5 Great Golf Villages in Scotland and Ireland

One of the great pleasures of playing golf in Scotland and Ireland is strolling the quaint, bustling streets of a village after playing a round of golf. A wondrous place where you can carry your clubs through town and people stop and ask how you played. A friendly place where you can wander into a pub and moments later someone offers to buy you a pint. A place, too, where you see a crowd in front of a small shop and you fall in line with the locals for some fresh fish and chips.

As we all know, playing golf in this part of world rewards visitors with fantastic memories on and off the course.

Everybody has their favorite village where golf is an integral part of everyday life in Scotland and Ireland. Here are five of our favorites: 

1. St. Andrews, Scotland--While golf dominates its persona, St. Andrews, a village of 18,000 residents, can be thoroughly enjoyed by people who wouldn't know a golf ball from a tennis ball. Brimming with historical sites, ancient churches and a variety of shops, pubs and restaurants, St. Andrews is also home to St. Andrews University, Scotland's oldest university founded in 1413, the St. Andrews Aquarium, St. Andrews Botantic Garden and the British Golf Museum. A golfer's nirvana, the town features the seven courses operated by the St. Andrews Links Trust and nearby layouts like the two courses at the Fairmont St. Andrews Bay and celebrated courses like Kingsbarns and Carnoustie.

2. Bushmills, Ireland--Home to the Old Bushmills Distillery, where they've been making whiskey for more than four centuries, the town of 2,000 residents has walkable streets with historical buildings, shops, pubs and restaurants. If you love whiskey, the Old Bushmills Distillery, the oldest licensed distillery in the world, is a fun and interesting attraction with its tours and tastings. The most popular place for Americans to stay is the 41-room Bushmills Inn, a beautiful, luxury, 4-star hotel. For hikers, there is a 7-mile scenic walk to Portrush that passes the Dunluce Castle. When it's time to tee up, the world renowned Royal Portrush Golf Club is only five miles away and there's a great selection of courses within 15 miles of the village, including Castlerock, Portstewart, Ballycastle and Gracehill.

3. Portrush, Ireland--Less than a 20-minute drive from Bushmills, Portrush is known for its sandy beaches and the Royal Portrush Golf Club, which has hosted an Open Championship. The old town village of Portrush, built on a mile-long peninsula, encompasses hotels and B&B's, restaurants and pubs. Popular activities in Portrush include shopping at the White House Department Store, enjoying Barry Amusements Park and visiting Dunluce Castle. The historic Royal Portrush Golf Club, which has 36 holes of golf, will host the Open Championship again in 2019.

4. North Berwick, Scotland--A seaside town in East Lothian about 45 minutes east of Edinburgh, North Berwick has postcard beauty with its harbor dotted with boats, stunning Victorian villas and classic fish and chips shops. It's remindful of St. Andrews somewhat because its famous course, North Berwick Golf Club, is situated in the village similar to the Old Course. They've been teeing it up at the North Berwick Golf Club since the 17th century. Nearby places to play include The Glen and Whitekirk. East Lothian has a plethora of courses high on the Scotland play hit list such as Gullane, Dunbar and Muirfield.

5. Killarney, Ireland--When most Americans think of the quintessential Irish village, it's Killarney in County Kerry in the southwest part of the country that often comes to mind. Developed in the mid-1700s, the village of 14,000 residents is a wonderland of historic buildings with charming architecture and narrow lanes with shops and restaurants. City council members have preserved its natural look by banning gaudy shop signs and instituting other rules to protect its heritage. You'll see old, classic signage, window boxes with flowers and stained-glass doors at the many family-owned shops. Located a two hour drive from Shannon International Airport, Killarney has golf offerings such as the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, Ross Golf Club and Castlerosse Golf Club.

For a fantastic, expertly planned golf vacation to these villages and other fabulous U.S. and International destinations, click to PREMIER GOLF or call 866-260-4409 to speak with one of our knowledgeable and experienced golf travel specialists.

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