Is it realistic to combine an Ireland and Scotland golf trip or golf and sightseeing vacation and still get to all the courses on your play list? We are often asked to put together golf itineraries that feature a selection of the best courses in each country. Over the years we have had golfing groups staying at St. Andrews for three or four nights playing the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie before moving to Edinburgh for a couple of nights playing Muirfield and Gullane. There is good connectivity between Edinburgh and Dublin with the flight taking about one hour. The decision in Dublin is whether to stay in a city centre hotel close to nightlife or in Portmarnock or Malahide north of the city and conveniently located to the golf courses at Portmarnock, The Island and County Louth. Malahide is a great seaside town with good restaurants and bars as well as being home to one of Ireland's most famous castles.
Another approach is to combine the west coast of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Scottish west coast is dotted with iconic golf courses such as Royal Troon (Open venue in 2016), Turnberry, Prestwick as well as gems like Western Gailes and Machrihanish. Dundonald Links is an exciting addition, as it hosts both the Mens and Ladies Scottish Golf Opens in 2017.
Your itinerary can be set up to include a short ferry crossing across the Irish sea or fly from Scotland to Belfast. The must play courses in Northern Ireland are Royal County Down ( Golf Digest ranked world #1), Royal Portrush ( The Open venue 2019), and Portstewart (Irish Open venue 2017). Ardglass and Castlerock are also worthy of inclusion on your Northern Ireland golf itinerary.
Ideally you would play four or five rounds in Ireland and Scotland. Depending on the trip duration a combined Ireland and Scotland golf trip can be a unique experience offering the best of two of the world's greatest golfing destinations. Irish and Scottish golf courses are simply stunning. Surely, an Ireland Scotland golf vacation is up there with the best!