6 golf courses to get you started on your UK golf tour

The UK is home to some of the world's most prestigious and challenging golf courses. From Scotland, the home of golf, to Northern Ireland, Wales and England, the nation has no shortage of exciting golf courses that will have you feeling like Rory McIlroy in no time.

Golf tours present a great opportunity to explore and enjoy these golf courses - and their excellent club houses. A golf tour of the UK also presents the opportunity to take in many famous sights, as well as some of the beautiful UK countryside. All you need is to gather a group of friends, plot a map of where you want to go, hire a car and you're good to go.

Sharp Guy, in conjunction with Autoeurope.co.uk has put together a shortlist of golf courses to get you started on your golfing road trip of he UK. We suggest making you way to Aberdeen and working your way down from there.   

Day 1: The Royal Aberdeen Golf Course

The Royal Aberdeen Golf Course

After landing and picking up your hire car at Aberdeen Airport, the golfing can start pretty much straight away, as it's just a short drive from the airport to the Royal Aberdeen Golf Course, which is the sixth oldest in the world, having been founded in 1780.

Situated on the edge of the North Sea with breathtaking views across the ocean, the Royal Aberdeen Golf Course is a highly prestigious club, having hosted major championship tournaments including the Scottish Open, Walker Cup and Senior British Open in the past. It was awarded its royal status in 1903 by King Edward VII.

There are two main courses to try out at the Royal Aberdeen Golf Course: the Silverburn, which provides a standard 18-hole game surrounded by beautiful parkland, and the more challenging Balgownie, designed for the more experienced golfer amid a slightly wilder landscape.

Its coastal location does make the wind slightly unpredictable, but wrap up warm and you'll have a blast playing the course's 18 holes. Of course, you'll be able to warm yourself through with a Scotch or two in the clubhouse afterwards as well - where better to enjoy a whiskey than in Scotland?

Day 2: St Andrews Golf Club

St Andrews Golf Club

Scotland is regarded as one of the best golfing destinations in the world, so after spending the night in Aberdeen, drive to Fife, where you'll find the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, which dates back to 1754.

As one of the oldest golf clubs in the world, it is often referred to as 'the home of golf', with the nearby British Golf Museum reflecting this, allowing you to learn more about the history of the sport.

But back to the golf course; tournaments to have been held here include the Open, the Walker Cup, the Senior British Open and, of course, the St Andrews Trophy.

The clubhouse here is also very impressive. You will need to pay a fee to use it, but it makes for the perfect setting to unwind after a day on the course, thanks to its excellent selection of whiskeys and other refreshments.

Day 3: The Muirfield Golf Club

The Muirfield Golf Club

Day three of your road trip will take you to the Muirfield Golf Club in Gullane, East Lothian, which is situated in a picturesque setting on the Firth of Forth.

Golf has been played at this site since the mid-18th century, when annual 'Gentleman Golfers' competitions used to take place here, but the club was formally founded more than 100 years later in 1891. The following year, the new Muirfield Golf Club hosted the Open Championship for the first time. It has since hosted 15 major tournaments.

The 18-hole course at Muirfield underwent an extensive renovation ahead of the start of the 2013 summer season to make sure it remains in a good condition for generations to come, despite Scotland's often harsh weather.

After you've played a round here, Auto Europe recommends spending the night in a nearby hotel, or beginning your journey to the next stop on the route to make it a little shorter the following day.

Day 4: The Woodhall Spa Golf Club

The Woodhall Spa Golf Club

The next stop on your road trip is the first in England, the Woodhall Spa Golf Club, located in the county of Lincolnshire.

Founded in 1891, this site had only one course - the Hotchkin Course - for more than 100 years, until the Bracken Course was added in 1998. The former holds 25th place in Golf World Magazine's World's Top 100 Courses list, thanks to its stunning natural setting, dramatic bunkering and element of tactical challenge.

The Bracken Course provides a contemporary contrast to the Hotchkin, with immaculate greens studded with wildflowers as part of the English Golf Union's efforts to emphasise the importance of ecology and protecting nature.

There's also a health spa on site at this golf club, which is an ideal place for your non-golf-loving partner to relax, and you can join them there after you've finished your round.

Day 5: The Royal Liverpool Golf Club

The Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Next on your great golfing road trip is a three-hour drive to Liverpool for a game at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, which dates back to 1869 and underwent a renovation in the early 20th century by renowned golf course architect and designer Harry Colt, who is credited with designing some of the world's best clubs.

Over the years, the Royal Liverpool Golf Club has played host to tournaments including the Curtis Cup, Walker Cup, Open Championship and the Women's British Open, to name just a few.

If you have extra time while you're in the area, it's just a four-mile drive to the Caldy Golf Club, which isn't quite as popular as the Royal Liverpool, but is seen as an equally attractive course.

Alternatively, explore the glorious city of Liverpool for yourself. It's steeped in history with its docks area, shipping heritage and, as the home of The Beatles, it has multiple attractions related to the Fab Four, including tours around John Lennon and Paul McCartney's childhood homes, and the world-famous Cavern Club, where the band used to play.

Day 6: The Royal County Down Golf Club

The Royal Liverpool Golf Club

From Liverpool, you can catch a ferry directly to Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. Here, you can either choose to spend a night or you can drive over the border to Northern Ireland and the Royal County Down Golf Club. Taking your luxury hire car on a boat will only add to the sense of adventure of this journey across the UK.

The Royal County Down Golf Club - which was founded in 1889 - is home to not one but two of the World's 500 Greatest Golf Holes (the fourth and ninth), while the club's Championship Course came fourth in Golf Digest's list of the best courses outside the US in 2005, before clinching the top spot in 2007. The other course here, the Annesely Links, is also extremely popular.

Since its establishment, this club has hosted tournaments including the Palmer Cup, Irish Open and the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship, so you'll be following in the footsteps (or golf swings) of some of the world's greats by teeing off at this club.

From here, it's under two hours' drive to both Dublin Airport and Belfast Airport - you can drop your Auto Europe hire car back at either before beginning your journey home.

Find low cost deals on car hire from as little as £5 per day through www.autoeurope.co.uk

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