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Issue 43 - Homecoming Scotland 2009

Scotland Magazine Issue 43
February 2009


This article is 9 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Homecoming Scotland 2009


What makes Scotland so special for golfers? Firstly, it is the extraordinary variety that it offers from the links that have evolved along the sandy coastal strips such as St Andrews, Prestwick and Muirfield, to the inland legends such as those at Gleneagles Hotel.

Under a big sky, such locations are guaranteed to provide an unforgettable experience.

Then there is that sense of history that accompanies every footstep.

Famous names abound: men such as Allan Robertson, the first professional and the first individual to play St Andrews with fewer than 80 strokes; Old Tom Morris, the most famous name in Scottish golf, and his son, Tom, the only man to win the Open Championship four times in succession – the first time at the age of 17. Other legends include Willie Park, and James Braid, who won the Open five times and laid down hundreds of courses.

The very first Open Championship, the only major golfing championship to be held outside of the USA, took place at Prestwick in 1860 when eight players challenged for the title over the 12-hole course, and it was won by Willie Park, a Scotsman. Since then, the tournament has returned regularly to Scotland being played at Carnoustie, St Andrews, The Royal Troon Golf Club, Muirfield and Turnberry, and from 16th to 19th July in the year of the Homecoming, the 138th Open will be played on the Course at Turnberry which in 1977 saw the classic Duel in the Sun between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.

To put the game into a more picturesque historic perspective, an exhibition devoted to the history of The Open, ‘Whole in One’, will feature at the Maclaurin galleries in Ayr from June to October.

Homecoming Scotland 2009 also sees the launch of Scotland’s biggest ever golf promotion, “Drive it Home,” which offers a free fourball at selected courses across Scotland for overseas golfers and their companions (

Included in this generous initiative is the opportunity to play on courses such as Royal Troon, the PGA Centenary at Gleneagles, host venue of the 2014 Ryder Cup, and classic links course such as The Glen in East Lothian and the Old Course at Moray Golf Club, designed by Old Tom Morris himself. In addition, there are the new courses such as the spectacularly situated Machrihanish Dunes in Kintyre and The Dukes at St Andrews.

Launched in 2000, the Scottish Golf Classics ( has now become a regular return fixture in the calendar. Open to both ladies and gentlemen (and with full handicap allowance being given) these stableford events are considered to be what golf should be about. The courses in the programme include Dornoch, Golspie, Brora, Tain, and Dundonald in the Highlands; Western Gailes, Barassie, Prestwick in Ayrshire; Craigielaw, Longniddry, Gullane 1 & 2 in East Lothian, and Kingsbarns (subject to confirmation), Torrance, Crail and Ladybank in Fife. What better way could there be to explore Scotland from coast to coast?