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Hi Everyone,

The St Andrews Links Official Photobook

A couple of days ago I was with some clients seeing them off the 1st tee for their dream round on the most famous golf course in the world – the Old Course in St Andrews.  I have been very lucky over the last 15 years to help literally thousands of golfers secure the best experience in golf – there really is nothing quite like teeing it up on the Old Course.  As you can imagine to capture the moment there any many a photo taken especially in these days of the camera phone!  As I had wished our group all the best for their round of a lifetime I bumped into Kevin Kirk who owns a professional photography business and this year has started working with the St Andrews Links Trust to offer a truly amazing service.  For all golfers who have purchased one of our Morton Golf Holidays Packages including a guaranteed tee time on the Old Course then Kevin and his team are there not only on the first tee but also capture shots of golfers as they play the 1st, 2nd, 17th and of course the 18th. The difference between the camera shot taken by your golf buddies, tour operator or caddie and what Kevin and his team produce is like night and day – I guess that’s why they make their living taking these wonderful photos. Each golfer is given a code on the 1st tee and they can then go online and order from a variety of photos to capture their dream of playing on the Old Course.  And if you really want bragging rites over your golf buddies back home then you should order the St Andrews Links Official Photobook – see some of the images above – imagine showing everyone professionally taken images of you and your friends on the most hallowed ground in all of golf – all produced in a coffee table book which makes it look like you have been playing in a Major.  No matter your swing is not quite the same as Tiger or Rory, Kevin and his team will produce photos of you and your friends playing the most memorable round of your life – with some of the iconic background in the game.  We will certainly be looking to give all of our clients memories to cherish by including the option to add the St Andrews Links Official Photobook when they come to Scotland with Morton Golf Holidays.

Peter Craigon, Managing Director, Morton Golf Holidays

 

 

Hi Everyone

Barrie Douglas Golf Foundation – Craigie Hill Golf Day / Friday 08 June 2018

Barrie Douglas was a great friend and was without doubt one of best known figures in golf in Scotland since way back in the 1960s when he played for the Scottish Boys Team. I believe he played in the team with the likes of Bernard Gallacher and a number of other well-known golfers who became Tour players.  He was definitely a tremendous match player and I was lucky enough to play with him as my partner on a number of occasions in the Queen Elizabeth FPs tournament held annually at Royal Burgess GS.  In fact one year we gave a former Scottish Champion and his partner a “dog licence” – which as you can imagine we dined out on for a number of years thereafter!  Barrie really found his forte in managing for a number of years the Scotland Boys team and was a junior selector with the R&A for GB&I teams.  His wonderful knowledge and positive attitude enabled him to get the best out of all teams he managed.  And of course he was legendary when it came to golfing stories – and they grew better and more frequent the later we all stayed in the bar.  Sadly as I am sure many of you will know he passed away last year having taken ill whilst on duty at the European Boys team championships in Spain.  To carry on his legacy the Barrie Douglas Golf Foundation has been set up by wife Tish, daughters Susan and Jennifer and a wonderful Board has come together which collectively have a golfing pedigree second to none – well done to Charlie Gallagher, Stevie Carruthers and George Stubbs.  The guys ran a very successful Golf Day at Craigie Hill on Friday – 22 teams of 4 golfers took part and such was Barrie’s popularity the event was sold out in record time.  The Foundation in Barrie’s name will hold various events and the funds raised will go to help the development of junior golf in both Perth & Kinross and Scotland.  Golf and junior golf development meant so much to Barrie – I know he would have been so proud of the wonderful effort and organisation of the Foundation set up in his name – good luck for the future to all involved.  If anyone reading this blog be they clients or indeed just golfers interested in helping development of junior golf in Perth & Kinross and Scotland and you would like to support in some way – be it financial or otherwise please let me know as I would be delighted to put you in touch with the Barrie Douglas Golf Foundation Board.

Peter Craigon, M.D. Morton Golf Holidays     

 

Hi Everyone

The Iron Man of Arran Golf Challenge

I am delighted to report that the fund raising lead by Sandy Fyfe and 3 of his closest golfing friends is going extremely well with the total standing at around £4000.  Anyone wishing to donate can do so by visiting the website for the event – just click on the link below:

https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/thearranfore

The photo shows Sandy, Tino, Bill and Graham about to tee off on the Jubilee Course earlier this week.  A huge thanks to one of our best clients Bruce Epstein from Boston and his group for donating this tee time to the fund raiser.  I would also like to say thank you to a number of our supplying golf courses for kindly donating tee times to help Sandy and the guys boost their fund raising – so thanks indeed to Castle Stuart, Crail, Prestwick, Royal Dornoch and to Phyllis Wilkie who donated an overnight stay in the Old Course Hotel.

In fact anyone who is reading this still has a chance to bid for the tee times at both Prestwick and Crail – simply email Sandy with your bid SandyFyfe@morrisandyoung.co.uk.

Sandy’s own daughter, Tallie, was hospitalised in Yorkhill, Glasgow for a protracted period of time when she was just 10 months old. Following two heart operations, Tallie has never looked back and is now a fit teenager who loves to play hockey every moment that she can. It’s time to give something back. Dave Kerr is Chair of Home Link Family Support based in Edinburgh. Home Link Family Support gives children and families a positive start in life by providing support in their homes in Edinburgh and Midlothian. Dave and Sandy are very grateful to both Bill and Graeme for agreeing to support these two charities equally from any funds raised.

Good luck to the guys – playing 93 holes in one day is no mean feat!!

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays

1st tee of the Old Course

Hi Everyone

Each year we are delighted to be able to include a guarantee to play on the Old Course for a significant number of our clients. April this year saw our season off to a wonderful start with clients here from South Africa, USA and Canada. One of the great things about my job is being able to be with clients on the first tee of the Old Course and indeed many have told me over the years it has been the most memorable round of their lives. Not to put too fine a point for many golfers to play on the Old Course is literally a dream come true. A wonderful example of one of our groups about to fulfil that dream can be seen in the photo below and we were delighted Chris DuPont from Canada gave me permission to include his testimonial in this blog – in fact not only did we arrange for his group to play at the Old Course along with a number of other top Scottish courses – including Muirfield – we also added Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham and a day at the Grand National – now there’s a trip to create everlasting memories! Thanks Chris and we hope to see you and the guys back in Scotland very soon.

Hi Peter, On our recent golf trip, we liked the opportunity to golf world class courses and going to the Grand National. Kingsbarns was the consensus favourite due to the fantastic views and the great golf holes.  The accommodation was great and a special note for the bed and breakfast in Southport. Fantastic.  The transport drivers were fantastic. Very accommodating and friendly. The Trip information summary was great and we were very happy with the service from Morton Golf Holidays and I have already given your name to my optometrist. We definitely want to come back to Scotland! –Chris Dupont, Canada

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays 

Kingsbarns Golf Links

Hi Everyone

Had a great meeting yesterday with Alan and Audrey Hogg who do such a great job of running Kingsbarns Golf Links and have done now for some 7 years.  The image right was taken looking over the 18th green and beyond from the balcony of the wonderful clubhouse – who says we do not have great weather here in Scotland in April!!  You can always rely on Alan and Audrey to be innovative – take a look at the Kingsbarns Wind Tee – when it gets really windy on a links course it can sometimes be a bit of an issue getting the ball to stay on the tee(peg) – so Alan and his team have now come up with this really cool tee which goes into the ground at a little bit of an angle and has a wider than normal part to hold the ball – it also has a ridge in the stem so you can be sure to have the ball at the correct height every time.  Very apt for the modern driver.  So each time you play at Kingsbarns the starter will give you a little pack of the Kingsbarns Wind Tees – very novel – and being Scottish these tees at first glance appear to be indestructible.  The golf course and clubhouse were both looking fantastic yesterday – very fitting for a golf course that should never ever be out of any top 20 list in world golf.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays  

 

 

 

The Open Shop, St Andrews

Hi Everyone
Was in St Andrews this week with some clients from both South Africa and Canada – delighted our season has started in earnest now and looking forward to watching our clients tee off on The Old Course – it has to be the most nerve racking and exciting tee shot in golf – it’s amazing what a little focus can do – I have been watching our clients tee off from the 1st tee of the Old Course for over 14 years now and it is incredible how many great shots people actually play – and to see the delight on their faces as their drive heads right up the middle of the rather large fairway never gets old. I was delighted to look into the newly revamped shop just over the street from the 18th green of the Old Course – simply named “ The Open “ the shop is on the site of the Old Tom Morris shop which is where the great man made and sold clubs and gutta percha golf balls 150 years ago! The new shop is full of really cool gear and as the name suggests focuses on The Open brand – well worth a visit for anyone looking for clothes or momentoes depicting the world’s most important and famous golf championship.
Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great place for Lunch in St Andrews
Hello Everyone
St Andrews is clearly world famous for golf and quite rightly so being the Home of the greatest game in the world. The grand old town is steeped in the history of golf and anyone either here to play or even just to visit cannot failed to be fascinated by the atmosphere around the place. In addition the town boasts some excellent restaurants and one of the newest kids on the block is Kazoku which means family in Japanese. We had the pleasure of having lunch there last week and can’t recommend it highly enough – great menu, friendly service and actually very reasonably priced.

They also have a couple of rather larger figures of a pelican – not too sure of the significance but they do add to the interest of the place! We will definitely add this great restaurant to our list of places to eat for our clients.
Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays

 

 

 

Oldest Golf Courses – How many have you played?

Dear Everyone

Playing lots of different golf courses has always been of great interest to me – ever since I was 10 years old and the Auchterarder Golf Club junior section has their annual outing to Dunning Golf Club (5 miles away!) I have always loved the thrill of playing a golf course for the first time. To date and some 50 years later I have played over 250 golf courses of Scotland’s 586 total and over 100 in other countries of the world.  There is no doubt this passion for playing lots of different golf courses lead to us buying Morton Golf Holidays – and certainly having played on all of the famous golf courses in Scotland not to mention numerous hidden gems has helped me offer advice to our clients. Last year I came across a wonderful website which allows you to record the number of courses you have played in various categories such as Oldest, True Links, Royals, US and Open Championship venues and so on. See the link below to the Most Unique Courses website and see how your list compares to many other enthusiasts around the world. I was delighted to see I am right up there with the number of the world’s oldest courses I have played – how many have you played!!

https://www.mostuniquecourses.com/en/?page=user&id_user=105&id_category=9

Oldest golf courses/clubs in the world.

1672 Musselburgh Old Links
1744 Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers
1754 St Andrews Old Course – although golf played on the links since at least the 1500s
1774 Royal Musselburgh

1777 Fraserburgh Golf Club

1780 Aberdeen Golf Club
1786 Crail Golfing Society
1787 Elie and Earlsferry
1793 Fortrose
1793 Kingsbarns
1812 Kinghorn
1817 Scotscraig
1818 Montrose
1824 Royal Perth Golfing Society
1832 North Berwick
1835 Carnoustie

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays

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The Iron Man of Arran Golf Challenge

 

Dear All

Since we bought Morton Golf Holidays way back in 2004 our accountant and business advisor has been Sandy Fyfe one of the senior partners at Morris & Young in Perth. These days Sandy is not only our key guy in all matters financial but is also is a very good friend. Around the time we purchased Morton Golf his 10 month old daughter was very ill and required a number of months and a couple of heart operations in the Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow. (Royal Hospital for Sick Children). I am delighted to say daughter Tallie is now a very healthy 14 year old who is actually a great hockey player! Sandy and 3 of his friends this June are going to the Isle of Arran to take part in a fund raising golf event – this is to play all 93 golf holes on the island in one day!

We wish Sandy along with Graeme, Bill and Dave all the very best when they take part in this wonderful challenge – and of course all the luck in the world in raising funds for such worthy causes – see the link below for details. There are some wonderful and indeed quirky and fun golf courses on Arran – and one of the UKs top courses is in pride of place – Shiskine and a wonderful links course – and for those who don’t know – is most unusual in that it is a 12 hole course.

Good luck guys and for anyone who would like to add a little support for this wonderful cause click on the link below to see how you could donate.

https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/thearranfore

The team :Graeme (5) – Airdrie/Crail, Bill (8) – Dun Ochil, Sandy (14) – Dun Ochil, Dave (19) – Baberton

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays

Kingsbarns Distillery on their 3rd birthday

Congratulations to our friends at the Kingsbarns Distillery on their 3rd birthday.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays – 26th March 2018

 

Craig Millar @ 16 West End, St Monans

Hi Everyone

Visited a wonderful award winning restaurant yesterday for a Mother’s Day treat.  Craig Millar @ 16 West End is a real “ foodie “ place located in the lovely Fife fishing village of St Monans which is a pleasant 25 minute drive from St Andrews.

Wonderful seafood, beautiful location and the team who looked after us yesterday provided top class service.

The location is wonderful – the images show a view of the harbour – on a clear day you can see all the way across the Firth of Forth to Muirfield and North Berwick – and of the fishing village itself – both of these pictures were taken from inside the restaurant – it truly is a terrific location.  All in all a super restaurant which we will certainly be recommending to our clients and friends alike.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays

Kingsbarns Distillery – St Andrews

I have been very lucky throughout my career as I have been in a position to sell to my clients two of the major passions in life – namely whisky and golf.  Indeed I may be the only golf tour operator in the world who is also a Keeper of the Quaich. It is no accident therefore when we bring clients to Scotland to play golf we are delighted so many allow us to include a VIP Whisky Tour as part of their itinerary.  In Scotland we are not only the Home of Golf but we also gifted the world scotch whisky so it is little wonder people love a good tour of a distillery to learn about how it is made and of course to have a wee taste!  In Scotland we have many distilleries and golf courses with a rich and varied history but we also have many fantastic new facilities – and indeed 2 of the very best are literally right next door to each other in the Kingdom of Fife.  Kingsbarns Golf Links was opened for play in the year 2000 and is most definitely deserving of it’s status among the very best in all of the “ Top “ lists of golf courses in the world.  And how wonderful an addition to the Scottish distillery scene has been the Kingsbarns Distillery.  We send many of our client there for VIP Tours and they are extremely well looked after by Manager Scott Robertson and his team.  And from this year they have added the Darnley’s Gin House – so when you visit for a tour you can now see not only how scotch whisky is made but also learn all about the history and traditional of this wonderful Scottish gin.  Good luck to the whole team at the Kingsbarns Distillery and we will certainly be encouraging all of our clients to add a VIP tour to their itineraries to enhance the overall Scottish Experience.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays  – 23rd Feb 2018

Slow Play – Speed up the game we all love

Dear Golfer
I read with interest today the article and comments regarding slow play in the Morning Read – http://www.morningread.com/

I have played golf for well over 50 years having started to play at Auchterarder Golf Club (across the fence from the Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course) and in the 1960’s the average round was 3 hours (or less). We were not even playing “ready golf” – but when it was your turn to play you got on with it – no pre-shot routines or looking through any distance measuring devices in those days. I now play off 6 and my son Sam is a soon to be qualified PGA Pro (he worked at Balbirnie Park GC in Fife for the last 3 years and starts a new post at Panmure GC near to Carnoustie this week working for Head Pro Andrew Crerar). Sam is 24 years old and has played golf for over 20 years – he and I have played regularly in that time – we sometimes play at St Andrews – often on the New Course or Jubilee Course. We live 30 miles from St Andrews but when we play we try to book the first tee time of the day – often around 7:00 am – with no-one in front of us our average time to play 18 holes is never over 2.5 hours. Last Friday we played at Panmure which is a great links course (Hogan practiced there for 2 weeks before he won the British Open in 1953). Playing at which for us was a leisurely pace our time for play was 2 hours and 15 minutes. OK so we are both decent golfers – well he is a little better than decent – but why can we get round in a 2 ball in around 2.5 hours or less holing everything out and yet our game is plagued with slow play?

See the attached image

showing Sam preparing to play his approach shot to the 18th green at Panmure – you can see clearly in the winter sun the clock on the famous old clubhouse shows 4:30 pm – we tee off just after 2:15 pm!!

Some good points were made in the article and comments – maybe the game needs to be a little more “self-regulatory” when it comes to slow play – why a casual round should take more than 3.5 hours is quite beyond me. For a more important round such as a medal or club event then maybe a little longer is acceptable. We have run a successful golf tour business here in Scotland for 15 years and in that time have arranged for thousands of clients to play the Old Course. The St Andrews Links Trust certainly do well at getting golfers round the Old Course in a very reasonable 4 hours and 15 minutes average – that works in my view. For 20,000 golfers each year (the number of rounds played by visiting golfers) the round on the Old Course is probably one of the most important and memorable they will ever play – so of course they do not wish to be rushed in anyway. So 2.5 hours for a couple of good players to play 18 holes, 3.5 hours for a 3 ball and 4 hours for a 4 ball in a club event and 4 to 4.25 hrs for a round on the most famous golf course in the world. Surely these are reasonable times for all golfers to aim for ?

Slow play is not helping as the game struggles to keep and attract golfers new and old – between clubs, governing bodies in the pro and amateur game – it’s time to take action and find ways to speed up the game we all love.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays. – 13/2/18

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Carnoustie prepares for The 2018 Open Championship and beyond.

Yesterday I donned a hard hat and high viz jacket and was given a tour of the new Golf Centre at Carnoustie by Colin McLeod who is the Golf Services Manager and our key contact.

(See images of the new facility). The new centre will enable the team at Carnoustie to provide a truly world class welcome to golfers from all over the planet who come to play at the iconic links. A top class food and beverage service will be on offer in addition to spacious locker and changing rooms, extensive pro shop, caddie managers office, reservations offices, board room and there will even 7 simulators to help golfers warm up – so you will be able to play the first hole before you play the 1st hole – if you see what I mean !! In July this year Carnoustie welcomes the best golfers in the world to play in the 2018 Open – so the new golf centre which is located right beside the 1st tee will launch with a bang ! ( actually it is planned to be ready for April/ May time) – a classy new facility to compliment the one of the very best championship links on the Open rota.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays

Lindores Abbey Distillery

Had a great visit today to the place where scotch whisky (aqua vitae) may well have been distilled for the very first time – Lindores Abbey Distillery is in Fife near the banks of the River Tay and less than 20 miles from St Andrews. See the Earliest Written Reference :

“Distilling was taking place on this site at least as early as 1494, although it was most probably happening long before that. We know this because of the earliest written reference to Scotch Whisky (or Aqua Vitae, as it was then known), which appears in the Exchequer Roll of the same year, naming Friar John Cor, a Lindores monk, who was commissioned by King James IV to turn 8 bolls of malt into Aqua Vitae. 8 Bolls of malt amounts to around 500kg in modern terms and would have been enough to make about 400 bottles of today’s whisky.”

This is Scotland’s newest scotch whisky distillery having only opened a few months ago – however it has been skilfully put together and anyone taking one of their tours will learn not only about the whisky making process developed over hundreds of years but you will also hear of the history of Scotland’s national drink. Little wonder that after 500 or 600 years we in Scotland are rather good at making whisky. So not only is Scotland the Home of Golf but also the home of the best drink in the world! We will certainly be adding tours to the wonderful Lindores Abbey Distillery for our clients to make their Scottish experience even more authentic.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays -31/1/18

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St Andrews in the Winter Sun!

Who said we have no nice weather in Scotland during the winter months! These wonderful images taken today prove otherwise. One picture shows the famous West Sands – eat your heart out “ Chariots of Fire.” Just yards from the Old Course on a day like today hundreds of people head out for a walk along these famous sands. 

The other pictures depict where golfers from all over the world prepare for their dream round – yes it’s the range at the St Andrews Golf Academy.

In fact today I was aiming directly at the Old Course Hotel – looks close but in fact it’s about 350 yards away – so pretty safe unless Rory was playing!

Looking forward to seeing all of our clients warm up before they play the Old Course this year. Start dreaming of that opening tee shot everyone!!

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays  

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Milnathort relishing chance to host new R and A  nine-hole Championship Final

I was delighted to learn Milnathort GC will host the prestigious Scottish Golf R&A 9 Hole Championship in June 2018 with the winners teeing it up at Carnoustie just before The Open.  Congratulations to Milnathort – in my opinion it is the BEST 9 holer in Scotland – I am a little biased as I was a member there for a number of years and our son Sam played in their junior team which won the Perth & Kinross team championship in 2010.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays – 31st Jan 2018

NEWS RELEASE

Perth and Kinross  venue Milnathort Golf Club is looking forward to shining on the national stage when it hosts the final of the inaugural Scottish Golf R and A 9-Hole Championship this summer.

An exciting new free-to-enter event on the domestic calendar, it offers club members a dream opportunity to play at Carnoustie on the eve of July’s Open Championship.

As Scottish Golf continues to encourage shorter formats of the game, each affiliated club is invited to host a 9-hole qualifying event during the early part of the season, with the winning pair from each club earning their place at Milnathort on Friday 15 June.

The event forms part of the qualifying process to find Scotland’s finalists for The R and A’s 9-Hole Championship, where winning pairs from the four Home Nations will savour the chance of a lifetime to tee up at Carnoustie just days before The Open commences.

Kenny Duncan, the Captain at Milnathort, is excited for all connected with the easily accessible, beautiful 9-hole venue near Kinross as they prepare to welcome golfers from all over the country. Indeed, in excess of 50 clubs have already registered to host a qualifier over the first few weeks since the event was announced.

He said: “It’s a great honour for the club and we are really looking forward to the event in June. It’s a terrific feather in the cap for Milnathort and we’re all over the moon.

“We have seen our membership push for more and more 9-hole competitions, as 18 holes can be too time-consuming for a lot of people nowadays, or too tiring for older players. Nine-hole medals are proving very popular for us.”

Duncan says golfers are in for a treat at Milnathort and he continued: “People have a misconception sometimes about 9-hole courses, that they are maybe inferior due to a lack of variety. But Milnathort has a variety of different tees and greens, so it doesn’t just feel like you are playing a 9-hole course.

“Overall, our course offers the perfect mix of challenge and forgiveness for golfers of all ages and abilities. It may be a little shorter than other courses, but it’s tighter, so you have to be careful with club selection.”

Part of the national member benefits package, the Championship is open to golfers of all ages and abilities who are members of clubs possessing a designated 9-hole Standard Scratch Score (SSS). Each affiliated club meeting the criteria – of which there are almost 300 nationwide – is invited to host a 9-hole stableford qualifying event before the end of May.

Eleanor Cannon, Executive Chair of Scottish Golf, welcomed the new event and said: “Scotland has 158 nine-hole courses, while many others have a 9-hole Standard Scratch Score. The new Championship gives us a fantastic platform to showcase what the country has to offer.

“We are keen to encourage the shorter format of the game to give those with time constraints more opportunities to play competitive golf. It’s great to see more and more clubs embrace this and we look forward to welcoming golfers of all ages and abilities to our newest national championship. There is no better incentive than the chance to play in front of the stands at The Open.”

Scotland’s top four pairings from the Milnathort final will join qualifiers from England, Ireland and Wales in front of the iconic stands at Carnoustie on Saturday 14 July.

Entries are now officially open with Scottish clubs encouraged to register their event

The Bard o’ Crieff !!

Today sees the annual celebratory tribute to the life, works and spirit of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). Celebrated on, or about, the Bard’s birthday, January 25th, Burns Suppers are literally held all over the world.  Here in Scotland we are quite rightly proud of our national bard who was undoubtedly one of the great poets with his works admired in all walks of life.  Many people “ have a go” at writing in the style of the great man but not too many combine this unique type of poetry with the game of golf which Scotland gave to the world.  Step forward my life long friend David Murchie who happens to be the Head Golf Pro at Crieff Golf Club in the heart of Perthshire and only a few miles north of Gleneagles. Each year David produces a wee Burns poem for his members and I felt we should give his fun but poignant words a world wide airing hence them appearing in this blog.  I’d also urge anyone coming to Scotland to play golf to add Crieff to your itinerary – it is one of the best examples of golf played inland in the country, has a great history and with David and his team you are assured of an extremely warm welcome.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays – 25th Jan 2018

World Class : The Old Course Hotel, St Andrews

We have always had an excellent relationship with the Old Course Hotel – both on a professional and personal basis.  Yesterday I was delighted to be shown the hotel’s newly upgraded wonderful Spa facility which now boasts 2 x 20m pools, a world class gym and the most amazing treatment rooms not to mention it’s very own Café – with lots of healthy options – but also top range wines and champagnes – well you are there on holiday after all!!  Along with the show round I was also attending a meeting with our colleagues from Visit Scotland to discuss ways we can work together to further develop initiatives to bring even more golfers to Scotland.  Our get together was in one of the excellent meeting rooms which are on the ground floor in what I would describe as the conference wing.  On the way to these rooms one walks along a lengthy and wide corridor which has been most thoughtfully turned into what feels like being in a gallery of golfing history – with old and larger than life images of Old Tom, Harry Vardon and many more of the icons of the game.  They have also added winners boards from various championships such as the Amateur Championship, The Scottish Amateur (can’t believe it’s 40 years since I used to played in this event!) and the Dunhill.  For any golf enthusiast it is well worth spending time in this walk through history.  For our clients staying in the Old Course Hotel make sure to take time to check out this “ walk through history” and for those not staying in the hotel why not stop by for a spot of lunch, dinner or to have a drink in the Road Hole Bar and try one (or more) of the 300 malt whiskies they have to offer. I know yet again this year we will be receiving wonderful feedback from all of our clients who will be enjoying the world class experience of being in the Old Course Hotel.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays – 16th Jan 2018

British Golf Museum in St Andrews

Dear Reader

I have just spent a most enjoyable couple of hours this afternoon in St Andrews in the British Golf Museum.  It had been 3 or 4 years since I had visited and I must say the place just gets better and better as time goes on.  A huge congratulations to the team at the museum – they have absolutely captured the history of our wonderful sport from the 1400s right up to the modern day.  They currently have around 50,000 visitors each year and for anyone with even a passing interest in golf the British Golf Museum is a must see when you come to St Andrews.  It is literally across the road from the R&A Clubhouse and not even a ½ wedge from the 1st tee of the Old Course.  We always recommend to all of our clients who are in St Andrews to visit the museum as it is a fun and informative way to learn about how our sport began and grew and developed to be played all over the world. 

There are wonderful story boards, paintings as well as many cabinets full of old trophies and medals including the Claret Jug and some winners medals from The Open Championship.  I must say two things which captured my imagination today were actual films about first of all The Great Triumvirate and then amazingly footage of one of the most famous speeches ever made in golf.  The Triumvirate – Harry Vardon, J.H. Taylor and James Braid won The Open 16 times between them in the late 1800s and early 1900s – there is an interactive screen in the museum showing real film of each of these legendary golfers hitting shots – hard to believe this film was shot around 110 to 120 years ago.

And if those images did not “get the goose bumps going” then certainly watching and listening to the one and only Bobby Jones give his acceptance speech in 1958 when he was given the Freedom of St Andrews is nothing short if awesome.  I have read many accounts of the speech by a number of well known golf writers but to watch the 5 minute short film of the great man deliver his famous oratory is for any golfer with even a semblance of interest in the history of golf an almost surreal experience.

And to finish off your visit I’d highly recommend going to the Museum’s café which is on the floor above – the view is simply world class – looking onto the first and 18th holes of the Old Course – you also see the green of the Road Hole ( 17th) and on wards to the iconic Old Course Hotel.  You almost have the feeling you are sitting in some kind of famous painting or in the midst of an image featured in a golf magazine!

 

Well done indeed to the R&A and the team who run the British Golf Museum – a must see for all golfers who come to the Home of Golf hoping to create lifelong experiences.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays – Frid 12/1/18

 

The Royal Burgess Golfing Society 

The Royal Burgess Golfing Society is the oldest golf club in the world! Yesterday I was privileged to meet with Society Professional Steven Brian and General Manager Graham Callander. I actually have a lengthy personal history with this most revered of golfing institutions. In 1973 I played in the Scottish Boys stroke play over this lovely parkland golf course (won by Steve Martin with a course record 64 in the last round). Then for a number of years I played for Perth Academy FPs in the “ Queen Elizabeth” which is an FPs school tournament hosted by Royal Burgess each September. The event is played in teams of 6 ( 3 x foursomes) and schools from all over the UK take part – this was a “ major “ in anyone’s language as many former Walker Cup players and internationals took part each year! Then in the early 1990’s I was a member of the club and loved nothing better than to play in some of the club’s annual meetings – the club has some of the oldest medals in the game – many of which are on show in the clubhouse! So to back yesterday to see the amazing refurbishment in the clubhouse was indeed a very special treat. As you can imagine the oldest club in the world has a rich history and being in the clubhouse is a little like moving around the most interesting of golf museums – but also like being in a stylish and traditional country house. One of the club historians Tony Flaherty gave me a private conducted tour – this lasted about an hour but there is so much history I could have talked with Tony all day ! When you learn that Old Tom Morris first laid out the golf course then it was developed further by first Willie Park and then James Braid you realise how the “ Burgess “ has become one of the finest inland – parkland courses in the country! After this look into the history of the club and indeed the game we then had lunch – the club has one of the best dining rooms of any golf club in the UK. And after being looked after so well I was delighted to hear that the club would be happy if we were to send small groups of our clients to enjoy a Royal Burgess Golfing Society experience. This would not simply be a game of golf – this would be a once in a lifetime experience – a private conducted tour of the club to learn about the history of the oldest golf club in the world – your guide may just be wearing a red tailed coat ( 250 years ago this was golfing uniform! ) – after the tour our clients will enjoy a wonderful lunch in the club’s dining room – then onto the golf course to play one of the finest inland courses in the land. What a wonderful way to add to your overall Scottish Golf experience. Thanks to Steve, Graham and Tony for yesterday and we look forward to a select few of our clients coming to the Royal Burgess Golfing Society to experience not just a great golf course but to be shown and feel a little of the rich history of the world’s oldest golf club.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays  – posted 14th Dec 2017

Old Course, St Andrews – Father & Son

I first played the Old Course with my Dad when I was 14 years old in 1971. My great pal Blyth Bell waited a little longer to play there with his Dad – and I was privileged to play with them today along with Blyth’s wife Jeanne. You see Danny Bell is 86 years old and although over the years this member of Forfar Golf Club has played The Old on a number of occasions – but never with his son. Blyth and Jeanne are both past club champions (and past Captains) of Royal Liverpool Golf Club and they are in St Andrews for a few days. Fiona and I joined them for a wonderful dinner in the Road Hole Restaurant at the Old Course Hotel last night and I happened to ask Blyth when he last played The Old with his Dad – “never have done” was the answer. Golf really is the best sport in the world for father & son to play together – and it was a real pleasure to watch to 2 Bells – father and son – walking up the hallowed fairways together today. We had a halved match – Jeanne my partner was spectacular on the back nine – her birdies on the 15th and 16th showed what a class player she is (and has been all of her golfing life)! Over the years since Fiona and I took over Morton Golf Holidays we have been lucky to arrange for a number of Fathers and Sons to play together on the Old Course – and a few Mothers and Daughters too! Today it was wonderful to watch Danny and Blyth teaming up together – the joy between the two was palpable and fantastic to be a part of. Here’s to many more years of Morton Golf Holidays arranging for fathers and sons and mother and daughters being able to enjoy the type of life long memories produced by playing the Old Course together – just like the Bells did today.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays – 29th Nov 2017

 

Fife Golf

Playing golf in Fife is to experience where the game began 600 years ago. The Old Course in St Andrews is simply the world’s most famous place to play golf and it is easy to imagine walking in the footsteps of Old Tom Morris, Alan Robertson, James Braid and so on. But Fife has an array of fantastic golf courses – wonderful old links courses such as the New Course, Jubilee Course, Crail, Lundin Links, Leven Links and Elie and one of the very best new links courses in the world at Kingsbarns.  Fife also has some great heathland and parkland courses such as Ladybank, The Dukes Course, Aberdour, Balbirnie Park and Dunfermline Golf Club (Pitfirrane) and many more. Indeed one of the other courses in Dunfermline (Pitreavie Golf Club) was designed by none other than Dr Alistair McKenzie or Augusta and Royal Melbourne fame.  Fife Golf recently shot an amazing trick shot video to help show off the variety of golf courses in the county – some amazing shots are shown in the short clip – who can tell me all of the golf courses to feature in the film?  First to send me the correct list of courses will receive a History of Scotland golf book. peter@mortongolf.com 

 

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays

 

Craigie Hill Golf Club

For the last 49 years I have loved playing golf at “ The Hill “ – which Craigie Hill Golf Club is affectionately known as throughout Perthshire : http://www.craigiehill.co.uk/course-overview.php

On Saturday past I was delighted to take part in the club’s Prizegiving Texas Scramble. The invitation was from 2 of my greatest golfing buddies – Giddy (Iain) Simpson and Alan BBP Wilson ( Britain’s Best Putter – he was in the final a few years back) – and it was an extra special day for me as my son Sam (who is a PGA assistant golf pro – soon to be qualified) was also invited to make up our team. The photo shows all 4 of the team on the 8th tee at The Hill ( I’m the shadow) on a beautiful sunny day – a little chilly of course – but this was Scotland in November. The Club Captain Athole McDonald and his Board at Craigie Hill are to be congratulated on running a wonderful day as there were 21 teams taking part and it was great to see a full clubhouse after the shotgun round and you could tell everyone was having a great time and clearly spending at the bar – after all what are Saturdays for !! Golf in Scotland as in many other countries has been going through well documented challenges especially with club memberships – but with the energy and skill of the guys currently running things at Craigie Hill I’d like to think the game can turn a corner and see things start to thrive once more in the Home of Golf – maybe the folks at Scottish Golf Ltd should pay a visit to Craigie Hill to see how a golf club should be run! For visitors looking for a game on a golf course with some of the best views in Scotland look no further than Craigie Hill – the scenes from some parts of the golf course are truly amazing. And don’t worry about the hills – they do have buggies for hire at The Hill. And lastly to our team on the day – a resounding thanks for one of the best rounds I can remember in a long time – especially on the greens – 16 single putts is some kind of record for us – sorry to our fellow competitors if they heard too much “ whooping and hollering” but it was hard to contain ourselves as the putts kept dropping.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays – Published on  November 20, 2017

 

Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square Hotel

On Friday last week I attended a trade association meeting in Edinburgh. The venue for the meeting was perhaps a little more poignant for me than for others – you see we were in the former Roxburghe Hotel in the centre of Edinburgh which is where Fiona and I had our wedding reception in 1989 – honestly it seems like yesterday! The hotel was one of Edinburgh’s iconic places to stay or attend a function and I was delighted to see it has now undergone a transformation and complete re-development and is now called the Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square Hotel. From the front of the building which looks onto Charlotte Square it appears to be just like many of the other wonderful Georgian town houses for which Edinburgh’s new town is so famous. However amazingly this is now a very cosmopolitan up market 200 bedroom hotel which quite frankly rivals any of the other top quality hotels in the city. GM Marcello Ventisei showed us round and it was clear how passionate he is about this wonderful hotel – stylish bedrooms, creative and innovative public areas and a spa and pool to be opened in the Spring of 2018. https://www.phcompany.com/principal/edinburgh-charlotte-square/gallery/

We will certainly be using the Principal Charlotte Square for our clients who wish to enjoy all that is great about staying in Edinburgh when they come one of our wonder golfing packages. Coming to Scotland with Morton Golf Holidays is all about creating lasting memories and experiences and by staying in The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square this will certainly get you off to a wonderful start.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays – Published on November 13, 2017

 

North Berwick

Last week our Associate Director Donald McLeod and our great golf buddy Alan Wilson re-lived their youth when the played at North Berwick in an event put on by the club and jointly hosted by the Marine Hotel. A big thank from the lads to Chris Spencer of the host club and to Helen Butler and Jeff Mills from Macdonald Hotels. You see both Donald and Alan played North Berwick in the 1970s when the Scottish Boys Championship was played on that course every year. It really is one of Scotland’s most iconic links courses and as kids we were fortunate indeed to travel to East Lothian to play in the championship. Although none of us won the event playing round such a brilliant course at a young age was a fantastic introduction to us all to links golf – some may say proper golf. North Berwick has a long history of producing great players such as Ben Sayers and hosting amazing events. In addition to the aforementioned Scottish Boys it has seen Final Qualifying for The Open take place over these links on a number of occasions (Trevor Immelman had the lowest score in 2002) and indeed in 2010 it co-hosted The Amateur Championship with Muirfield. Another claim to fame for North Berwick is that their head pro David Huish lead The Open at Carnoustie in 1975 after 2 rounds – imagine a club pro leading the greatest Major in the world today even at any stage in the event. But such was David’s skills on the links there he was ahead of the leading players in the world at the half way stage ( including Nicklaus, Watson, Miller etc). It is also great to see that David’s son Martyn has carried on the family tradition and took over as head pro from Dad a number of years ago. Over the years we have been delighted to send many hundreds of golfers to North Berwick and the reasons are simple – firstly I believe this truly is amongst the very best links courses anywhere in the world and secondly on a regular basis our clients place North Berwick as their favourite course when they have come to Scotland on one of our packages. What is your opinion of North Berwick – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays – Published on November 7, 2017

 

Greywalls Hotel

This week Fiona and I were invited to the most wonderful dinner at Greywalls Hotel which overlooks one of the world’s top golf courses! The dinner was a magnificent affair as it was hosted by the famous wine supplier Justerini & Brooks and we were privileged indeed to have a wine tasting conducted throughout the evening by Emeline Borie whose family owns Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste which is one of the oldest properties in the Medoc. In a previous life I worked in the drinks industry for many years so have attended numerous tastings but I have seldom come across anyone as passionate and knowledgeable about their product as Emiline – of course it did help in a significant way that we were tasting some of the best wines anywhere in the world!! But she gave a wonderful insight to each of the wines so a big thank you to Emeline – she travels the world to spread the word and conduct tastings with her families wonderful wines – as I write this she is now in Mexico for a few days before heading to Bolivia ! A huge thanks also to Greywalls – we have been sending our clients there since we took over Morton Golf Holidays and the way we were looked after by everyone was absolutely top notch – a truly 5 star experience in what has to be one of the very best country house hotels in Britain. Greywalls is unique and was designed by the celebrated Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens as a ‘dignified holiday home’. It was built in 1901 and still retains the charm and character for which it is renowned.

Location does of course help – I took the above photo from our bedroom window – who can tell me which hole this is and on which world famous golf course?

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays – Published on October 31, 2017

 

Scottish Golf Tourism Week at Turnberry

This week I attended the Scottish Golf Tourism Week at Turnberry and you can see from the photo how magnificent the place was looking. This photo was taken from the hotel looking down onto the 18th green of the Ailsa Course and you can see Ailsa Craig in the background on the horizon. The SGTW is a pretty neat way for a buyer such as me to get round a number of potential new trade partners to further enhance the golf packages we offer to our clients. 2018 will see the 30th year of trading for Morton Golf Holidays and it will be the 15th year since Fiona and I took over the business and even at this stage it looks like it is going to be a record year. We were delighted to be made an “ Authorised Provider” of Old Course packages by the St Andrews Links Trust back in March this year which is wonderful news as this gives us an even greater opportunity to guarantee our clients will play the Old Course. By being able to add iconic courses such as Turnberry Ailsa, Royal Troon, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, Gleneagles, Royal Dornoch and Castle Stuart and many more to our itineraries it is little wonder that Morton Golf Holidays business is going from strength to strength each year. We look forward to hearing from you very soon and we can guarantee you and your group will have a memorable golf trip to Scotland.

Peter Craigon, MD, Morton Golf Holidays – Published on October 27, 2017

 

 

 

Carnoustie Golf Club – I was privileged yesterday to be give a conducted tour of the new Heritage Wall and exhibition by Captain Bill Thompson. As well as Bill’s expert tour we were also joined by Donald Ford who has just written a fantastic book about the history of this unique golf club..read more

 

“Why learning as a youngster is so important to the future of golf”
How many of the readers have played at Auchterarder Golf Club? I would bet most of you have played at Gleneagles – but perhaps not it’s older cousin. In fact Auchterarder GC pre-dates the 2 original courses at Gleneagles by nearly 30 years. I was proud to have been a member at Auchterarder for around 3 decades having learned to play golf there when it was still a wee 9 hole course back in the 1960s. In those days the junior subscription for a year was 10 shillings (50p in today’s money) and the Gents annual fee was £4 2s 6d – which is around the price of a pint these days. We were incredibly lucky as junior golfers ..read more..

Portugal – March 2017 – by Peter Craigon, Morton Golf Holidays 

Fiona and I have just returned from the type of high end and top class service holiday which we have been supplying for our clients for the last 13 years.  The difference with this trip was that it was in Portugal rather than the wondrous experiences our clients have when they come to Scotland or Ireland ( or England or Wales )!

As we have such an extensive and yet loyal client base which has been built up over years of providing top class service we are often asked which other destinations we do. So it was not too onerous a task to arrange the type of high end trip for ourselves we normally deliver to our clients. And I must say..read more

 

Scotscraig Golf Club – 200 years old this year!

One of the truly great Scottish golf courses Scotscraig is steeped in history and this year it is celebrating its 200th anniversary.

Today I was delighted to play at Scotscraig with in their annual..read more..

 

Gullane No 1 Course is one of the best links courses in the world

and yesterday I was delighted to play it as a guest of long time member and champion Lindsay Gordon.  Lindsay was partnered by another member of over 10 years standing, Alastair Taylor whilst my partner was my life-long golfing buddy and friend Iain (Giddy) Simpson who is ..read more..

The Renaissance Club, East Lothian, Scotland

I was lucky enough yesterday to spend a day at the Renaissance Club which is a wonderful Tom Doak designed links course just over the fence from Muirfield..read more..

Prestwick – Should be on everyone’s MUST play list

Everything about the place just oozes “class“ – from the history of the golf course and the clubhouse to the wonderful welcome you will receive when you play there it really is one of the best places in the world to play golf..read more..

Castle Stuart Golf Links – It is a MUST play when you visit Scotland

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of spending a couple of days at Castle Stuart on an early season mini-tour with 3 of my great golfing buddies..read more..

Peter Craigon from Caddie to Golf Tour Operator

Peter Craigon the owner of the long established golf tour operator Morton Golf Holidays attended the SIGTOA meeting at Gleneagles today.  Every time he visits Gleneagles whether to see clients, have meetings with the management team or occasionally to play he is reminded of when he was a caddie there in the 1970s.  “ That was a great time in my life read more..

Remember, light and shadow never stand still

I’d be lying if I said I turned up to work this morning with quaffed hair, a groomed beard, a pair of high tops and skinny jeans, but we’re aware in business that we have to move with the times. In the fashion stakes, I might not be 2016, but I firmly believe that the key to business is not standing still. read more..

The Best Customer Service

It’s quite a statement, but should we all vie for it or should it simply be expected?

Perhaps it’s because we are at the PGA Show in Orlando this week, but the USA (North America) does a lot of customer service right! Some might argue it’s forced, others might say it’s for tips,whilst we would say it doesn’t matter it makes for a great customer experience. read more..

My 10 best golf books for Christmas

This is a short pre-Christmas blog to help you choose a last-minute gift for Christmas. I am proud to admit that I am a golf book expert, having read over 600 read more..

The Solheim Cup comes to Scotland

So, there were 10 possible venues in the first instance. Then, it became a straight fight between Bro Hof Slott in Sweden and our own beloved Gleneagles in Perthshire. And, as you will probably know, the Solheim Cup will come to Scotland in 2019. read more..

Golf numbers into Scotland are taking off!

Here at Morton Golf we promote the best golf in the world, whether it is Scotland, Ireland, England or Wales. We are in the fortunate position that golfers want to visit the UK and Ireland. read more..

 

 

 

Morton Golf Holidays has been in business since 1989. The business has grown year on year by recommendations, repeat business and building on the reputation of providing memorable golfing holidays for clients. At all times clients are dealt with on a personal and professional basis ensuring they achieve their dream golfing holiday.