Monday, June 30, 2014

Guest Blog: Spotlight on Carnoustie Country.

By Allan Ferguson, President of Ferguson Golf.

Notice the word "country" here - not just Carnoustie but the other golf courses in and around Carnoustie. Northeast off the Firth of Tay (Fife/St. Andrews is on the other side of the water), Carnoustie Country (Angus) tends to be the Rodney Dangerfield of Scottish Golf. 
"It just don't get no respect."

Everyone knows the great championship course at Carnoustie and nearly everyone wants to play it. In my fourteen years of trip planning, Carnoustie Championship has always ranked first or second in rounds played (along with St. Andrews' Old Course). The problem is, virtually all trip organizers and independent travelers treat Carnoustie as a "day trip" - either from St. Andrews or en route to St. Andrews. What these day trippers are missing is a chance to play, not only Carnoustie's two other links courses, but three of the most challenging, historic Open Qualifier courses in Scotland. These latter are: Panmure at Barry (adjacent to Carnoustie); Monifieth Medal (adjacent to Panmure); and Montrose Medal (about thirty miles north of Carnoustie). Together, with Carnoustie Championship, I wager these four courses comprise the strongest set of championship-level venues in Scotland. A case can be made for a comparable four in Ayrshire, E Lothian, or Fife, but when it comes to value for money, Carnoustie Country wins hands down. 

Total cost on these four courses this year is £337 midweek and £358 at the weekend. Those prices would not even get you to the first tees on Kingsbarns and St. Andrews Old Course in Fife. Or make life easier; purchase a Carnoustie Country Dream Ticket. This single ticket allows play on all four courses for just £325. More information is available on the Carnoustie Country website.
Carnoustie Championship Golf Course (est. 1840)
The bonus points in this picture are the entertainingly delightful, and less penal companion courses to the Carnoustie Championship. These are the Burnside and the Buddon layouts that fit inside and around the "big course". Nothing to be sneezed at, these are challenging links layouts with plenty of design value. The Burnside has always been highly regarded (perennially among the UK's Top 100). Most recently, the Buddon has received a £500,000 upgrade to develop two new par-4 holes and merge the old 9th and 10th into a superb par-5.

Of the three Carnoustie courses, the Buddon lies closest to the water and is the most scenic of the trio. And here's the best part: Carnoustie Links sells a combo ticket for these three great courses for £180. With the Championship pegged at £154 this year, that's an effective £26 for the Burnside and Buddon!! (worth two exclamation marks).

For more information or to make contact with the author, visit the Ferguson Golf website:

To find out more about Carnoustie Country, visit the website:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fairmont St Andrews up for sale

A 520-acre golf resort just outside the home of golf has been put up for sale with a £35 million price tag.

The 209-room Fairmont St Andrews hotel and spa, which has two golf courses of its own, has been put on the market through CBRE Hotels by Ares Management, a New York-listed real estate and private equity firm.

The property, originally called St Andrews Bay, was built in 2001 by Don Panoz, the entrepreneur best known for developing the nicotine patch during his time working at Elan Corporation.

Management passed to Fairmont Hotels when Dr Panoz, who had spent £58 million developing the resort, sold the property in 2006 to Apollo Real Estate Advisors, now part of Ares, with financing from Bank of Scotland.

Fairmont, which also operates the Savoy Hotel in London, has a long-term management contract to operate the resort and is considered a possible bidder for the underlying property.

The Scottish golf hotel market is in the spotlight following the surprise purchase by Donald Trump of Turnberry Resort, on the Scottish west coast, for £35.7 million. He has vowed to spend up to $200 million dollars “bringing the hotel to the highest standards of luxury”.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Donald Trump to invest £100m in newly named Trump Turnberry

The legendary Turnberry resort on the South Ayrshire coast is to be renamed Trump Turnberry following its acquisition by American property tycoon Donald Trump.

Following the deal to buy the five-AA-red-star resort from Leisurecorp, a subsidiary of the Dubai government, Trump has revealed that he will spend at least £100m on developing and improving his new investment, which includes a 157-bedroom hotel, self-catering lodges, three golf courses, Colin Montgomerie Golf Academy, spa and outdoor activity centre.

The only detail revealed about the development plans is the retention of golf architect Martin Ebert, who is expected to make changes to the golf courses, including possibly the Ailsa course, which has hosted the Open Championship on four occasions.

Trump and Ebert will attend a press conference on 2 July to announce plans for the resort. Trump Turnberry will be managed by the Trump Organisation as part of a franchise agreement under the Luxury Collection brand with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Trump said: “I am honoured to own and manage this magnificent property, perhaps the most exciting property there is, We will be spending a great deal of time, effort and money to make Trump Turnberry the finest resort of its kind anywhere in the world.” Trump Turnberry is the 17th golf course to be acquired by Trump globally, including the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire.

 However, plans for the development of a luxury 140-bedroom hotel alongside the links course on Scotland’s east coast has been delayed because of Trump’s opposition to the Scottish government’s approval of a wind farm nearby, which he believes will blight the site.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Nairn Dunbar Golf Club change of management

Nairn Dunbar Golf Club recently has appointed a new club manager to take charge of their championship links nestling on the shores of the Moray Firth in the Scottish Highlands.

Dr Rob Macpherson, who hails from the area and whose family lives in the town, was a member of the club from 1977-2008 and learned his golf over the impressive seaside links. Previously Director of Golf Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Dornoch, Rob also is involved in the management of Scottish, British and European University golf (and will manage the Great Britain team in the World University Championships at Crans-Montana, Switzerland June 2014).

Rob, who is keen to take the club forward into the new season, said: “Managing Nairn Dunbar is a life-long dream. As a junior member, I spent hours during the long summer holidays practicing my golf and generally being a nuisance in and around the clubhouse and the putting green. Returning to Nairn Dunbar, and greeting members old and new, has been great fun. The club does a magnificent job for its members, and the town, and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead”.

Nairn Dunbar’s 6,800 yard course has an enviable reputation, having hosted the Senior Home Internationals (2002), the Scottish Boys Strokeplay (1999 & 2011), the Scottish Ladies Strokeplay (2009) and the British Amateur (1994). Founded in 1899 for the artisans of the town, the club celebrates its 115th birthday on 24th May 2014.

For further details, contact: Rob Macpherson, Manager, Nairn Dunbar Golf Club
Tel: 01667 452741 e:

Nairn Dunbar Golf Club recovers the earliest piece of its history

24th May 2014 was a celebratory date for Nairn Dunbar Golf Club. Although not many clubs recognise their 115th birthday as something particularly special, it is for the championship links nestling on the shores of the Moray Firth in the Highlands of Scotland. This is because the club has recently recovered a piece of its earliest history – its Opening Day Medal from May 1899 which was presented by Town Provost William Dallas to the winner of the first ever competition on the course: Peter Robertson.

Although originally just a name on the silver medal, the story revealed by research into Peter Robertson charts a signal contribution to Scottish golf – and one that has largely been forgotten. Robertson was born and raised on the Lethen Estate on the outskirts of Nairn. The son of a farmer, he spent his boyhood and youth as an apprentice gardener and spent his spare time caddying (and probably playing) at Nairn Golf Club. Aged seventeen in May 1899, he already was an accomplished golfer, but after winning the Dallas Medal, he would continue to “learn his game” over the new Dunbar course (as well as serve on its first committee).

Early in the twentieth century, Robertson moved away from Nairn to take up a new job in Lanark, where he also married. In 1908, he left to take up a role as head greenkeeper and professional golfer at the Edinburgh City Council run facility at Braid Hills. He remained in that post for 35 years, dying in 1943 in the clubhouse that was his place of work and his home, in the company of his wife and three daughters.

Robertson served in the Royal Scots during World War I (being wounded twice and being mentioned in dispatches for his bravery and courage) and in the Home Guard during World War II. The golfer frequently returned to Nairn, and maintained strong friendships with a number of Dunbar members, most notably Club Captain (1922-49) A A MacGillivray. It was MacGillivray who invited Robertson to review George Smith of Lossiemouth’s layout for the back nine holes at Nairn Dunbar, and implement revisions which extended the course (and can still be seen and played today). In return for this freely-provided service, Robertson was made an Honorary Life Member of the club.

The improvements Robertson made to the course were highly valued – he was a course designer of considerable repute (in Scotland, England, Singapore and Malaysia) as well as a highly respected professional. His career included regular appearances in the Open Championship, the Northern Open and a wide range of other events of the time; notable victories in the Scottish Professional Golf Championship (1921 and 1924); the role of captaining Scotland in competitive matches throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s; and, in 1932, the honour of being the first ever Scottish Captain of the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA).

Club Captain, Brian Ford, said “It is fantastic to rediscover such a rich and full life-story of one of Nairn Dunbar’s foremost players. Winning the Dallas Medal was an early step onto a spectacular golfing career that took in greenkeeping, course design, professional play and representative honours at the highest level. We are proud that the winner of Nairn Dunbar’s first ever competition maintained links with the town and helped shape our course, as we play it today; but also we are humble to have played a small part in the career of someone whose legacy is still felt in different corners of Scotland and the world”.

For further details, contact: Rob Macpherson, Manager, Nairn Dunbar Golf Club
Tel: 01667 452741 e:

Pro Golf Tours Scotland working with wounded troops

Pro Golf Tours Scotland are delighted to announce a new working relationship with WISE (Wounded in Service Events). Pro Golf Scotland will be assisting WISE in running various charity golf days to raise funds for wounded ex-servicemen charities such as DMWS (Defence Medical Welfare Service), The Soldiers' Charity & also Help the Heroes. 

Speaking of the partnership, Sean Bissett from Pro Golf Tours said:

"This is a great cause and something we are proud to be a part of. We look forward to offering a helping hand to raise as much money as possible for these fantastic charities"

If anyone would like any more information on what they do, please visit