5 Tips To Prepare For Scotland Golf Trip

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Last year I shared how we planned for the ultimate airline AAward trip to where the game of golf began. Since then a lot of pre-planning (and practice) has been done to make the trip a success. We’ll try to share a few tips we’ve learned along the way. Feel free to share your tips in the comment section.

1. Check Your Airline Tickets

Make sure you check the status of your ticket. Schedules and airline equipment can change. You don’t want to show up at the airport on your day of departure to find out your ticket has changed. As an example, British Airways cancelled a flight and American Airlines booked us on a completely different day because the same day British Airways flight didn’t have availability. A quick call to American Airlines and seats were opened up on the same day British Airways flight.

2. Bring Passport, Global Entry And USGA Handicap Cards

It sounds simple, but check your passport to make sure it is valid for the duration of your trip plus at least 6 months. A now famous member of our family arrived at the airport one day only to realize their passport expired in 1 month! The entire trip had to be cancelled. We should have known better because this is the same person who showed up to a New Years Eve party without an ID!

Don’t forget your Global Entry card for quick arrival through customs on your way back.

Make sure you have a valid USGA Handicap Index card. Most if not all courses require it. They are easy to obtain even if you are not a member at a course. US Handicap is just one service that provides online Handicap Index cards.

3. Pack Your Gear

Make sure your shoes have all their spikes. It can be windy and rainy on the Scotland golf links. Pack your clubs in a secure travel bag. I prefer a soft travel bag because it can be folded up upon arrival. If you go with the hard cover bag, just know that it will take up space in your vehicle for the entire trip.

  • Tip: Wrap your woods in a towel to ensure they don’t get dinged on the flight over.

4. Mark Your Golf Balls

Most pros do this because everyone is playing with similar golf balls. Think of your mark, grab a sharpie and go to town marking up your golf balls. Just don’t paint them, a simple dot, initial or mark will do. One famous pro, gives his children a sharpie and has them scribble on his golf balls. I use a simple initial and year.

Scotland Preparation

5. Practice Your Golf Game & Single Barrel Game

Don’t show up rusty. Practice your game well in advance of arriving to Scotland. You don’t want to show up to the course looking for a swing.

Equally important is to practice your single barrel game. Scotland has the best single barrel Scotch. Don’t get caught flat footed. Practice at home, at the bar, or your favorite restaurant. Know what you like before you get there and be willing to try new kinds as well.

Bottom Line

Three award tickets on American Airlines, 337,500 American Airlines miles. A chance to visit a few of the best golf courses in the world to see where golf began, priceless.

What other tips do you think or have found useful for a golf trip to Scotland?

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  1. Hi Rick – We are playing Carnoustie too. In addition, we’ll play Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham & St Annes, and of course the Old Course at St Andrews. Can’t wait.

  2. If you rent a car and have time to drive notth, another great course worth playing is Royal Dornoch. Also, I believe St. Andrews releases have its tee times in a daily drawing. We went over with no reservation, placed our name in the drawing the night before and had the first tee time for the next morning.

  3. Do they really stop you if you do not have a handicap. I’m between a scratch and +4, will they really stop me? I was considering doing a last minute trip when flights open up this summer or fall.

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