Scotland & Ireland Suit Golfers to a Tee

written by | Posted on May 1st, 2010

The amenities: Places to relax with a drink or a meal at Turnberry are varied. There’s the historic Grand Tea Lounge, which looks out to the courses and the Irish Sea; 1906, which offers a brasserie-style ambiance for breakfast and dinner; and Duel in the Sun, the resort’s popular bar. Facilities at the luxury Spa at Turnberry include 12 treatment rooms, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, spa bath and fitness studio. Guests will love the spa’s 65-ft. indoor pool with grand vistas. The onsite Outdoor Activity Centre offers quad biking, horse riding, fishing in the fast-flowing Kintyre River, and off-road driving, and there are special children’s activities.

The scene: The imposing and handsome Edwardian hotel sits high atop a hill overlooking manicured lawns and rose gardens, with the sea beyond. The atmosphere within is very much that of a grand country house. Occupying 350 acres, the Turnberry Golf Resort serves as a beacon to golf aficionados from around the globe who flock here both to experience the grandeur of staying in one of Scotland’s finest hotels and to play one of the best links courses in the world. Guests not devoted to golf enjoy a visit to Culzean Castle, study the art of whiskey making, board the hotel’s boat to cruise the rugged coast or hike in the highlands.

The rates: Double rooms range from $405-$854; these rates are less in the low season.

ireland The property: Location! Location! Location! In fact, Teach de Broc Country House notes that it’s “Tea to Tee in Two Minutes.” You don’t have to be a golfer to appreciate this popular County Kerry property, but it certainly must help, for it lies almost within the boundaries of the famous Ballybunion links, sitting 20 yards from the practice range, and 50 yards from the clubhouse of the Ballybunion Old Course. Guests are accommodated in either king or twin rooms, and all rooms are beautifully furnished and have en-suite bathrooms with toiletries, sitting areas in front of course-view windows, cable TV, direct dial phones, and trouser presses.

The greens: On the Atlantic at the mouth of the River Shannon, the Ballybunion Old Course is one of the most beautiful and highly regarded courses in the world, a household name among Ireland’s bountiful selection of championship links courses. Open to the public only on weekdays, there are 36 holes: the Ballybunion Old Course, with 6,542 yards, par 71, and the Cashen Course, opened in 1985 and designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and with 6,306 yards, par 70. Tom Watson was the first of the American greats to visit the Old Course regularly, followed by Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickleson and Tiger Woods. President Bill Clinton played here, and to honor his 1999 visit, there is now a statue of him teeing off in the nearby village. Demand outstrips availability of visitor times, so consider booking a year ahead.

The amenities: All meals, including the guesthouse’s actual award-winning breakfasts and dinners, are served in the Strollers Bistro, while the bar offers beers and aged whiskey, as well as a pizza menu throughout the day. The guesthouse has secure golf club storage.

The scene: Everything about Teach de Broc says relax—easy when one is in the care of the winner of the Georgina Campbell Host of the Year Award (2007). After settling into their rooms, guests can appreciate the dramatic views over the golf links. Linger over a lavish breakfast or head out onto the Ballybunion beach that beckons the early-morning jogger, the year-round swimmer, or the optimistic sun worshipper to enjoy the ebb and flow of the powerful Atlantic.

The rates: Book the Ballybunion Two Course Golf Experience, including 2-night accommodation with breakfast and one dinner, as well as play on both courses on consecutive days or within a 7-day period. Starting at $540 pp dbl.

The property: Built for Sir Augustine Fitzgerald in County Clare, Moy House is an enchanting 18th century Italian-style lodge that sits clifftop amid 15 often windswept—think “Wuthering Heights”—acres. Staying here is like living as a guest in a privately owned country home, whose beautifully appointed and rather modern nine rooms range from a small elegant double with garden views to six large deluxe doubles with stunning views of the wild Atlantic Ocean. The master bedroom of the original house is a jr. suite named Moymore, complete with sitting room and fireplace, and the signature suite is The Well room, whose spacious, rather exceptional and contemporary spaces and decor embrace a large bathroom with an original “well” along with a free-standing bathtub. The residential ambiance is complemented by a number of private spaces dispersed throughout the house, from the traditional drawing room to the lower library (with Internet access).