Good Times in Scotland On The PGA Magazine Ambassador Trip
An elegant event wearing kilts and Scottish regalia, a farewell dinner in Edinburgh at Tigerlilly on George Street, a whiskey tasting in St Andrews and sharing a pint at the Jigger Inn are just a few of the highlights of a recent PGA Magazine Ambassadors Program trip to Scotland.
The Sunday to Friday itinerary included playing golf at all three Gleneagles courses (Queens, Kings and PGA), Castle Stuart, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns with accommodations at Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Macdonald Rusacks in St Andrews and Macdonald Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh.
“It was an exceptional week because we played some of the best courses in Scotland and enjoyed a wide variety of off-the-course experiences,” Willerton says. “You really build great relationships on golf trips because you spend lots of time together playing golf, riding to and from the golf courses, enjoying dinners and celebrating your good fortune at the pubs.”
Willerton says “Kilt Night” was one of the funnest nights he’s ever had while traveling around the world to play golf.
(L-R) David Blackadder (Gleneagles); Tim Willerton (Premier Golf); Frank Mattei (Bonnie Briar CC); Ryan Coll (Columbus CC); Gary Silcocock (Gleneagles); Dave Kuykendall (Greystone Golf & CC); Stephen Doyle (Vesper CC); Sean Farren (The Creek); A.J. Jowett (Gleneagles); Dan Waters (Bob O’Link GC); Ryan Gingrow (PGA Magazine); David Grossman (Gibson Island Club)
“When we returned to our rooms after a day of golf, to our surprise, we all had kilt outfits hanging in our rooms,” Willerton says. “Quite honestly, at first, not everybody was thrilled about our wardrobe for the evening. Then, once we all got dressed up and started taking pictures, everybody really got into it. Let’s just say, it was a great bonding experience and we shared lots of laughs in those kilts throughout the evening. I definitely recommend it for PGA professionals when they bring groups to Scotland.”
Willerton says golf trips are much more than just fulfilling the dream to play world-renowned golf courses.
“When you’re on a golf trip to Scotland or Ireland, it’s the great times you spend together at pubs talking about your round or on bus trips between courses where you really bond and develop great relationships,” Willerton says. “It’s fascinating because later you’ll remember these moments just as much as the birdies on the course.”
One of Willerton’s favorite bonding experiences was a clay target shooting competition at the shooting range at the Gleneagles Shooting School.
“We formed three teams of three and it was just so much fun competing in a different kind of sport at a world class facility,” he says.
Beyond its three championship golf courses, Gleneagles has a wide range of recreational pursuits including tennis, horseback riding, cycling, off-road driving, archery, fishing, canoeing, tree climbing, lawn croquet and jogging trails.
Willerton says the quality of the hotels enhanced the entire experience. He sighted the inspiring views the group had from their hotels rooms. At the Macdonald Rusacks, set along the 18th fairway at the Old Course, the world’s most famous course was just steps away from the front door and the rooms at Gleneagles afforded panoramas of the rolling hills of Perthshire.
“We had great weather for October and it only rained once while playing golf,” he says. “Everything worked to perfection on this trip and I hope more pros and their members choose to experience this wonderful way to get to know each other better and enjoy great times they’ll remember the rest of their lives.”