By Ian Jack
When is the best time to go, High season for golf is May to October, best weather is July & August, you should try to start planning at least 6 months out but 1 year out is better.
All U.S. Citizens traveling in Europe must have a valid passport good for the duration of their visit. If you do not have a passport, apply for one at your local passport office, clerk of the federal state court, or designated post office. Allow several weeks for the government to process your application. You do not need a visa to visit Scotland.
Your passport will be inspected in your home city airport and again upon arrival into Europe.
As a safety measure, I would suggest that you photocopy the front pages of your passport, airline tickets and everything you will be carrying in your wallet. Leave one copy at home and carry one copy separate from your passport. This will be of immense help to you if your documents are lost or stolen.
Caddies are self employed people and work when they want to work. They do not belong to the golf course. Even though we can request them in advance, there is no guarantee that they will turn up. Caddie fees start from Â£40 for Scotland Appropriate tip is Â£5 – 10 (depending on the quality of the caddie). Pull carts are available at approximately Â£5 for Great per round. Electric carts are scarce, but are available at some of the courses. A medical certificate might be required to obtain a cart.
Due to the above I suggest you take a small lightweight golf bag. It will be easier to carry and pack. I also recommend you do not leave your golf bag unattended at any time, either at the golf course or in your car.
Overseas clubs do not provide tees and pencils. You may wish to bring your own supply. Golf balls are more expensive in Europe. Once again, we suggest you bring your own supply. Other handy items: Band-Aids and sun block. Two pair of golf shoes should be plenty – preferably soft spikes. Make sure they are well broken in before you travel.
Although you will be traveling during the dry season, there is always the possibility of rain. I suggest you bring an umbrella and a wind-breaker.
Most of the golf courses you will play will be private clubs. Please check-in with the starter/caddie master at least 20 minutes before play. Each club will advise you of individual rules and regulations. At some clubs, a coat and tie are necessary to use all the facilities of the clubhouse. It is not necessary to wear a coat and tie to play golf.
In most cases there is a handicap limit for men and ladies. This may vary, for men 18-24 and for women 30-36. Please carry your handicap card from your golf club with you at all times, as you may be asked to produce it to verify your handicap.
In Scotland all rounds of golf are expected to play in less than 4 hours per round. Please try to enjoy your round and keep up with the players in front of you. If you fall more than a hole behind, please wave the group behind you through so the flow of play continues. Also, it is a good idea to allow the local members to play through.
As most of the courses you will be playing do not have electric carts, you will be required to walk, and in some cases, you may have to also carry your bag. Each round may consist of walking up to 5 miles, we strongly suggest that prior to your vacation you begin a walking program of a few holes each time out until you are gradually walking the entire course. By the time you leave you should be able to easily walk and play 18 holes. This will make your golfing adventure more enjoyable
What to Take
Two words say it best… TRAVEL LIGHT. You will enjoy your vacation more with a suitcase which isn’t too heavy.
Don’t forget to take your AIRLINE TICKETS AND PASSPORT!! Always be sure to check your airline tickets as soon as you receive them to be sure that they are accurate and complete. DO NOT pack your airline tickets or passport in your suitcase and DO NOT carry your airline tickets around with you. It is a good idea to use the hotel safe for valuables.
I suggest that you do not take large amounts of cash, but instead take a widely recognized credit card. Be sure to make a list of your credit card and check numbers and keep it in a separate place from your wallet, purse or passport. ATM machines are available in Europe and your US ATM cards can be used. Be sure to check with your bank what the charges will be. The banks are also a good place to change money and are open Monday – Friday usually 9:00am – 4:00pm. It is more expensive to change money at travel agencies or hotels.
Great Britain uses (Pounds)
Temperatures in Scotland can range between 55 degrees in April and October, and 77 degrees in mid July and August. However, the weather can vary and you should pack with this in mind. I would recommend a warm sweater, as there are cool winds usually present on the coastal courses. A summary of current weather conditions can be obtained by internet.
- For the men:
Sports Coat (A jacket and tie can be required for dinner in hotels. Jackets may be required in some of the clubhouses). 2 or 3 pairs of pants, 2 sweaters – one for golf and one multipurpose, two pair of walking shoes, and several golf shirts. Most courses do allow shorts with the exception of Royal Troon. However, we do not suggest that you pack more than one or two pairs of shorts as most of the time the weather will dictate that you wear pants. Note: At Western Gailes tailored shorts can be worn, but with knee length socks.
- For the ladies:
Dress code for dinner at hotels can be described as smart. Slacks are acceptable attire. Walking shoes are essential, as is a warm jacket.
You should ensure that all electrical appliances, such as shavers and hairdryers, can be used on Scottish voltage, which is 240AC. Some hotels will supply adapters upon request, although we recommend that you carry one.
By Ian Jack – Ian C. Jack, President of SGH Golf, Inc http://www.sghgolf.com has been arranging trips to the world’s most exciting and exclusive golf destinations and golf tournaments for 27 years. SGH Golf has become America’s leading supplier of custom golf vacations to Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, The Masters Golf Tournament, British Open, Ryder Cup, Pebble Beach, and more. – Sign up for our Free Newsletter and Special Discounts: http://www.sghgolf.com/newsletter.html
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