Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ayrshire, by Top Photographer and Documentary maker Christian Hafer.

Scotland is full of golf is like saying the sun is hot but still I said it. By my count nearly 600 courses dot the landscape from small nine holers in Edinburgh to 18 holes perched on the northern most outcropping of land  in Shetland. Few places in Scotland can boast the quality of golf in such a small space as that of Ayrshire. With nearly 50, yes 50, courses to pick from and with the longest drive from the two courses furthest away only being an hour you’d be hard pressed to fit in more golf than Ayrshire. Then you have the option of taking a ferry to the Island of Arran to play golf and stay within an easy day trip of your hotel.

Royal Troon, Prestwick, Western Gailes, Turnberry are all the power players in the region. Prestwick the home of the Open Championship and one of the most quirky, fun filled and challenging courses you’ll ever play. It boggles the mind that in the mid 1800’s 8 men could play 36 with lunch in the amount of time it takes most Americans to play 18. And shoot near par with hickories. Blind shots, walls, wind, BUNKERS and some of the most incredible ground movement I’ve ever seen on a course. Did I also mention the bunkers? They are a sight to be seen like on 17 the famous Alps hole. Unchanged since it was “made” (found?) by Old Tom Morris where you tee off over the Cardinal bunker to a narrow fairway. Let the record show that Cardinal bunker is the most expansive I’ve ever seen. Your second at the Alps shot must cover a massive hill to a blind punchbowl green protected by the massively deep and angry Sahara bunker.  This is the oldest hole in Open Championship history and largely unchanged since the first playing.

While Prestwick has the quirk Royal Troon has the pedigree. It’s a stout Open Rota links course with a classic seaside links routing and immaculate conditioning. However, places like Western Gailes fly way under the radar. I was the only one in my group that knew anything about it when we turned up. As the recommendations proved it to be it would end up one of our favorite courses of the entire trip.  The out and back routing and mix of quirk and refined links set the stage for a memorable round. The 6th hole at Western may be one of my all time favorite holes. A Par five that narrows as you approach a “neck” in the fairway that obscures the view of the green. The position off the tee and on your approach is critical to attack the large sloping green. Partially blind I decided the prudent play was a 100 yard putter with the AutoCorrect  which ended up rather favorable. Or at least better than my wedge would have.  The staff and members at Gailes are extremely welcoming and accommodating. We played as five with some friends joining us for the walk on the back. 10/10 would play again.

Right next door is Dundonald Links which hosted the 2017 Scottish Open. This Kyle Phillips designed course opened in 2004 but you’d think it was found way back when golf was just starting to grow. Just across the railroad tracks from Western Gailes this links course weaves across the rather inauspicious land to create a really well routed and challenging course. The wind can dominate this courses and your aspirations quickly and with such a clever routing you’ll rarely experience the same wind for more than two holes. Jump the fence on the other side of the course and you’re  at Kilmarnock (Barassie) with it’s 27 holes of golf that boasts three different 18 hole routing and a stellar nine hole course. One of the prettiest and most challenging par threes on our trip and is the definition of a hidden gem.  Just play fast the locals don’t mess about…

The east gets the acclaim most times in reference to golfing around Scotland. The highlands are discussed in a sort of magical lore but the Western Coast is the perfect way to start or end a trip. We all know you’re going to journey to Fife - as well you should. But don’t overlook the rich history, value and amazing golf in such a small area as Ayrshire. The weather can be amazing in fact we only saw rain for about 9 holes. The sort of rain that was more a mist than anything for most of it. And golf is largely played year round in this part of Scotland making it extremely affordable during the off season.

If you’d like to learn more about the area, golf courses and where to stay I’d recommend visiting Ayrshire Golf Scotland website to get a lay of the land. As always you can shoot me a note and I’d be happy to answer any questions as best I can.

When planning a trip to Ayrshire I’d recommend the following. And keeping in mind that flights to Glasgow from the eastern seaboard make it accessible and way more affordable than one would think. I landed at 7am after a direct flight and was off to golf within a few short hours. If I had three days of golf in Ayrshire here’s how I’d plan my trip:

Fly into Glasgow International Airport


Old Loans Inn

Piersland House Hotel 


Day 1 (Knock off the Jet Lag)

Dundonald Links


Kilmarnock Barassie Links

Day 2

Prestwick AM

Western Gailes PM

Day 3

Kilmarnock Barassie Links AM


Dundonald AM

Royal Troon PM


Red Lion Inn

The location where the Open Championship was born. Right across the street is now a Pharmacy that used to be Old Tom’s home. For fun ask anyone if they know that fact….


Wie Hurrie


Monday, 14 January 2019

The Official Unofficial Golf Guide to Scotland

Scotland is The Home of Golf and we invited film maker Erik Anders Lang along to make the most epic series to date.

Playing over 24 courses in 16 days throughout the whole of Scotland! Exhausting just thinking about it! The guys played courses in Ayrshire, East Lothian, Fife, Angus, Aberdeenshire, The Highlands and Perthshire on this mammoth golf trip.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, golf, shoes, grass, sky, mountain, outdoor and nature
Erik had this to say "Filled with emotion to share the news that we are going to Scotland to represent the Home of Golf. A two week trip around the magical home of Braveheart is something i've wanted to do for years. It's my favourite place on earth"
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Well Erik you did not disappoint, Erik's vlogs are now live on his YouTube page and will be filling you with content until many weeks to come.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Old Loans Inn named best small golf hotel in Scotland

The Old Loans Inn continues to fly the flag for Ayrshire after being named Small Hotel of the Year for the second successive year, while The Gailes Hotel was also shortlisted at the 2018 Scottish Golf Tourism awards in St Andrews.

The glittering awards ceremony took place at the Fairmont Hotel in St Andrews where renowned golf broadcaster Dougie Donnelly hosted the event supported by VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise and PSP Media Group. 

Over 90 tour operators and buyers worldwide arrived in Scotland to learn, experience and sample what Scotland has to offer by way of connecting with golf, accommodation 
and other providers within the industry.

A two-day series of networking events then took place, including golf’s equivalent of speed-dating with over 4,000 Business to Business (B2B) meetings between Scottish suppliers like SimpsInns and the Old Loans Inn plus Scottish and international tour operators, helping to drive business to Scotland and Ayrshire.

The week concluded with a black-tie gala dinner for almost 500 guests and when the lights went down it wasn’t long before the drama unfolded. In the first award to be announced, the Old Loans Inn was named Small Hotel of the Year for the second successive year.

“I can’t believe we’ve won again, this is a wonderful acknowledgement to all the hard work George (Paton) and his team put in at the Old Loans Inn to make sure all our guests are so well looked after,” explained SimpsInns owner Malcolm Simpson after receiving the award.

“We won this award 12 months ago and to win again makes it very special, especially as the votes came from the general public. We know we have a fantastic product and all of our hotels are so close to the many championship courses within Ayrshire. The Old Loans Inn is just minutes from the first tee at Royal Troon and we have a great working relationship with all the courses in the area.

“To come away with this prestigious award is very special, knowing that we were up against such strong competition.”

The Old Loans Inn’s sister property, The Gailes Hotel, was also shortlisted in the Hotel of the Year category that was won by Murrayshall Country House Hotel.

The Scottish golf tourism industry is looking to grow the sector from £286 million in 2016 to £300 million by 2020.

Malcolm Roughhead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “I’m delighted to see award winners right across the country, which goes to underline the outstanding strength in depth of the Scottish golf tourism product.” 

Thursday, 11 October 2018

From Turnberry to Dornoch

From Turnberry to Dornoch: cancer survivor Nick Edmund takes the Global Golf4 Cancer campaign to Scotland and starting his journey here in Ayrshire.

On May 4th this year, 57-year-old Nick Edmund – a golf writer, former Managing Director of Faldo Design and currently in remission for head and neck cancer, completed a marathon 2,000km trek around the west coast of Ireland. Carrying a golf bag on his shoulders, Nick walked the entire Wild Atlantic Way from Malin Head in Co. Donegal to The Old Head of Kinsale in Co. Cork, visiting 40 golf courses along the route. The purpose of Nick’s herculean effort was to launch a worldwide campaign called Global Golf4 Cancer, an awareness and fundraising initiative that literally asks the golf community to ‘fly the flag’ for cancer sufferers worldwide.

At each golf course Nick visited, he played just the 4th hole and delivered a distinctive Global Golf4 Cancer awareness flag for the club to fly periodically on that hole in support of the campaign. It was always Nick’s intention to undertake a second golf-walk in Scotland this Autumn, during which he would call into 24 of the country’s finest championship links courses between Turnberry on the Ayrshire coast and Royal Dornoch, 50 miles north of Inverness. Again, the plan was to play the 4th hole and raise the Global Golf4 Cancer flag. However a new cancer diagnosis during the summer required extensive surgery with radiotherapy treatment to follow - and threatened to derail Nick’s plans.

“It’s not exactly been the easiest of times,” admitted Nick, “I seem to have spent much of the past two months in the company of surgeons, doctors and nurses; but I never doubted we would launch our Scottish campaign in October or that I would endeavour to complete the ‘Turnberry to Dornoch’ golf-walk before the end of the year. Frankly, and without wanting to sound ‘high and mighty’, we are on a mission here, and our aim is simple: to enlist the support of golfers in the fight against cancer. The game has enormous international reach, and if we can inspire the golfing community to fly the flag for cancer sufferers and support various cancer fighting initiatives worldwide, then I think we can make a real difference.” 

From now to December, pausing only to undergo radiotherapy treatment in London, Nick will walk approximately 400 miles with his golf clubs on his back and will raise the Global Golf4Cancer 4-Flag at some of Scotland’s most famous golfing venues. This week, after visiting Turnberry, he will call into Prestwick, Royal Troon, Western Gailes and Dundonald. Looking ahead, he believes his toughest challenge in Scotland could be the elements, but typically is thinking about the positives: “I suspect it may get a little chilly when I walk up the east coast in November, and by the time I reach Royal Dornoch, which golfers call ‘the star of the north’, the days will be quite short. But then again, I reckon the amazing links courses and scenery will more than compensate”.

William Townley, a head and neck cancer specialist and consultant plastic surgeon based at Guy’s Hospital in London, commented, “On 11th September Nick underwent his third operation in the space of just six weeks. On this most recent occasion we needed to perform some very sensitive surgery and reconstruction work on his forehead. What he has embarked upon just a month after coming out of hospital is truly extraordinary.” 

Peter Walton, CEO of global golf tourism industry organisation IAGTO, added: “This is an incredibly inspiring ‘good news golf story’. IAGTO is fully committed to supporting Global Golf4 Cancer and Nick in his remarkable effort to draw the attention of the golfing world, and more importantly attract its support, to this globally-significant cause.”

For further information about the ‘Turnberry to Dornoch’ 4-Flag Campaign, please visit

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Eric Anders Lang wins world's best golf job!

Eric Anders Lang was the lucky winner of Scotland, Home of Golf World's best golf job.

Here is what he had to say 😂

Episode 1. The Cartbarnguys arrive Ayrshire

They are the hottest instagram golf page around and the Cartbarnguys touched down in Ayrshire last month to create amazing content for this famous golf destination in their unique fun way.

Episode 1

Stay tuned for more from this mini series and go check out Cartbarnguys over on Instagram

Monday, 23 July 2018

The Cartbarnguys are coming to Ayrshire

Golf Social media sensations The Cartbarnguys are visiting Ayrshire.....

Kyle and Bobby Nuggets are famous for their love and passion of the game of golf and they just so happen to have a massive online following across the globe. They will be bringing their fun filled content to Ayrshire this August.

Kyle had this to say: "If you love golf the way I do, you need to find ways to play as much as possible.  Working in cart barns over the years have given me access to the game on all levels.  I became a CBG to give myself an opportunity to become a better golfer.  And after working in 5 different cart barns over the years, I have put myself in a position to try and compete at the highest level. ​

I was born in California and grew up in Austin, TX.  Austin is where I fell in love with the game.  I moved to Arizona in 2014 and started working at Papago Golf Course shortly after that.  Instagram was gaining popularity so I started an account to document the real life struggle of balancing working in the cart barn and trying to make it on to the PGA Tour.​

The concept and community has started to grow beyond just me. The Cart Barn Guys social media presence has become a national platform for showcasing players that are documenting their own grind.  We are now sharing stories of Cart Barn Guys everywhere.  ​

Who knows where this will lead us in the future. But one thing is abundantly clear: WE ALL LOVE GOLF!"

Well Kyle it has lead you to Scotland, The Home of Golf and we cant wait to have you!

Stay tuned to their Ayrshire adventure by following them on INSTAGRAM and YOUTUBE