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Gleneagles

Gleneagles is located in a gorgeous part of Scotland, right about where the highlands begin around an hour from Edinburgh, ninety minutes from Glasgow. An easy ride eon the motorway from the airports.

The place sports a luxury hotel, houses for rent, magnificent sports club, the Jackie Stewart School of shooting, and equestrian sports as well. Plus three really cool golf courses!

Here’s a link to the main home page: https://www.gleneagles.com/hotel/.

I was raised in a town not more than 20 minutes away. Now in those days, the hotel was owned by British Rail, a very different proposition compared to today’s luxurious building. In fact, I am pretty sure they closed for most of the year. The history goes back to around the end of the first great war, and ownership changed hands a couple of times in recent years.

The PGA Centenary Course hosted the 2014 Ryder Cup. It was built under Jack’s supervision. Here’s the blurb from the website: Even for a champion and acclaimed golf architect like Nicklaus, The PGA Centenary Course was a challenge. It had to be a truly great golf course, set as it is in the heart of Scotland, the country that gave the world golf. Thankfully Nicklaus described the course as "the finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with".

It had to be unique in its challenge, a golf course in the modern design ethos that at its fullest stretch tests the greatest players, while, in the immortal phrase of Bobby Jones, "offering problems a man may attempt according to his ability... never hopeless for the lesser player nor failing to concern and interest the expert".

The tees are graded at each hole in five stages, including a challenging 6,815 yards from the white markers down to 5,322 from the red. Fittingly, The PGA Centenary Course begins by playing southeast towards the glen, sweeping up the Ochil Hills to the summit of the pass below Ben Shee which joins it to Glendevon. 

A feature of The PGA Centenary Course is the feast of views of the spectacular countryside in which Gleneagles is set. Putting on the two-tier second green, you are distracted by the lush panorama of the rich Perthshire straths. As you move westwards over the next few holes, the rugged Grampians come into view on the right, then distantly purple ahead, Ben Vorlich and the mountains above the Trossachs. 

What you will find is that everyone who plays it describes it as a “real American Course” as opposed to a Scottish Golf Course. It’s still pretty good! The other two courses are the Par 3 Queens and the main attraction, The Kings Course: The King's Course, opened in 1919, is a masterpiece of golf course design, which has tested the aristocracy of golf, both professional and amateur. James Braid's plan for the King's Course was to test even the best players' shot-making skills over the eighteen holes. You find out all about it with your first approach shot. If you have driven straight and long from the tee, you will have what looks like a simple pitch to the elevated green. But you must be sure to select the correct club, because the shot is always a little longer than you think, with the wind over the putting surface often stronger than you can feel it from the fairway.

And if you do not make the severely sloping green, a bunker yawns twenty feet below. Selecting the right club for each approach shot is the secret on the King's. It is certainly one of the most beautiful and exhilarating places to play golf in the world, with the springy moorland turf underfoot, the sweeping views from the tees all around, the rock-faced mountains to the north, the green hills to the south, and the peaks of the Trossachs and Ben Vorlich on the western horizon. Readers of Celebrated Living, the luxury magazine for American Airlines, voted the King's Course 6th in their Platinum list of International Golf Courses. 

All the holes have evocative and pithy Scots names. For example, the fifth, "Het Girdle" (Hot Pan), is a challenging par 3 with trouble everywhere except on the green, while 17th's name, "Warslin' Lea" (Wrestling Ground), reflects the difficulty so many golfers have had with this long, sweeping par 4.

You have to play Gleneagles if you are coming to play Golf in Scotland.

I first went there on business, playing with two partners and friends who advised the Fund i was working at at that time. Tony F, the mad keen Evertonian remains a close friend to this day. Many years later I returned to another conference to speak about emerging markets. One of my first speaking engagements and terrifying. We met several really great people at that conference, including Jim M ex Pfizer. here’s a pic of my wife as we were heading out to an evening ball:

 Pretty cute huh?

Pretty cute huh?


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