Golfer’s Guide: The Carrick on Loch Lomond
Golf expert Sophie Horn reviews the famous Scottish course, The Carrick on Loch Lomond.
Being from Norfolk, the first thing that strikes me about The Carrick is the breath-takingly stunning scenery and rolling undulations that add a sense of drama and excitement to this superb venue.
The second is the fantastic facilities The Carrick has to offer. Not only is the hotel, Cameron House, one of the most luxurious golf resorts I’ve stayed at, but also the course is absolutely excellent to play. It has some fantastic, challenging holes, but for those who sometimes go a little off-piste it’s still ‘pretty’ forgiving.
One of my favourite parts of The Carrick (in addition to the many kilts being worn in a stiff breeze) was the course’s amazing spa, which I first caught sight of it on the back nine after spotting some steam rising up over the roof of the clubhouse. You can imagine my surprise though when through the mist emerged a number of scantily clad bodies! Unsurprisingly catching a glimpse of this caused me to miss my par putt, it was only later that I realised what I was looking at was in fact a roof top spa! It made me slightly jealous at the time, but eager to get my round finished so I could also enjoy a treatment or two.
My round took a little longer than usual to complete, not because I was in the bushes all afternoon before you ask, but because I just had to stop and take in the views surrounding some of the holes, particularly from the course’s elevated tees. Up there though the wind really added to the challenge of staying straight, but the weather stayed warm, giving the course a feeling as though it sits inside its own micro-climate. And even when it did get a little chillier, a whiskey at the half way house always adds a little extra to the Scottish experience, and my distance off the tee!
As the song goes, ‘every rose has its thorns’, and this rose’s thorns comes in the form of 118 bunkers! Fortunately for my scorecard I only became acquainted with a few of them, and believe me the velvet greens and immaculate fairways more than make up for the abundance of sand you may find yourself in on your round. All in all The Carrick course perfectly complements all the other gems this resort has to offer.
The food at the Carrick is just as gorgeous as the surroundings, and there is plenty of choice of where and what to eat. One of my favourite meals whilst visiting the resort was at The Boat House overlooking the Loch, which serves lovely fresh fish and a fab selection of wines, although I didn’t quite manage to try them all.
One final tip before you jump in the car to experience The Carrick for yourself; Although the course is spectacular in summer a good time to visit is when it’s just coming into the Winter season, if only so that you can make the most of the cosy log fires after battling the elements!
As you may have guessed, I’m quite a fan of the Carrick. You really do have to go a long way to find a better golfing weekend spot in the UK.
Sophie’s HORNdex Score
As this is one of my first columns for MoneyMaker I thought I should start as I mean to go on, so with this in mind I have devised an scoring system, the HORNdex for each place I visit.
The HORNdex takes into account aspects of the golf course and facilities itself, alongside such things as the club sandwich and the local beers on offer.