Best 19th Holes in Scotland
MOST of us play golf because we enjoy the social scene that is part and parcel of this wonderful game. You play 18 holes with a group of friends and then head for the bar, where you enjoy a pint of beer, relive every shot (even though the guys in your company have just witnessed every blow you struck), bemoan your bad luck, maybe have a bite to eat and enjoy some banter. It's what golf is all about, and good clubhouses and their bars are integral part of the sport.
The best clubhouses, those which creak with history and tradition, those which boast exceptional food, a great atmosphere and a fine pint of beer are almost as important as the course. Scots are known for their hospitality. It has to be said that they are also known for their fondness of alcohol, so we decided that it was about time that we looked at some of the best 19th holes north of the border. It is not scientific and it is by no means definitive, but here are 10 of our favourites – and several of them are not clubhouse bars. But they are perfect places for relaxing after 18 holes. In fact, we make no apologies for the fact that many of these 19th hole watering places are NOT traditional clubhouses.
The Jigger Inn, St Andrews
We start with the Jigger Inn, which is definitely not a 19th hole in the traditional sense but if you have been lucky enough to play the Old Course at St Andrews then your trip to the home of golf cannot be compete without a trip to the Jigger, which is located not far from the world-famous green at the Road Hole, the 17th. It is one of the most famous golf pubs in the world and it reeks of history. It dates back to the 1850s, when it was the station master’s lodge. The Jigger is home to golfing memorabilia, open-hearth fires, home-cooked food and a superb selection of Scottish beers. Simply the best.
Musselburgh Old Links Clubhouse
Members of Musselburgh Links Old reclaimed this beautiful 19th century Victorian-style clubhouse from foreclosure years ago, and today you can play the world's oldest continuous golf course with old hickory shafts, followed by a whisky or a pint where the likes of Willie Park Sr. and Musselburgh's other Open Champions drank as well. You could also spend an afternoon thumbing through the memorabilia on the walls here and enjoying the club’s golf museum.
North Berwick East Lounge
Visitors to North Berwick are effectively members of the club for the day they play, and that means being able to take full advantage of the clubhouse, which serves fabulous food. The bar is located on the upper floor in the east and west lounges and has spectacular views of the 18th green, first tee, the town, harbour and Firth of Forth islands. It is the perfect place to sit back with a drink and reflect on your game. The bar has a wide range of beers, wines and spirits to choose from. There is a bistro menu and also a summer menu, service locally-sourced produce.The East Lounge features a trophy cabinet, some of which date back to the 1850s.
Royal Dornoch Clubhouse
Royal Dornoch is located about 30 miles from Inverness and is one of Tom Watson’s favourite golf links. It is a stunning course, boasting some spectacular views of some of Scotland’s most breathtaking scenery. The clubhouse offers views across the Dornoch Firth, where you might spot some breeding osprey pairs. There is an impressive choice of whisky on offer behind the bar and the food is all locally-sourced and beautifully cooked and prepared.
A fabulous clubhouse that overlooks the 18th green and first tee at a course not far from St Andrews that has been used as a qualifying course for The Open when it is played at the Home of Golf. The course is one of the most underrated in Scotland. The clubhouse is a gem. Visitors are welcomed with open arms, with a bar that serves a wonderful range of drink and food.
Skerry Brae, Stotfield Road, Lossiemouth
The Skerry Brae is a hotel with a bar which offers fabulous views from its outside terrace of the Old Moray Links, overlooking the 18th fairway and out and beyond. The bar stocks a range of draught beers and always has a local real ale available from Windswept Brewery. Also available is a wide range of bottled ales and lagers, spirits and soft drinks. Being within the Speyside sphere of influence there are plenty of blends of whisky on offer too. Oh yes, and the food is not bad either.
Old Clubhouse, Gullane
Once Gullane Golf Club’s clubhouse, today The Old Clubhouse is a busy and friendly pub and restaurant with a dozen beers on tap, together with an outstanding menu serving everything from burgers to pasta dishes to lamb specials. The Old Clubhouse, located on East Links Road, was originally built as a half-timbered clubhouse by Gullane Golf Club and opened way back in April 1890. It was soon extended. When the golf club moved across town in 1929 to their current clubhouse, the building was used for various purposes. It is now a pub again, and has been serving golfers since 1988.
Trump Turnberry Lighthouse Halfway House
The Halfway House is located in the shadow of the iconic lighthouse at Trump Turnberry, one of the finest links courses on the planet, located on the Ayrshire coast. It lay empty for many years but has now been completely renovated. Located close to the ninth hole, it is a bistro and bar that provides some of the best views on any golf course anywhere in the world. It also features a luxurious fully serviced two-bedroom suite for hotel guests, with magnificent sea views from its extensive terraces. The terrace by the grillroom and bar provides views of Ailsa Craig and Arran.
If it is not enough that Kingsbarns Links, on the outskirts of St Andrews, is one of the best courses you will ever play (and it most certainly is), just wait until you have finished your round and head for the clubhouse, with its fabulous leather chairs and sofas and amazing views of both the course and the coastline beyond. If the weather permits, you can sit on the patio and watch fellow golfers finishing their rounds. The menu offers everything from freshly prepared light snacks to main course meals, available throughout the day.
Pollock Golf Club, Glasgow
Pollock is arguably the finest woodland course in and around Glasgow, with beautifully manicured greens and fairways you could eat your dinner off. Speaking of which, if your idea of the perfect c19th hole features ooden wall panels, leather chairs and trophies, you will love this place. The club has spent more than £1m refurbishing the clubhouse, while retaining its special character. There are two lounges and a dining room with a la carte and table d'hote menus along with a fine range of snacks. The toilet facilities are also worth a mention, with state-of-the-art washing facilities and plenty of freshly-laundered towels.
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