Women & Golf's Editor Alison Root’s feet hardly touched the ground at Scotland’s Gleneagles Hotel, and she still didn’t have enough time to experience all the activities. Find out what she got up to...
The countdown is on for the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles next September and what a spectacular venue this will be for Europe’s showdown with the USA, just like it was for the recent European Golf Team Championships and the Ryder Cup match in 2014.
The Gleneagles resort nestles in Auchterarder, near Perth and Stirling, and is renowned as a golfing paradise with its three championship courses that surround the iconic hotel and perfectly manicured gardens, but this 850-acre estate should never be branded solely as a golf resort.
In 2015, when Ennismore took ownership of this Scottish landmark, a multi-million pound investment was made to refurbish and enhance specific areas of the property and coupled with the already excellent quality of service and the array of pursuits, it lifts its offering to another level.
But the good news is that today’s Gleneagles has retained its palatial charm and grandiose ambience, albeit with a subtle modern twist, that first attracted high society when it opened in 1924.
Kilted doormen welcome guests into the luxurious surroundings where there’s no stuffiness, in fact it’s the complete opposite to what you might anticipate, with a laid-back family-friendly (and dog- friendly) atmosphere. All 232 bedrooms including 27 suites are plush with elegant furnishings and modern amenities. Nothing has been left to chance.
Indeed, golf will always be at the heart of Gleneagles. The two original golf courses designed by James Braid - the King’s and Queen’s - date back to 1919, whilst the third course that was created by Jack Nicklaus and originally called the Monarch’s, was remodelled and renamed The PGA Centenary Course in 2001 to celebrate the centenary year of The Professional Golfer’s Association.
It’s not often that I remember the 1st hole of every course I play, but the par-4 1st of the King’s Course is one that stays in my memory bank. Standing on the 1st tee, you can marvel at the wonderful vista whilst contemplating an inviting drive to a wide fairway that ascends to a steep hilltop green. From this moment on, each hole is not overlooked by another and they blend perfectly with the landscape, rising and falling over springy moorland turf with dramatic views of the Ochil Hills and peaks of the Trossachs and Ben Vorlich. If you understand Scottish pithy, the name of each hole gives a clue to its difficulty.