The Ultimate Lad & Dad Trip to Scotland
Article by Golfshake Ambassador Andrew Picken
During the Autumn of 2018 I had the idea of trying to arrange the Ultimate Lad and Dad Trip to enable myself and my son, Alex, to spend some quality time together during his summer vacation from university whilst he was back in the UK.
I knew of his desire to play the three courses used for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship as he had attended them as a volunteer whilst he was a student at the Lee Westwood Golf School.
All the students volunteered to assist in the event acting as marshals, scoreboard carriers and runners for Sky Sports. His attendance at this event sparked an intense interest in professional golf that’s still burns bright today. His time at the Golf School was instrumental in him being spotted by an American University who offered him the opportunity of a golf scholarship to support his studies.
Planning the Trip
With that inspiration, I began planning, first researching how to access courses in St Andrews, using some excellent articles written by our very own Kieran Clark, Golfshake's Digital Editor.
He lives in St Andrews and is a member of the St Andrews Links plus he possesses encyclopaedic knowledge of the area and its rich history.
We decided that entering the local ballot seeking a twilight tee time would give us the best possibility for success. Having picked dates around Father’s Day in early June, we then excitedly booked accommodation near the town.
There is so much interest in playing the Old Course at St Andrews that many of those who apply have to be rejected. There are still some 40,000 rounds of golf played on this course alone annually. Many golfers when in the area will elect to queue overnight in order to obtain a time.
I was astonished to see that people begin queueing in the early hours of the morning outside the Old Pavilion by the first tee and that it is such a regular occurrence outside heaters have been fitted to the roof of the building in order to keep the golfers warm during the night.
Knowing that our ballot entry had been made was like waiting for the lottery numbers to be called, only better. When I checked the website and saw our names had been given an allocated tee time it was an incredible feeling of joy and anticipation. We were only able to do this 48 hours before the trip and had a contingency to play one of the other six courses within the St Andrews Links if our ballot application failed. But we were incredibly lucky.
The ballot system is absolutely necessary given the extraordinary amount of interest from golfers who visit from around the globe. All want to play on this iconic course. The St Andrews Links provide golf for 200,000 golfers annually across its various layouts.
My previous experiences of bed-and-breakfast in Scotland is that they represent excellent value and quality. I was not let down by the choice of our accommodation. Shangri-La is based in the village of St Michaels, near the town of Leuchars, just a short drive from St Andrews. It is on a direct bus link that travels every 10 to 15 minutes. It was superb. The rooms were spotlessly clean and well-appointed and the hearty Scottish breakfast set us up for the day ahead.
- Monday: Play Old Course at St Andrews.
- Tuesday: Play Buddon Links at Carnoustie, Championship Course at Carnoustie, Meal at Rookery Restaurant.
- Wednesday: Play the Eden Course at St Andrews, Play Himalayas, Tour of the Town, Visit Golf Museum.
- Thursday: Watch the St Andrews Links Trophy.
- Friday: Play Kingsbarns.
I think you will agree that this plan had all the elements of an Ultimate Lad and Dad Trip. We hope you enjoy the story.
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