Daydreaming About Golf Travels to Come

Often these days I find myself daydreaming about a return visit to St. Andrews. Then there’s England’s Golf Coast, the Okanagan Valley’s Predator Ridge Resort, Cape Breton’s Cabot Links and so many more trips I can’t wait to take again in 2013.


Fairmont St Andrews, Scotland (Image: Fairmont St. Andrews)

St Andrews, Scotland: the stuff of a golfer’s daydreams. (Image: Fairmont St. Andrews)

Often these days I find myself daydreaming about a return visit to St. Andrews, the birthplace of the game and sacred ground for every golfer. In my mind’s eye I can see the Auld Grey Toon’s starkly beautiful tumble of sandstone buildings blackened with age and the cathedral spires that thrust like medieval pikes into the sky.

But most of all I imagine myself nervously teeing off on the opening hole of the Old Course, an awe-inspiring experience that never grows old, no matter how many times you’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy it.

That’s number one on my golf travel wish list for 2013. Maybe it’s a sign of my advancing years, but most of my golf fantasies revolve around return visits to favourite old haunts.

Still, I’m as susceptible as the next golfer to the siren’s call of new courses and destinations. While in Scotland next summer, I’ll definitely make the journey north to the Aberdeen area to check out Trump International Golf Links. The controversial $1-billion project financed by Donald Trump has received mostly rave reviews, even from prickly Scottish journalists who have no love for the Donald. I can’t wait to have a look for myself.

While across the pond, I’d also like to revisit the fabulous stretch of prime linksland marketed as England’s Golf Coast. From Cumbria in the north to Chester in the south, England’s Irish Sea coastline is so thick with outstanding courses that golfers can almost walk from one to the next. Choose from more than 200 courses, including the coast’s trio of officially designated Royal layouts — Royal Liverpool, Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham & St. Annes, which together have hosted more than 30 Open Championships and are open for public play.

After visits to Scotland and England, I hope to spend a good part of the summer travelling in Canada. If possible, I’ll get out to Cape Breton for another look at Cabot Links, Canada’s only true links and just one of five in North America. Rod Whitman’s brilliant design has been a tremendous shot in the arm for golf in Cape Breton and Canada.

On the other side of the country, I’m looking forward to a return visit to the Okanagan Valley’s Predator Ridge Resort for another go-round on The Ridge, a sensational Doug Carrick design that, like Cabot Links, should be on the must-play list of every Canadian golfer.

And between golf and touring vineyards throughout the valley, I’ll check in on the progress of the Greg Norman Ponderosa Golf Course, the centerpiece of an upscale planned community in the town of Peachland, 25 kilometres south of Kelowna. Like Carrick’s The Ridge before it, Norman’s course is sure to grab the spotlight when it officially opens in 2014.

Let my travels — and the fun — begin.