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The Swilken Bridge

Scotland and Ireland are Ready to Receive You with 100,000 Welcomes

August 20, 2020

Scotland and Ireland are two of the most popular destinations on the planet to play golf.

Arguably, no two countries are trying harder to follow protocols and social distancing guidelines to return to a sense of normalcy.

Golf is a way of life in Scotland and Ireland and they love and value the American golfers who relish playing their world renowned courses. They want Americans teeing up as soon as possible and excitement and anticipation abounds there for play in 2021.

With the travel uncertainty, golfers who love to travel, understandably, have a slew of questions and concerns.

Two experienced experts who can provide answers and valuable insight are Premier Golf’s on-site representatives who call Scotland and Ireland home.

Euan Findlay, Director of European Operations, resides in St Andrews, Scotland

We asked them important questions we’ve received from interested travelers in the past few weeks. Here are Euan and Alison’s responses:

What is the situation with tee times as many 2020 trips have been moved to 2021?

EUAN: As with many other companies and direct clients we have moved over 90% of our groups that were booked in 2020 to 2021. This means that 2021 is already a busy season, and some courses are close to capacity, St Andrews Old Course and Muirfield being the main two. However, other in-demand courses have managed to release extra times from members inventory to give more access, Muirfield, Troon and Carnoustie are among those. On top of that, with the Open Championship at St Andrews being pushed back a year to 2022, there will still be opportunities to book and travel in 2021. The Highlands, North East (around Aberdeen), West Coast still have plenty of space as does the area around St Andrews. There will be more ballot times available due to the postponement of the Open and with the opening of the fantastic new links at Dumbarnie, there is great golf to be played.

ALISON: Some of the more popular courses such as Old Head, Royal County Down and Royal Portrush are almost full already, some are opening up additional member tee times for visitor use because of the demand and the movement of the majority of 2020 bookings to 2021. There is still availability at certain times (late April, early May, late August, late September and early October 2021). There are also some wonderful, less visited courses in the Northwest of Ireland that I would recommend prospective travelers look at for a 2021 trip such as Carne Golf Links, Galway Bay and Connemara.

What will my trip to Scotland or Ireland be like in 2021?

EUAN: It’s not clear what 2021 will hold, but everyone within the golf travel industry feels sure the travel landscape by 2021 will be much closer to normal. There may still be requirements for social distancing within some restaurants and pubs, but that will hopefully be limited and perhaps not even necessary.

ALISON: We will have settled into a positive new normal in 2021 with all shops, pubs, restaurants and activities fully operational with some social distancing/mask requirements still in place. Ireland is ready and waiting to extend our famous “Céad Míle Fáilte” (a hundred thousand welcomes) to our overseas visitors.

What is the current outlook in Ireland and Scotland?

EUAN: Scotland is looking good. We were very strict during our lockdown and diligent with our monitoring and social distancing behaviors.

ALISON: Ireland has done very well and we have been opening up our economy in a steady and managed way so we are confident that we will be a very safe country to visit going forward.

What is your best advice for golfers considering traveling this fall and beyond?

EUAN: Scotland is currently open for golf business predominantly with local UK and Irish vacationers. More realistically, it will be 2021 before U.S. travelers arrive here; but when they do, rest assured, that all required safety measures will be in place to ensure they have an all-round great experience.

ALISON: We want everyone to have a great trip to Ireland. There may be some guidelines to keep us all safe, but we want to assure those visiting Ireland in 2021 will receive a very warm welcome! I think the west of Ireland with its wide open spaces and natural social distancing will be a great destination. I suggest using Shannon Airport where possible– it’s small, safe and you can be off the plane and on a golf course within an hour.


Ireland and Scotland are open for business and the Irish and English are vacationing with a frenzy in their own countries. Golf courses, grocery stores, clothing stores, restaurants, pubs that serve food, hair salons and some tourist sites are open. Hotels, restaurants and the like have instituted comprehensive sanitization and social distancing procedures. It appears the two countries are primed and ready to welcome Americans, especially those who love to play golf.