We're heading towards the 18th with our final installment in our Golf Getaway Series. After reviewing the top golf courses in the world accessible by land and sea, we're taking it to the skies with a helicopter homecoming truly worthy of the word 'epic'.
Another company which is undeniably able to rival Kalos, however, is Connoisseur Golf
. Based at the undisputed ‘Home of Golf’ in Scotland, Connoisseur pride themselves on offering every inch of Scotland and Ireland’s rich golfing heritage in a way that is tailored to every interested individual’s needs. With all tours available for alteration, the Connoisseur creation begins with the client’s own professed dream itinerary, adds in a host of restaurants and hotels at the cutting edge of gastronomy and hospitality, and ends with all guests securing tee times at some of the game’s longest-serving courses in a way that can work around busy work schedules and corporate commitments.
But even among the sterling packages that Connoisseur prides itself on providing, one trip really draws the eye: the High End X 8 Scotland and Ireland Heli-Golf Tour
“Heli-golf allows you to base yourself at the hotel of your choice and helicopter to and from golf with no requirement for long ground transfers,” explains the company’s Jim Stewart. “In some instances it also affords our clients the opportunity to play two rounds of golf in one day at remote locations. This shortens the overall duration of the trip and is particularly popular with businessmen who don’t have the opportunity to spend a whole week abroad. Another upside is that you can easily switch between Scotland and Ireland without the need to waste time at an airport.
“We have a very impressive list which includes institutions such as the PGA of America and Stanford University to individuals such as Rudi Giuliani, Graeme McDowell and Ken Griffey Jr.”
Running from August 6th-12th at a cost of $33,946 per person, this tour is guaranteed to sweep you off your feet. There’s the obvious draw of surveying the rugged beauty of Scotland and Ireland from an AgustaWestland AW109S Grand capable of hitting 311km/h, for example. Or the fact that the accommodation and culinary delights on offer are second to none, and throughout the trip there are complimentary drinks and spa breaks provided – as well as the option of a private 90-minute tasting session at the world-famous Guinness Brewery in Dublin.
The journey begins at Prestwick Golf Club, where guests can see the small stone cairn that marks the historic spot where the very first Open Championship tee shot was struck in 1860. The first tees are both located in the esteemed Trump Turnberry estate – the Ailsa and newly formed Kintyre Championship courses, the former of which is situated on Ailsa Craig, a volcanic island over half-a-billion years old. Dinner at Souter’s Inn – which brings together some of the finest local ingredients from all over Scotland – and a night at the five-star Trump hotel at Turnberry round off the day.
The next stop is at one of Britain’s most remote courses: the Machrihanish Golf Club. An Old Tom Morris-designed World Top 100 Course, Machrihanish is considered to have one of the best opening holes of any course in the world. Later in the day, guests are whisked to the Championship Course at Royal Troon, where you and your party can play from the same tees where Henrik Stenson beat Phil Mickelson to the Claret Jug with a record -20 at the 2016 Open.
The crossing to Ireland is completed in the AW109S, where you arrive at the Royal Portrush Golf Club to try your hand on the Dunluce Links – proposed site of the 2019 Open and recently voted No. 1 Links Course in Ireland by Backspin magazine. If competing in the craggy beauty of County Antrim works up your appetite, the gastronomical accompaniment to this initial stopover in Ireland involves a ‘Chef’s Table’ being put together for your party by one of Northern Island’s top culinary minds at the Mermaid Kitchen and Bar.
But any golfing journey to Ireland would be incomplete without a trip to the Royal County Down Golf Club, currently ranked World Number 1 in the Golf Digest Top 100 courses. Not only does a visit to the Championship Links allow you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural landscape, but also tests your skills against some of the most iconic holes in the global game, including the ninth hole – a 486-yard par 4 which is played from one side of a huge knoll down onto the fairway some 60ft below and over 250 yards from the tee.
And how to end such a tour? The final games are played at the centuries-old Portmanock Golf Club on the Irish coastline, where 19 Irish Open Championships have been staged. Follow in the famed footsteps of Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead who claimed victory here in the 1960 Canada Cup, or Phil Mickelson and David Duval who scored a Walker Cup Triumph on this course in 1991. Having trod one of the game’s most heritage-rich links, the final meal comes courtesy of a Marco Pierre White branded restaurant.
With the ability to travel to the four corners of the earth in your quest to play the same courses as your golfing heroes, there’s never been a better time to plan your journey. The only question, really, is how you get there – by land
, or air?
Keeping things local? Cambridge Group of Clubs Members have reciprocal access to dining at ClubLink properities as well as exclusive green fee rates at Markland Wood. Click here to check out the full details on our privileges page.
Article by: Jake Taylor