This month we take a short journey north to Scotland to sample some of the gems just a short drive from our region…
Ladybank Golf Club
Laid out by Tom Morris, the course at Ladybank Golf Club dates back to 1879. Set out over attractive heathland, the landscape features stunning gorse, broom, heather, scots pine and silver birch – creating a colourful palette and an excellent home for many red squirrels.
Driving into the club, through a long avenue of trees alongside the 16th, 17th and 18th holes, you catch a glimpse of what to expect from this classic layout.
The sandy soil creates tight turf while the gentle undulations to fairways and fast, firm greens make for a memorable occasion on every visit. Deep bunkering adds a links-like feel when matched with the tight fairways.
The links resemblances end there however, for the many trees here demand far more accuracy from the tee than the traditional linksland of the coast. There are few straight holes and while just four of the par four holes stretch more than 400 yards, this is no pushover thanks to the doglegs and subtle curves. A challenging, yet peaceful golfing experience – what more could you ask for?
Ladybank Golf Club, Annsmuir, Ladybank, Fife, KY15 7RA, www.ladybankgolf.co.uk
Lockerbie Golf Club
From its elevated setting, Lockerbie Golf Club affords stunning views over the Annandale Valley and the Lakeland hills while presenting a fine parkland test with tree-lined fairways and subtly contoured greens protecting the par 67 layout.
The original nine-hole course was designed by the legendary five-time Open Champion James Braid before a further nine holes were added in 1986.
Short by modern standards at 5,463 yards, the course is protected by trees, water and its small sloping greens. Water comes into play on three holes while five par threes present tricky tests of 100-200 yards. With no par fives, the par fours at Lockerbie range from great birdie chances to stern holes protected by hazards and thick rough – driver is often a risky play and tactical play can be the best way to unlock good scores.
Situated on the east side of Lockerbie, just five minutes from the north and south exits of the M74, this is a great place to start your trip north.
Lockerbie Golf Club, Corrie Road Lockerbie, Dumfries & Galloway, DG11 2ND, tel 01576 203 363, www.lockerbiegolf.co.uk
Auld Cross Keys Inn
The Auld Cross Keys Country Inn, Denholm has been at the heart of life in the town for more than 200 years. A popular choice with golfers visiting the Scottish Borders, the former bakehouse offers 12 bedrooms and can accommodate up to 26 people. Within a short drive of some of the best courses in the Scottish Borders, including Eyemouth, Torwoodlee, Minto, Jedburgh, Kelso and the Hirsel, the Auld Cross Keys serves as a perfect base for visiting golfers.