that.  That's exactly the type of thing I'm looking for - something that lets you play some of the great courses, open qualifiers etc over a few days and also offers a discount on the full price.  £200 isn't cheap like you say but when you take the green fees of the four rounds individually it sounds like it will work out to be good value.The only other event of this type is the Tassie one at Carnoustie where you get to play the Carnoustie championship course and it's sister course for a greatly reduced fee.  Are these two events fairly common then (and if so where can I find out about other similar ones) or are they more of an exception?  Incidently, I did look at the Tassie at Carnoustie and the website advised that all off the entry slots were taken up FIVE MINUTES after they became available - I take it you need to get in there quick when offers/competitions like these come around?

....find out "who" on here plays "where," and grovel for an invite! 

....that would be another option Ian - you don't have a comprehensive list of who plays where do you?  Might come in handy!!!

2 for 1 vouchers would not work for you as a single. Have a look for an Open Competition. Some clubs do mid week and some do week long ones.http://www.golfcentral.co.uk/if you want to look to see if there are any opens to play in. Alternatively, the Wee Yellow Book is out now.

Thanks for that Forbesie.  Looks like the opens are my best option then.  I don't have a handicap at the moment because I am still looking to join a club.  Do I need to wait until I get a handicap before applying to enter as I did note that some competitions had limits?  Is this strictly enforced?

You would not be able to enter a club Open without a handicap.

Cheers John.  Sorry if it seemed an obvious question - it was just that I did see some competitions listed that had no handicap limit and therefore I thought that might be an exception.  Will have to get joined up and submit a few cards quickly then.