On this Old Masters cruise, the golfers on board have an opportunity to play golf at up to six of the world’s most famous golf links, including three of the nine courses in The Open Championship rotation, Turnberry, Royal Troon and Royal Portrush, where The Open Championship was played for the only time outside of Scotland or England.
You will also be able to enjoy rounds at up to three other classics, Machrihanish, Machrihanish Dunes and the Machrie on Islay with its claim to fame of hosting its own ‘Open Championship’ of 1901 with the highest prize of any Open competition at that time of £100.
These courses have stood the test of time, and are consistently ranked in the top 100 in the world year after year. It is sure to be a golfers dream to take on the challenge of The Old Masters.
The Royal Scottish Shipping Line’s easy access to these otherwise hard-to-reach links means you can play this impressive range of courses without the hassles of packing, unpacking and changing hotels, and retire in the evening after a daunting yet exhilarating round of golf with a wee dram or two in our stunning Whisky Viewing Room as our luxury super yacht acts as your chariot to the next stunning course.
Golf and touring passengers alike are bound for a memorable journey, for this is sure to appeal to not just golfers, with visits to stunning destinations like the Giants Causeway in Antrim. Regardless of how much golf your perfect vacation includes, we have daily tours available that delight and enrich your senses. Whether you play world-renowned courses, or go exploring ancient villages with our experienced guides, shopping on your own or watching the best in the world compete, you will savour each day.
Along this cruise we are happy to arrange a distillery visit for those who wish!
Passing places, anchorages and ports
With two spectacular courses, Royal Troon is a must for any golf enthusiast. Lying at the end of a gorgeous stretch of Ayrshire coastline, golf has been played here long before the club was founded in 1878. Awarded Royal status in its centennial year of 1978, it has hosted the Open Championship 8 times and will host it again this year. The Old Course is thought to be one of the greatest in Scotland and with a mixture of the wind and terrain – it is a challenging one. Take time to reminisce in the history of players past who have found glory here and take your chances on the famous “Postage Stamp” hole surely your best chance for a hole in one on a Championship course! The alternate course – The Portland Course was originally designed by William Fernie who won the Open in 1883 before being redesigned in the 1920’s by Dr Alister MacKensie. Slightly more forgiving than The Old Course, the Portland Course takes you through sheltered holes on a slightly shorter course.
Possibly the most scenic of the Open Championship golf courses, the Ailsa course offers not just a challenging round but spectacular views across to the Isle of Arran and the Mull of Kintryre. The course was commissioned by the third Marquess of Ailsa and designed by Willie Fernie. The course was requisitioned as an air base during the Second World War and a number of holes were flattened. and turned to runways. Philip Mackenzie Ross was given the mammoth task of restoring the course and was rewarded for his efforts when the course was granted its first Open Championship in 1977. It was here that Stewart Cink edged out Tom Watson in the thrilling 2009 open championship playoff.
The Kintyre course also had to be rebuilt by MacKenzie Ross and was later redesigned by Donald Steel and has some incredible fairways and ocean holes. Both courses offer amazing views and some fantastic greens for you to really challenge your skill.
Perhaps a welcome break to ease tired muscles as we sail in luxury across to Northern Ireland and the majestic Royal Portrush. Designed by H. S. Colt, the Dunluce links at Royal Portrush Golf Club is the only course outside of Scotland and England to host the Open Championship, and it will do so again in 2019. Harry Colt considered the course to be his masterpiece and not a single hole fails to impress. Calamity Corner, the 14th hole, is recognised as one of the world’s most treacherous par threes, with its green perched on the edge of a precipice.
For the non-golfer’s highlights include the Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle, two marvels of the Antrim coast. Our ﬁrst stop is at the Giant’s Causeway, a phenomenal natural rock formation often referred to as the “eighth wonder of the world.” Further down the road lies Dunluce castle, precariously situated on a cliff overlooking the sea.
Named after the famous Scottish machair, Machrie is set in the beautiful dunes on the Isle of Islay also well known for its rich and peaty whisky. Designed by Willie Campbell, he stood on the edge of the sand dunes overlooking Laggan Bay and said “this place was made for Gowf”. It is said that to play The Machrie is to walk in the footsteps of the golfing gods and to play it twice is to fall in love!
As we cross the sea keep an eye out for dolphins and porpoises who thrill as they race alongside and under the ship’s bow. Though rare, you might catch a glimpse of several species of whales that frequent these waters including killer whales, minke whales and sperm whales.
Machrihanish is home to a world class, stunning beach, though it will always be more famous for its golf courses. The original course was built by Old Tom Morris who is famed not just for designing courses but playing golf as well. Having come second in the very first Open Championship in 1860, he then won the following year and to date he holds the record as being the oldest winner of The Open Championship at the age of 46 in 1867. He also held the record for the largest margin of victory in a major of 14 strokes in 1862 until this was beaten by Tiger Woods in the 2000 US Open. The world famous links course of Machrihanish is recognised as having one the best opening holes in the world, as you tee off with your opening shot to carry out to the Atlantic.
Nearby is newer Machrihanish Dunes club – built 130 years after Tom Morris designed the first course. This Championship course allows you to play golf in its oldest and purist form on the constantly changing linksland. Flowing along the sea, the course is the only one to be built on a Site of Special Scientific Interest over 259 acres with incredibly, only seven acres being disturbed during construction.
Machrihanish was a military base for the USA and is now community owned, like most places we visit a distillery is never very far away for those who prefer to visit.
Returning to the Clyde we set for home and disembarkation at Greenock.