Pampering and Golf in Scotland
By Peter Hellman
Classic Golf Tours
My wife's squeeze told me I was scoring some major points. The squeeze wasn't for the usual things a good husband does for his spouse such as a thoughtful gift or a gimme putt. No, I got my squeeze for taking her to the Gleneagles Resort in Scotland.
Who wouldn't be excited by the sight of what looks like an enormous castle tucked deep into a huge property of stately trees, formal gardens, forests and, best of all, good golf courses. Gleneagles is one of several quality golf resorts in Scotland and certainly one of the most luxurious. The Five-Star resort is located less than an hour from Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Gleneagles is as stately inside as it is from the exterior. One enters into a long elegant, but by now means fussy, lobby. Off the lobby are small comfortable rooms to gather for drinks, conversation or afternoon tea. After checking in, my wife and I headed for our room. We elected to take the grand staircase to our floor. Who would take an elevator when a twenty foot wide staircase is inviting you to explore its expansive treads?
Our room was large with high ceilings, tastefully decorated in an English country house style. (Updated in 2005 for the G-5 Summit Meeting, the rooms now have a more modern dÃ©cor). It was masculine enough for just about any jock, but with many feminine touches and amenities to satisfy virtually any women. Big windows with heavy draperies offered grand views to great stretches of lawn and trees.
You can't mention Gleneagles without talking about the food. Dinner was elegant, coats and ties for men and a bit gussy for women, beautifully served and delicious. We particularly enjoyed retiring to the "drawing room" for after dinner coffee, desserts and liquor. Breakfast was another treat. If you think as I do that breakfast makes the day, you may want to eat at Gleneagles every morning. Breakfast was served buffet style, but it lack for nothing. From dry cereals to kippers everything imaginable was displayed for the tasting. Hot dishes were individually cooked and delivered to your table by an attentive staff. Who would think that breakfast could be dining?
Gleneagles has plenty of things to do other than golf. The Spa is one of the best in Scotland. It's a real treat after a day of golf. Should shooting be your thing, there is a world-class shooting school on site. Perhaps horseback riding or falconry is to your taste. Fly fishing on the River Tay or in the three trout lakes is also available. Don't forget a dip in the pool or a vigorous workout in the "leisure center". Personally, I prefer to slip into one of the small clubby rooms off the lobby, settle into a comfortable fireside wingback chair and sip some peaty Scottish single malt whisky.
Enough of this pampering, we need to talk about golf! Gleneagles is blessed with very good golf indeed. Though most of us know about Scottish golf from its links style golf courses, Gleneagles is well inland. (Links courses, in case you forgot, are built on sand and located along the lengthy coastlines of Scotland). Gleneagles has three championship parkland courses -- the King's, the Queen's and the PGA Centenary Courses. There is also cute little 9-hole course called the Wee Course. The Centenary is a new track designed by Jack Nicklaus to attract professional tournaments such as the Ryder Cup in 2014. At 7,088 yards from the tips it's a vigorous test of a player's game.
My favorite course is the King's, designed and built by James Braid in 1919. The first hole is but one of its many challenges. From the tee box this hole looks fairly simple, but one soon realizes that its slight upslope ends with a difficult approach shot to a protected elevated green. A par here is really good. Elevation is certainly what the King's Course is about. Its up's, down's and over's make for a challenging and fun round of golf. The Queen's Course serves as a lovely companion to the King's and is worth a round as well.
With Gleneagles as your base, you can visit many quality courses in the area. St. Andrews is about an hour's drive away while Auchterarder, Crieff, Murrayshall and Blairgowrie Rosemont are even closer. Scotland has many other fine golf resorts. These include Dalmahoy (outside Edinburgh), Skibo (northern Highlands), Turnberry (west coast), the Old Course Hotel (St. Andrews), St. Andrews Fairmont (formerly the St. Andrews Bay Club) and Murrayshall (outside Perth). So, if you're looking for a good squeeze from your wife, take her to Gleneagles or one of these other golf resorts. You'll love the squeeze, the comfort, the style and the golf.