A guide to golf at MacDonald Hotels

By: Golf Shake | Thu 03 Sep 2015


When seeking a satisfying and memorable golf/spa retreat, inhabitants of the United Kingdom don’t have to look as far away as they may initially expect. The MacDonald Hotel and Resorts group have compiled an impressive portfolio of establishments within a variety of regions, opening up many spectacular areas of the country to potential visitors. With excellent facilities and tremendous courses within easy reach, staying at a MacDonald resort ticks all of the boxes.

Golf, Region and Accommodation

The MacDonald Aviemore Resort is situated amongst the spectacular surroundings of the Cairngorm National Park in the Scottish Highlands. With such expansive panoramas and clean air around you, it is a wholly enriching experience to spend time in the area.

£5 million has been spent on the resort – enhancing the facilities that had already been in place. There are now four hotels on site and 18 enchanting woodlands lodges, with amenities including a 3D cinema, shopping centre, and numerous bars and restaurants meeting the needs of all visitors.

While being an ideal setting for a holidaying family, with the state of the art Activity Centre offering attractions for children and teenagers of all ages, MacDonald Aviemore also has something special for golfers.

The Spey Valley Championship Golf Course is becoming increasingly popular with visitors and reviewers, progressing up the rankings in the years since its design by the late Dave Thomas. The former Ryder Cup player laid out a fantastic course with stunning vistas, and is perhaps most noted for possessing the longest hole in all of Scottish golf at a wince-inducing 635 yards.


Spey Valley Championship Course

MacDonald Aviemore


The undisputed quality of the layout was reaffirmed by the annual hosting of the SSE Hydro Challenge, an event on the Challenge Tour that was won by the talented Brooks Koepka in 2013.

Drifting south from the Highlands, the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa is situated in a scenic location on the banks of the River Tweed. Within 90 minutes of both Glasgow and Edinburgh, in addition to boasting a close proximity to the north of England, the Cardona benefits from its accessible location in the Scottish border at Peebles, with its four-star-hotel attracting thousands of visitors from all of these nearby regions.

The striking hotel consists of 99-quality bedrooms, with the award-winning Renwicks Restaurant offering an attractive variety of culinary options. This all compliments the outstanding spa facilities on offer, in addition to the fishing rights that the hotel enjoys; allowing visiting anglers the opportunity to try and catch the plentiful salmon in the Tweed.


Cardrona Golf Club

Cardrona Golf Club


However, for anyone with a set of clubs, it is the course at Cardrona that is the main attraction. Another Dave Thomas layout that measures an eye-watering 7,000 yards from the medal tees, the course is parkland in nature, with huge and undulating greens ensuring for an exciting challenge. It will satisfy any golfer who is staying at this majestic complex in the borders.

There are also options in England, with the stylish and elegant Macdonald Portal Hotel, Golf & Spa being situated in Cheshire, which boasts a stunning countryside location. With an 18-metre swimming pool and state of the art gymnasium on site, the Portal is ideal for anyone seeking an active relaxation.

The complex is unmatched in terms of golf, being home to the Lee Westwood Golf School, with three courses to choose from. The Championship – designed by Donald Steel – is the showpiece of the Portal, opening to rave reviews in the early 1990s, with the Premier being a fine supporting act, while the nine-hole Arderne is a short and ideal layout for families to enjoy. 

There is an ambience and tranquillity to the Macdonald Hill Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa, which can be found amongst gardens in Shropshire. At this site – there are two excellent golf course that will provide a challenge for all standards of player, while the impressive Vital Health and Wellbeing Centre is an ideal place to unwind after a round before a meal in the excellent Borders Restaurant.

If a more traditional and atmospheric site is what you would be seeking, the Macdonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club may just be the best option. Built in the 19th century, this stunning old building can be found in the beautiful countryside of Northumberland, with fantastic dining and a tranquil 18-hole golf course that will meet the expectations of all who have the good fortune to visit.


Linden Hall Golf & Country Club

Linden Hall


Despite the quality and obvious allure of the designated resorts, Macdonald hotels can also be the base for a golf tour. Marine Hotel & Spa is an example of that. Situated in North Berwick, just yards away from the iconic and fabled West Links, the luxury establishment is an ideal grounding for any visit to East Lothian, which is commonly referred to as Scotland’s Golf Coast.

With the likes of Muirfield, Gullane, Dunbar and Archerfield all within close proximity, the Marine Hotel is suited for serious golfers who plan to tick off many of the region’s great courses. Another advantage is that with Edinburgh only a short distance away and easily accessible by car or train, all of the attractions to Scotland’s capital city are within reach of what is a stunning hotel.

The same can be said for the Macdonald Rusacks Hotel, which is unquestionably the most recognisable and photographed of all the group’s properties. Sat overlooking the 18th fairway of the Old Course at St. Andrews, the hotel boasts what is arguably the greatest view in all of golf.

There are seven courses under the famous umbrella of the St. Andrews Links Trust – the Old, New, Castle, Jubilee, Eden, Strathtyrum and Balgove, all of which are within a short distance of the hotel. The likes of Kingsbarns and Crail are also within a short drive, while a dedicated golf concierge will assist you in ensuring that your time in St. Andrews is as rewarding as possible.

The atmosphere of the town is something special to behold, and you can begin that adventure at the hotel itself, with its Rocca Restaurant, One-Under Gastro Pub and R-Bar all being popular and highly regarded. Any visit to the Home of Golf is special, and staying at the Macdonald Rusacks – which will be having a £7 million expansion – is just the icing on the cake.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, if you are seeking a luxurious and pleasant holiday within the British Isles – with a little bit of golf included – then it is worthwhile looking into what is on offer at a MacDonald Hotel and Resort. They have something catered for everybody. 

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