Great Places to Stay
- Golf at Gleneagles
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"If Heaven is as good as this, I sure hope they have some tee times left"So important was the design of the Golf Course at Gleneagles in Matheson's dream-plan for the resort, that the King's and Queen's courses opened in 1919, five years before the hotel itself was complete. They were designed by five-times British Open winner and leading course architect of his day, James Braid, who had quite a challenge to integrate the greens within the contours of the natural landscape, the woodland, lochs, streams and a rich habitat for wildlife which had to be preserved. These two courses have been enjoyed by the very greatest international golfers and their testament to such a beautiful setting lives on over the years. Each hole is imaginatively named reflecting the setting and often its grading. Number 4 on the King's Course, The Silver Tassie, refers to the hollow beside the silver birches that surround the green. The 7th hole is Kittle Kink meaning Tricky Bend and this green with a downward slope is dominated by a high ridge, causing a few headaches for the uninitiated player.
"I have played on all the finest courses in all the finest golf resorts and this is the number one spot in the world."
The 13th hole on the Queen's Course is called Water Kelpie, as the Loch-an-Eerie follows the right side of the green while the 14th hole around the loch (and illustrated here) is called the Witches' Bowster (Witches' bolster or pillow). A picturesque spot indeed, but a daunting one for the player trying to aim in the other direction. The Hinny Mune at no 17, meaning Beautiful Moon or Honeymoon, is a long thin green and described as a very tough shot.
By the 1990s, with two very popular courses for a growing number of enthusiastic golfers it was decided to create a third course. The design was offered to Jack Nicklaus, the greatest player of his generation and five times the winner of the Open Championship. The new Monarch's Course has wide fairways and deemed to be more suitable for the less-experienced with five tees per hole, to offer variety and flexibility for every handicap. Amusingly the 4th hole on the Monarchs is called Gowden Beastie, or Golden Bear, referring to a nickname for Jack Nicklaus.
At Gleneagles golfing beginners and children are not forgotten with the charming 9 hole Wee Course offering an excellent training ground and the Golf Academy offers swing lessons and tuition courses for every age and standard.
Many other rural sports are available within the resort including horse-riding, croquet, tennis, squash, archery, falconry, off-road driving, clay target shooting at the Jackie Stewart Shooting school, and fly fishing on the hotel lochs.
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