Scotland beyond St. Andrews: Perthshire

By Travel ArticlesFebruary 28, 2012, 5:50 pm

Golfers the world over know St. Andrews is where the game began. Consequently, a pilgrimage to golf's homeland is high on the wish list of all those who care about golf's history and traditions.

There's much more to Scotland than simply St Andrews, however, and hundreds of fabulous golfing delights are located outside the Kingdom of Fife. Some are renowned throughout the world, while others are comparatively unknown. But because of the democratic nature of golf in Scotland, nearly all welcome visitors.

With that in mind, let's take a look at golf in Perthshire.

Although it briefly touches both the east and west coasts, Perthshire is predominantly a mountainous county lying right in the heart of the country to the northwest of Edinburgh. Consequently, the numerous golf courses scattered about its length and breadth are inland. Some are hilly, while others are mountainous.

Gleneagles

Undoubtedly the best-known golfing pearl in Perthshire is magnificent Gleneagles. And with the Ryder Cup visiting in 2014 it's set to become even more famous. There are three great courses to satisfy the most demanding of golfers. The newest and the one upon which the Ryder Cup will be fought is Gleneagles' PGA Centenary Course. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, it was launched in 1993. Despite the cool temperatures and strange accents, the U.S. team should feel at home as it undoubtedly has an American feel about it. For example, there are plenty of water hazards, elevated tees and raised contoured greens. A few critics think it looks as if it has been imposed upon the landscape and a touch out of place but, although it may lack the charm of its two regal neighbors, it will undoubtedly test the best.

The original idea behind Gleneagles was to create a 'Palace in the Glens' that would attract noble and wealthy railway travelers. Designed by the legendary James Braid, Gleneagles' Queen's Course was the first to open and is the shorter and somewhat easier of the original pair. With wide fairways lined by Scots Pines, generous greens and bunkers designed to trap only the most wayward shots, the course is fairly forgiving. Attractive banks and pretty escarpments together with the spectacular views make it a visual treat and a hugely enjoyable course to play even if you're not on top of your game.

Designed by Braid but opened just after the Queen's in 1919, the King's Course at Gleneagles has heaps of heather, raised greens and plateau tees. Set within the valley of Strathearn with the Grampian Mountains rising spectacularly to the north and glorious views everywhere you look, it would be hard to imagine more perfect terrain for an inland course.

Blairgowrie Golf Club

In the Rosemount and Lansdowne, Blairgowrie Golf Club has two heavenly heathland courses. Both are lined by forests of pine and silver birch with heather, broom and gorse adding gorgeous touches of color to an already splendid setting.,/p>

Braid laid out the older and more celebrated Rosemount Course at Blairgowrie, while Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas designed the slightly longer Landsowne Course. Although indisputably great and glorious, Blairgowrie is neither pretentious nor intimidating, and the delightful clubhouse is especially warm and welcoming.

Murrayshall Golf Club

Also right up there with the very best is Murrayshall Golf Club. As well as two courses, there's a luxurious country house hotel that's as comfortable as it is attractive. Murrayshall is the older of the two tracks. With white sand bunkers, natural stone bridges and numerous water features, it's perfect parkland golf with a lovely spacious feel. The same designer -- Hamilton Stutt -- returned 20 years later to create the Lynedoch Course, which is tighter and a bit shorter but no less difficult.

Crieff Golf Club

Several world-renowned architects have had a hand in the creation of the Ferntower Course at Crieff Golf Club. Old Tom Morris's original nine-hole course created in 1891 was extended to 18 by Robert Simpson just before the First World War. Then along came Braid in the 1920s to make some further improvements. Rather sadly, perhaps, the creation of another nine-hole course in 1980 and extensive alterations to the Ferntower meant that not that much of his work survived. That said, this delightful hillside course enjoys wonderful views over the Vale of Strathearn and has enormous appeal.

Pitlochry Golf Course

Pitlochery

Allegedly one of Queen Victoria's favorite towns, Pitlochry Golf Course is surrounded by pretty hills, upon one of which you will find a truly lovely golf course. Willie Fernie of Troon laid it out in 1908 and presented players with a stiffish climb over the opening few holes. Be sure to enjoy the purity of the mountain air as you breathe in deeply. Don't worry too much as the terrain soon flattens out and the views from the top certainly make all the effort well worthwhile. As you look out from beneath Ben Y Vrackie, savor the sweeping views down the Tummel Valley. From here on the slopes are not too severe and, should you go into any, you might care to note that the bunkers contain quartz sand.

St. Fillans Golf Club

Although most are, not all the courses in Perthshire are hilly. One delightful nine-holer that is mostly on the level is St. Fillans Golf Club. Originally designed by Willie Auchterlonie in 1903 and subsequently lengthened to over 3000 yards, only the uphill walk to the third tee and the elevated fifth green require any significant effort. Look out for the roe deer and wild goats.

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Delayed start for Nelson might mean Monday finish

By Will GrayMay 20, 2018, 6:04 pm

DALLAS – Inclement weather  pushed back final-round tee times at the AT&T Byron Nelson by more than four hours, increasing the likelihood of a Monday finish in the tournament’s debut at Trinity Forest Golf Club.

With the field already scheduled to play in threesomes off split tees, the opening tee times for the day got pushed back from 9:23 a.m. CT to 1:23 p.m. because of steady rain in the area. The delay means that the final group won’t start their round until 3:35 p.m. local time.

With sunset in the Dallas area scheduled for 8:23 p.m., the leaders will likely have just under five hours to complete their rounds or face returning to the course Monday morning. Threesomes have been used for each of the first three days, and in part because of the intricacies of the new layout rounds have routinely approached 5 hours and 30 minutes in duration.

Should play spill over into Monday, those playing next week’s event will face one of the Tour’s shortest commutes, with Fort Worth Invitational host Colonial Country Club less than an hour away.

Marc Leishman and Aaron Wise share the 54-hole lead at 17 under, four shots clear of the field. They’ll be joined in the final trio by Australia’s Matt Jones, who is tied for third with Kevin Na.

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Watch: Tiger 'drops mic' in long drive contest

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 20, 2018, 12:44 am

Tiger Woods is in Las Vegas this weekend for the 20th annual Tiger Jam charity event that benefits his foundation.

During the tournament on Saturday afternoon, Woods challenged World Long Drive competitor Troy Mullins to a long drive contest.

 

A post shared by TROY MULLINS (@trojangoddess) on May 19, 2018 at 1:25pm PDT

Safe to say it looks like Tiger won.

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Sunday showdown for Wise, Leishman at Nelson

By Will GrayMay 19, 2018, 11:40 pm

DALLAS – While the swirling Texas winds may still have their say, the AT&T Byron Nelson is shaping up to be a two-horse race.

With a four-shot gulf between them and their closest pursuers, co-leaders Marc Leishman and Aaron Wise both stepped up to the microphone and insisted the tournament was far from over. That it wouldn’t revert to a match-play situation, even though the two men didn’t face much pressure from the pack down the stretch of the third round and have clearly distanced themselves as the best in the field through 54 holes.

But outside of an outlier scenario or a rogue tornado sweeping across Trinity Forest Golf Club, one of the two will leave with trophy in hand tomorrow night.

That’s in part because of their stellar play to this point, but it’s also a byproduct of the tournament’s new and unconventional layout: at Trinity Forest, big numbers are hard to find.

Even with the winds picking up during the third round and providing the sternest challenge yet, the field combined for only 16 scores of double bogey, and nothing worse than that.


Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

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There’s irony in a course called Trinity Forest offering a tree-less test, sure, but there are also no water hazards in play here. For the most part, players have been maxing out with bogey – and Leishman and Wise have combined for only six of those so far this week.

If someone from the chase pack is going to catch them, the two sharing the pole position aren’t going to do them any favors.

“I don’t really want to give them a chance,” Leishman said. “I’d love to go out and shoot a low one and make Aaron have to shoot a good score tomorrow to beat me, which, I fully expect him to shoot a good score.”

While Leishman has been somewhat of a late bloomer on the PGA Tour, with only one win across his first eight seasons, he now has a golden opportunity to add a third trophy in the last 14 months. He has felt right at home on a sprawling layout that reminds him of a few back in his native Australia, and he’s part of a Down Under invasion on a leaderboard that also includes Matt Jones (-13) and Adam Scott (-9).

While Wise briefly held sole possession of the lead, Leishman has seemingly held an iron grip on the top spot since opening his week with a blistering 61.

“Before last year, I was a pretty slow starter. I always got off to a slow start Thursday, or I’d be fighting to make the cut and have a good weekend to slide into the top 10,” Leishman said. “Getting into that round straight away on the first tee rather than the ninth green or something, which sounds like a really basic thing, but it’s something I didn’t do very well until last year.”

But as Leishman acknowledged, he likely can’t count on a stumble from Wise to help finish off a wire-to-wire victory. As the youngest player to make the cut this week, Wise is facing a challenge of taking down a top-ranked Aussie for the second time in as many starts.

While he came up short at the Wells Fargo Championship, tying for second behind Jason Day, he remains supremely confident that he can put those hard-earned lessons to use this time around.

“I feel like it’s a great opportunity,” Wise said. “It will obviously be a huge day for me. I feel like having one go at it already, I’m a little more confident going into it this time.”

Even among the landscape of the Tour’s promising next wave, Wise stands out as a particularly young gun. Still only 21, he could feasibly be heading to Karsten Creek next week with his Oregon Duck teammates to close out his senior season with another NCAA championship appearance.

But Wise turned pro after winning the NCAA individual title as a sophomore, and he steadily worked his way through the professional ranks: first a win on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada, then one last summer on the Web.com Tour.

Now he’s poised to turn what he described as a “lackluster” season before his Quail Hollow runner-up into one that defies even his own expectations.

“Absolutely, I am way ahead of the curve. It’s pretty hard to do what I’ve done at such a young age. Only a few have done it,” Wise said. “I feel like I’m getting some great experience for a kid this young. It’s only going to serve me well down the road.”

An unpredictable Coore-Crenshaw layout will have one more day to star, and outside of Wise the top six names on the leaderboard have at least one Tour win to their credit. But after the two men traded punches on a firm and fast afternoon, it sure feels like the final round is shaping up to offer more of the same.

For Leishman, it’s a chance to add another notch to some quickly expanding credentials; for Wise, it’s an opportunity to win on the one level he has yet to do so.

“It’s golf, at the end of the day. If you play better than everyone else, you’re going to win,” Wise said. “That’s why I play it. That’s why I love this sport, and tomorrow is nothing different.”

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5 thoughts from NCAA Women's Championship Day 2

By Ryan LavnerMay 19, 2018, 11:35 pm

The field is almost halfway through stroke-play qualifying at the NCAA Women’s Championship. Here are some thoughts on the first two days at Karsten Creek:

1. UCLA is on a mission. Just a year ago, the Bruins were headed home from regionals after becoming the first No. 1 seed that failed to advance out of the qualifying tournament. This year, with the core of the team still mostly intact, the Bruins have opened up a five-shot lead on top-ranked Alabama and a comfortable 16-shot cushion over Southern Cal in third place. On one of the most difficult college courses in the country, UCLA has received contributions from all four of its usual counters – standout Lilia Vu shot 68 on Saturday, while Mariel Galdiano posted a 69. Freshman Patty Tavatanakit and junior Bethany Wu also broke par. This is a strong, deep lineup that will pose issues for teams not just in stroke-play qualifying, but also the head-to-head, match-play bracket.

2. What happened to Arkansas? Riding high off their first SEC Championship and a dominant regional performance, the Razorbacks were considered one of the top threats to win the national title. But entering Sunday’s third round of stroke play, they need to hold it together just to ensure they make the top-15 cut. Arkansas is 32 over par through two rounds. The Razorbacks had shot in the 300s just once this season in the play-five, count-four format. Here at Karsten Creek, they’ve now done so in consecutive rounds.


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NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring


3. The Player of the Year race is heating up. With a decent showing at nationals, Arkansas’ Maria Fassi should have been able to wrap up the Annika Award, given annually to the top player in the country. She has six individual titles, plays a difficult schedule and is well-liked among her peers. But through two rounds she’s a whopping 15 over par while spraying it all over the map. If the Razorbacks don’t survive the 54-hole cut, neither will Fassi. That’d open the door for another player to steal the votes, whether it’s UCLA’s Vu or Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho. There’s a lot still to be decided.

4. Stanford has steadied itself. One of the biggest surprises on Day 1 was the horrendous start by the Cardinal, one of just two teams to advance to match play each of the three years it’s been used to determine a national champion. They were 19 over for their first nine holes Friday, but instead of a blowup round that cost them a shot at the title, they’ve found a way to hang tough. Stanford has been just 4 over par over its last 27 holes. Andrea Lee made only one bogey during her second-round 69, Albane Valenzuela eagled the 18th hole for a 73 and senior leader Shannon Aubert – who has been a part of each postseason push – carded a 74. And so, even with its early struggles, coach Anne Walker once again has Stanford in position to reach match play.

5. Karsten Creek is identifying the best teams. The top teams in the country want a difficult host venue for NCAAs – it helps separate the field and draws an unmistakable line between the contenders and pretenders. Only one team (UCLA) is under par after 36 holes. Fewer than a dozen players are under par individually. The dearth of low scores might not be the greatest advertisement for how talented these players are, but the cream has still risen to the top so far: Five top-10 teams currently sit inside the top 7 on the leaderboard (and that doesn’t even include last year’s NCAA runner-up Northwestern). This is all any coach wants, even if the scores aren’t pretty.

Quick hits: Cheyenne Knight, part of Alabama’s vaunted 1-2-3 punch along with Lauren Stephenson and Kristen Gillman, shot rounds of 70-69 to figure in the mix for individual honors. The junior will turn pro after nationals. …  Arizona’s Bianca Pagdanganan made a hole-in-one on the 11th hole Saturday en route to a 68 that tied the low round of the day. She’s at 5-under 139, same as Knight. ... Defending champion Arizona State, which lost star Linnea Strom to the pro ranks at the halfway point of the season, is 35 over par after two rounds. … Play was delayed for nearly an hour and a half Saturday because of inclement weather.