Where to golf during Dumfries & Galloway's Gael Force music and arts festival this fall
Stranraer Golf Club, Southerness Golf Club and St. Medan Golf Club are just a few of the golf courses to check out when in Scotland for the Gael Force 2008 music and arts festival.
Gael Force (www.gaelforceevents.co.uk) returns to southern Scotland's Dumfries & Galloway council area this fall, featuring a wide mix of musicians.
When you're not rocking out in some of the country's most scenic and rural areas, be sure to hit the golf course. The southernmost region of Scotland, Dumfries & Galloway is one of the country's lesser trafficked when it comes to golf. But like anywhere else in the U.K., it's full of historic golf clubs, some of which feature clifftop views of the sea.
It's also pretty hard to find an expensive golf course around these parts. That will leave more money for concert tickets around Gael Force. Here are some of Dumfries & Galloway's best golf courses to check out when you're enjoying the festivities this fall.
Dumfries & Galloway golf courses
Some of the area's best golf is on the west coast around the town of Stranraer.
Stranraer Golf Club is a parkland course, the last ever designed by the legendary James Braid. Though it's set inland, there are some breathtaking holes offering coastal views, like the oft-photographed signature fifth hole, playing from an elevated tee box high above the water.
Southerness Golf Club is the region's best championship links course, located 14 miles from Dumfries. Architect Mackenzie Ross built this low-lying links in 1947, set on the Solway Coast and featuring views of the Solway Firth, the Cumbrian Lake District and the Galloway Hills. It's played host to the Scottish Amateur Championship twice in its history.
A real treat is the historic Portpatrick Golf Club's Dunskey Course, established in 1903 and home to some of the best views in Dumfries & Galloway. The signature par-4 13th hole is just 285 yards and all downhill, but it's set on top of cliffs overlooking the coast, which provides not only striking views but fierce wind. This par 70 plays just a shade under 6,000 yards.
Portpatrick Golf Club is a 27-hole facility, including a par-3 course that was added in 1912.
Nine-hole St. Medan Golf Club is another century old club that also might be the region's most scenic, set on a promontory along the rugged Galloway coast. You might not want to leave after just nine holes, which is why there are 18 sets of tees here. This James Braid design is just 2,300 yards and is the most southerly golf course in Scotland, located just south of Port William.
Dumfries & Galloway isn't all old courses. It's home to a new golf resort as well, Lagganmore Golf Club, a heathland layout opened in 1999. The hotel and golf course overlooks the North Channel, and the latter claims to have the best par 5 in town, the heavily guarded seventh hole.
The hotel is a good hub to enjoy Gael Force or other nearby golf courses, located two miles from Portpatrick and six miles from Stranraer.
Looking to tee it up on an Open Championship venue?
The golf in Dumfries & Galloway consists of more local, understated golf clubs rather than world-class championship links and resorts. But if that's more your style, never fear, it's close by.
Though not in Dumfries & Galloway, 2009 Open Championship host Turnberry is just a short drive west from the region's westernmost events. Along with the world famous Ailsa Course, there is a second championship 18 holes, the Kintyre, along with a nine-hole Arran Course, a pitch-and-putt course and the Colin Montgomerie Academy.
Just about a half hour up the road are two more venues: Royal Troon Golf Club and the birthplace of the Open, Prestwick Golf Club. All three courses are as challenging and enjoyable links as you'll find.
September 15, 2008