Hooked on Golf Blog logo

Hooked on Golf Blog 2016 Awards – Best Golf Course: Cruden Bay, Scotland

Written by: Tony Korologos | Thursday, December 29th, 2016
Categories: GolfGolf Course ArchitectureGolf CoursesGolf For WomenHOG World TourProduct of the Year
Tags:

Each year my hard work on this golf blog provides me with the opportunity to visit many great golf courses all around the world.  2016 was a tremendous year for playing courses which I had not previously played, from the USA to Scotland to Morocco.  To qualify for the Best Golf Course Award for the year, the course has to be one I had not played previously.  I narrowed the finalists down to a eight stellar courses played this year:

Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort, Indiana
Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, Indiana
Panmure Golf Links in Carnoustie, Scotland
Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Scotland
Cruden Bay Golf Links in Cruden Bay, Scotland
Mazagan Golf Club at Mazagan Resort, Morocco
Royal Palm Golf Club in Marrakech, Morocco
Journey at Pechanga in Temecula, California

Those are some fantastic courses to say the least, in some fabulous locations.  As great as they all are, one course stood out and not by just a wee bit either.  Scotland’s Cruden Bay left me absolutely stunned.  Here are a few picturesque reasons why.

Cruden Bay – ©2016 by Tony Korologos

The dunes above. What a view. Absolutely stunning.

How about the view below, from the 9th tee. It was a hell of a walk from the 8th green up to this point and despite nearly having a heart attack, the view was well worth it!

The golf at Cruden Bay is stellar. But it has a fun and very quirky personaly as well.  Just ring the bell or push the button on the electric post to let the group behind you know it is okay to hit their approach shot.

And because I want to see another money shot, here you go below.  This one from late in the day as the sun was setting and the shadows began to really accentuate the terrain.

In the photo above you can see a plateau in the background.  That’s where the shots I mentioned from the 9th tee were.

Conclusion

I’m in love.  Cruden Bay is one of the top courses I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

Awarding Cruden Bay the 2016 Best Golf Course Award was a no-brainer, and it was up against Golf Digest Top 100 USA courses on my list.  I will be back as soon as possible.  What a fantastic course, design, location and the town of Cruden Bay is quite fun as well.


Best Place to Stay in St Andrews: Albany Apartments

Written by: Tony Korologos | Saturday, November 5th, 2016
Categories: GolfGolf For WomenGolf LifeGolf LifestyleHOG World TourLifeReviewsTravel
Tags:

albany_apartments_05I’ve now been to St Andrews, the Home of Golf, on three separate occasions.  I plan to return in 2018 and I know where my group will be staying, Albany Apartments.  It’s the best combination of price, convenience, location, and quality of the many places I’ve stayed in the “Auld Grey Toon.”  Let’s take a look:

Location Location Location

Albany Apartments is located on the famous North Street in St Andrews.  North Street intersects with Golf Place, the primary access road to the Old Course.  I would guess the total yardage from Albany Apartments to the Old Course is length of a short par-4.  A long iron to Golf Place, then a 9-iron to the 18th green.  It’s all of maybe a 90 second walk.  Albany is a 45 second walk from the most famous pub in Scotland, the Dunvegan.

If one heads the opposite direction of the Old Course, the center of St Andrews is a 3-5 minute walk.  Shops, restaurants, golf shops, golf shops, pubs, golf shops, pubs, are all very close by. Did I mention golf shops and pubs?

One minor drawback to Albany’s great location is that it could be “too close” to the pubs, if you know what I mean.  On a warm summer night with the windows open one might be subjected to the horrendous and embarrassing sound of 10 drunk americans singing “Bye Bye Miss American Pie” at 2:00 a.m. like I was.

Amenities

Albany features three bedrooms, located on the 3rd floor of the structure (see outside photo).  They’re accessed via a rather fun spiral staircase, as is the 2nd floor from the street level.  The bedrooms upstairs are spacious and feature a bathrooms with showers.

albany_apartments_03

Bedroom

On the main level, one level up from the street, is a kitchen, spacious reading/sitting/TV room, restroom with bath, and a back deck which is located in a secluded garden (first image).  The kitchen is fully appointed with a dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, microwave, and washer/dryer. There are even some staples in the cupboards.

Sitting Room

Sitting Room

Quality

The building was built in the late 1800’s, but renovated and modernized in roughly the mid-2000’s.  The inside is very nicely appointed with quality furniture, carpeting, fine woodwork, and lots of great golf memorabilia to enjoy.  The space is warm, clean, inviting, classy, and extremely comfortable.

albany_apartments_04

Patio

Pricing

Current pricing runs 50 pounds per person, with a four person minimum and three night minimum.  This is a very reasonable price.  Consider that a single room across the street at the Ardgowan Hotel ran me 120 pounds per night in 2012, and the rooms there are barely bigger than a sardine can.   With a group of four or more golfers the cost per golfer, especially considering all of the great offerings I mentioned above, is unmatched.  What a great value. To bring the cost down even more, a group of six could comfortably occupy the Albany Apartments.

Conclusion

Location, amenities, quality, space, price…  No hotel in St Andrews can come close in any of those categories.  If you are putting together a golf buddy trip to Scotland of four or more golfers and are looking for St Andrews hotels, look no further.

Related Links

Albany Apartments website

Ardgowan Hotel St Andrews Review

St Fairmont St Andrews Hotel Review

Kingsbarns Golf Links Review

Carnoustie Golf Links Review

Balcomie Links at Crail Review

St Andrews New Course Review


Wee Breeze at Scotland’s Royal Aberdeen Golf Club

Written by: Tony Korologos | Sunday, September 18th, 2016
Categories: GolfGolf CoursesGolf For WomenGolf VideosMiscellaneous
Tags:

Video highlight from the back nine at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in northeastern Scotland.  No, the beauty swing you see isn’t mine.  It’s my lad Shanego.  Nice little windmill serves as a backdrop.


Entertaining Sign at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club

Written by: Tony Korologos | Sunday, September 4th, 2016
Categories: Golf
Tags:

I’m in Scotland withdrawal mode, and I may be until I return to that wonderful country. My motivation to play golf here at home is minimal at the moment.

While eating some reheated pizza for lunch today I decided to go through some of my photos from the last Scotland trip. They’re one source of blog posting motivation I can still count on right now. Sure enough I found a fun little nugget to share, a funny sign I shot at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in the northeast of Scotland. I often find golf signs to be funny, and strange. My collection of funny golf sign photos is getting pretty big.  Maybe I should put them all in a book.
Golf Safety Warning

Did this one read to you like it did to me?

“All golfers be alert to avoid injury from flying golf balls & equipment.”

And equipment?  What flying equipment other than golf balls?  There must be some club throwers there?  Maybe its golf bags.  Shoes perhaps.

Thanks for the laugh.  I loved playing Royal Aberdeen.  What a great place.  I’ll post a review soon.


Scotland’s Balcomie Links: 7 Golf Balls Within 20 Feet on the Green, All Legit

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, September 2nd, 2016
Categories: Golf
Tags:

Old Scottish golf courses are pretty quirky and because of those quirky designs and layouts, unusual things can happen. One entertaining example happened on my last trip to Balcomie Links in Crail, Scotland. What a tremendous course Balcomie Links is. I’ll feature the course more later.

I was the last of my group to reach the (I think) 11th green. The 11th is known as “Lang Whang,” and the hole got its name long before the Anthony Wiener days. Up the hill on this par-5 I wasn’t sure if I’d reached the green or not, or where my ball even was. When I reached the green, my friends (The Lads) and some other gentlemen were on the green laughing.

Crail_Balcomie_Links_05

On the green, not more than 20 feet apart, were seven golf balls. This hole’s green is shared with I believe the par-4 8th. Both groups approaching hit the same area. I was happy to find that my ball was one of them.

It’s not often you see seven balls on a green so close together in a real round of golf, and none of them are provisionals, mulligans, or practice shots.

FORE!


1 2 3 6

MORE POSTS








LATEST REVIEWS








Facebook

1,800+ FOLLOWERS


HOG Twitter

3,600+ FOLLOWERS


TK Twitter

4,700+ FOLLOWERS


Instagram

250+ FOLLOWERS


YouTube

5,500,000+ VIEWS


Google+

400+ FOLLOWERS