Hi I'm planning a weeklong golfing trip to Scotland for the first time and wanted to ask you helpful experts for advice. I've looked at some other threads, but I feel like I'm at more of a basic stage. I'm tempted to go with a vacation package, but on reading that it's easy to plan yourself I'm hoping maybe I can do that for a better experience.
It will just be me and one other friend. We're planning on going either the second-to-last week or more likely the last week in August. We are both in the low 20's on handicap and are happy pairing with others.
I've done a little research, but here are some questions to start off:
1) Let's say we arrive on a Saturday and leave the following Sunday. That gives us seven non-travel days to golf. Is it realistic to try and play seven different courses in seven days?
2) We'd like to play all of the finest courses we can get on. I've got a preliminary list of St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Muirfield (is this private?), Inverness, Royal Dornoch, Turnberry and Royal Troon. Are there any others you would add?
3) It seems like the courses are clustered in three areas: just east of Edinburgh (e.g. St. Andrews), further away and southwest of Edinburgh (e.g. Royal Troon) and way up in the highlands (e.g. Royal Dornoch). Is it realistic to hit all three of these areas in that time period or should we focus on two? Which two? Or even one?
4) Is there any good method of transportation other than renting a car (which I'd rather not do since we're American and not used to driving on the left)? Should we hire a driver? Public transport?
5) Can you generally stay at the golf courses or is it better to find other hotels in the area?
I think that's all I have for now. I'm sure I'll have follow up questions. Thanks for any tips!!