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 www.globalgolf4cancer.org

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 

Monday, 9 July 2018

The best golf 'job' in the world

Want the Best Golf ‘Job’ in the World?

Ever dreamt of a job where you just play golf?  You could be about to swing into that dream post.    We are offering one lucky individual a golf job with a difference, albeit it’s not an official job and only temporary for two weeks but who cares right?!

Scotland is ‘The Home of Golf; it’s where the game began and is one of the best, if not the best golfing destination on the planet.
We’re looking for the right candidate to play golf in all 7 golfing regions around Scotland in a golf extravaganza.  Playing some of the best courses, unearthing unique golf experiences, sampling our amazing Scottish hospitality, food, drink and lots more.
We are now accepting applications for this two week ‘job’ where you will travel the country playing golf along the way.  What’s the catch?  Just a small one - we have to make you work a little by creating amazing content on the courses, at the places you stay, where you eat out and areas you explore, all for you to put together a golfer’s dream come true Golf Guide to Scotland. 

The lucky winner will play a Ryder Cup Venue, a course where The Open began, the Number two course in the world as voted by Golf Digest plus many more.
To apply we need you to create a short video reviewing your own course or any course in the most fun way (video should be 60 - 90 seconds long) you can use drone footage, phones, cameras or whatever works best for you.
Let’s see your presenting skills by applying here www.visitscotlandgolf.com/bestgolfjob
Now go check out our short promo video above and get inspired!

The Job*:

  • ·         Play 2 rounds of golf in each of the 7 regions and bring your best golfing friend along. 14 rounds & 14 days in total.
  • ·         Visit other golf courses in area and find out some info for the interested golfing visitors.
  • ·         Explore some of the areas 19th hole offering for the best of food and drink.
  • ·         Create Vlogs for YouTube as well as Instagram posts and stories throughout each day and any other forms of media you can think of.
  • ·         Create a complete Golf Guide on completion of the trip; this will be through a blog as well as YouTube video of your adventure in Scotland Home of Golf.
  • ·         All golf tee times and lunch at the courses are provided for as will B&B accommodation and car hire/ travel to Scotland
  • ·         You will receive an allowance of £750.00GBP each for the duration off your trip


·         Goes live on July 9th
·         Applications close 27th July
·         Winner announced 3rd August
·         Two weeks in Scotland starts on Saturday 1st – Sunday 16th September

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Playing Out Sideways in Ayrshire

Golf Fanalysts Playing out sideways give their take on everything Ayrshire Golf in their latest podcast show. They talk great Golf, past Opens, the best par 3's and the best 19th holes in the area.
Go check it out....


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Winter Golf by Train in Ayrshire

With Guest Blogger 

While many a golfer may travel abroad in February to escape the harsh Scottish winter for some warm sunshine golf, I decided to brave the elements and headed off on a golf adventure to Ayrshire by rail.

After purchasing a Spirit of Scotland rail pass, packing a light travel bag filled with plenty of warm clothing and a pencil bag on my back, I set out for the coastal railway line of Ayrshire which passes many of the area’s finest golf courses.  The railways acted as the catalyst for the expansion of the game at the turn of the 20th century and Ayrshire is a part of Scotland where that history and tradition is still evident.

My first steps on Ayrshire soil was in the far south in the coastal town of Girvan on a bleak, misty Sunday afternoon with threatening rain-filled skies. A constant ghostly companion of my travels would be legendary Scottish golfer and five-time Open Champion James Braid who travelled by rail to visit, play and design many golf courses across Great Britain. Girvan is one such golf course designed by Braid and nowadays it is run by the Ayrshire council which manages eight golf courses in the region. The opening eight holes run alongside the sea and offered me fleeting glimpses through the cloud and mist towards Ailsa Craig before one crosses the road and turns inland for the second half of the course. I completed the game just before the weather turned to complete rain but it was also a close call in running back up the hill to the station to catch my connecting train south.

After an early game at Stranraer Golf Course Monday morning, Braids final design in Scotland, I journeyed northwards on a single track line past lowland glens dotted by the odd sheep, ancient stone walls and the flowing waters of the Stinchar river before arriving to coastal views at the historic golfing town of Prestwick where the first Open Championship was played in 1860 in the early afternoon.

The train station is directly beside the first tee of the golf course and strolling around town there are many areas of interest depicting the golfing significance of the place such as The Red Lion Inn where the first championship was planned, a plaque to commemorate where the first shot of that 1860 Open was hit and a memorial plaque in the towns graveyard to Andrew Strath, a former Open Champion and Keeper of the Green at Prestwick before his untimely death.

Awaking from a fine night’s sleep at the Golf View Hotel overlooking the course, I hit the links early Tuesday morning at 8 am amid brightening sun-filled surroundings. The course is a throwback to the origins of the game and there are still six greens that exist which were part of Old Tom Morris 12 Hole layout. Names of holes such as Alps, Himalayas and Cardinal have influenced the game worldwide and every year golfers descend to the links to pay homage to a national golf treasure.

I had time for a quick spot of lunch in the clubhouse before hurrying to the station to catch a train to Troon where a friend of mine working on the course guided me on a walking tour of Scotland’s most recent Open venue, The Royal Troon Golf Club. Some winter renovation work on the first tee shall enhance the vistas out across the beach towards the Irish Sea, Ailsa Craig and the distant Isle of Arran. Famous holes such as The Postage Stamp and Railway naturally stand out but it is also very interesting to see much environmental work on the course helping to conserve and enhance the areas local flora and fauna particularly in regards to the small blue butterfly project.

Royal Troon no.11 by the railway

On a cold, grey Wednesday morning I returned south to Ayr to ramble around the old town and see the many tributes to Scotland’s most famous Baird. A scarf was wrapped around the knee of the statue of Burns in the square while pigeons had made a home on both shoulders. There are further interesting places to see in the town such as Tam o' Shanter Close and the William Wallace Tower monument to mention but a few.

A warm broth was needed to warm the bones, before returning on the train to play the links of Barassie, another course influenced by Braid that is full of heathland heather, broom and gorse over the opening holes before a short walk to the newer nine which run alongside the ever-present railways.

I faced a raw, bracing cold wind Thursday morning when leaving the homely and quaint Tigh Dearg (the Red House) B&B. I walked the short pitching wedge distance underneath the railway tracks to the municipal courses of Troon, of which there are three. Even at 7.40am, there were many golfers gearing up to play the courses on such a sharp winters day which is a testament to the dedication, love and maybe madness the Scottish people have for their game. I decided to play the Darley course which has a par 71 and is one of the trickiest municipal courses one can encounter.

Barassie Links short promo video

After a much needed hot cup of tea after the round in the recently refurbished clubhouse, I returned to the station to journey on towards West Kilbride where I was meeting a friend from Sweden who had travelled across from Edinburgh. Playing 36 holes in the one day is always a challenge but with the weather getting progressively windier and colder later in the afternoon, the winter gloves were unpacked for the first time on the trip. West Kilbride was a real old-fashioned links next to the seaside and offers panoramic views towards Arran even though it was not visible to us in the cloudy conditions. With somewhat tired legs late in the evening, I gratefully accepted some Swedish generosity of a lift back up to the train station for the final 15-minute journey to the last stop on the line, the summer holiday town of Largs.

An early walk along the seafront promenade and breakfast enjoying improving views out to Cumbrae, Bute and Arran prepared me for the final game of the trip. A friend from Hamilton who spent many summers sailing the Firth of Clyde drove through to join me for the game at Largs Golf Course which enjoys a pretty location high on the edge of the town looking out towards all that is on offer out at sea. A wee testing course that kept us both entertained with a Swiss-style looking chalet acting as the clubhouse, or so it seemed when walking up the 18th fairway. Traditional Scottish hospitality awaited on the inside thankfully – no cheese or Toberlones on sale here!

On the return east Friday afternoon, through the rush hour commute on the tracks, I reflected on this west coast golfing adventure. I visited seven courses in six days ranging from historic links to Open Championship venues, rugged authentic municipals and coastal cliff tops. There were some winter tees and winter greens, uneven lies and bounces, ground under repair and preferred lies. But there was also some perfectly manicured turf with true rolling surfaces which when all added up led to a true Scottish golfing winter experience with Ayrshire acting as the perfect host.

Leaving the car at home and travelling with the golf clubs by train was indeed a novel way to go discover Ayrshire. It was tough to get off the beaten track and see many of the areas many attractions but golf was the motivation for this trip and by using the railways, I found that many courses were easily accessible - between Ayr and Irvine alone, I counted at least thirteen courses that are visible from the railways.

I never saw another set of clubs on the train during my weeks travel, but through an old-fashioned mode of transport, I found it was still possible to journey as Old Tom and Braid would have done in days past which offered the perfect opportunity to sit back, relax and see more of Scotland. However, my next trip will be pretty straight-forward and one that every golfer knows – a trip to the driving range to work on the swing!

A guest post courtesy of Frank Aherne, of 'Links Fairways'.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

5 stars all round for Blair Estate

One of our founding partners of Ayrshire Golf Scotland, Blair Estate is awarded their 2nd 5 star recognition.
Following release by Visit Scotland.....

An Ayrshire castle is celebrating after receiving its second 5-Star award from the national tourism organisation in six years.

Blair Estate which sits within 250 acres of countryside near Dalry was recently awarded a 5-star Quality Assurance award from VisitScotland for its new self-catering accommodation within the East Wing of the historic mansion.

The castle, which dates back to the 12th-century and is reputed to be the oldest continually inhabited mansion house in Scotland, also holds a 5-star QA award for its exclusive use offering, which it has held since 2012.

The recently refurbished East Wing self-catering accommodation sleeps ten and is offered in addition to the exclusive use of the house, which accommodates up to 34 guests in 17 bedrooms and is ideal for house parties and large group holidays.

Blair Estate has also joined the VisitScotland Information Partner (VIP) programme. Launched in May 2016, the VIP programme harnesses the local knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm of partners across the country to help visitors receive the warmest of welcomes and make the most of their trip to Scotland.

With its strong emphasis on promoting local produce, Blair Estate also has VisitScotland Taste Our Best accreditation - a joint initiative between VisitScotland and the Scottish Government to recognise businesses including and promoting local Scottish Produce on their menus.

Developed and improved for over 30 years, VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance Schemes are world-leading and provide a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors. They allow businesses not just to meet visitor expectations, but to exceed them.

VisitScotland Regional Director, Annique Armstrong said: “Congratulations to Blair Estate on this fantastic achievement.

“Our Quality Assurance scheme helps businesses to reach their full potential and truly shine. The scheme is about more than just the ‘stars’ on the door - it’s about the entire visitor experience, about investing in your business, driving-up quality and creating jobs. Blair Estate is a shining example of the quality experience on offer in Ayrshire and fully deserves its double accolade.

“Delivering a quality experience that meets, and exceeds, visitor expectations is crucial in making Scotland a must-visit, must-return destination.”

Owner of Blair Estate, Sallie Hendry said:“It is a great privilege to be one of a small number of private houses and castles in Scotland to have been recognised in this way, which reflects the dedication of our team and the work we have carried out over the past six years. We are committed to offering our guests the highest standards of comfort and cuisine, to ensure their experience of our accommodation and Ayrshire as a whole is the very best.”

Guest Blog by Visit Scotland www.visitscotland.com

Thursday, 4 January 2018

The Ayrshire Links Experience

Three of Ayrshire best loved Links courses have teamed up to bring you the Ayrshire Links Experience.

It's a major boost for the area as the package is well suited for tour operators bookings, making it an easy booking process for them. Local Accommodation can also take advantage, adding room nights, dinner etc to create a short golfing break.

With visiting golfers spending anywhere between £100 and £300 per day after golf this package is sure to generate some economic benefit going forward.

The courses included are Dundonald Links, host of the 2017 Scottish Open. Irvine Bogside and Barassie Links, both having been Open Qualifying venues in the past.

Golf is available 7 days of the week and we would suggest making Dundonald Links the Saturday course if visiting over the weekend. The cost of the 3 courses in the shoulder months of April and October is £185 and in the Summer is £240.

For more information visit http://www.ayrshirelinks.com/