Not too long ago, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported new claims about the origins of the golf. Some asserted that China might have invented the game some 500 years before the reigning inventors, the Scots. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Scotland put this controversy to rest by stating, "Stick and ball games have been around for many centuries, but golf as we know it today, played over 18 holes, clearly originated in Scotland."
Scotland’s courses are both relatively accessible and famously challenging, which makes it as competitive a sport there as anywhere. So where should a visitor to the United Kingdom go to see (or maybe even enter) a tournament? Scotland, of course!
Carnoustie Golf Links: the Tassie in the first week of September
The courses at Carnoustie have hosted the Open Championship, the Seniors Open and the Women's British Open. This golf course is also proud to host the Craw's Nest Tassie and Maulesbank Trophy tournaments each September.
The Tassie tournament, first played in 1927, is so popular internationally that amateur players from the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom attend. Check the website to get detailed time and tournament schedule information before showing up. You must wear "suitable" attire, which specifically forbids football shirts and blue jeans. Carnoustie is near Dundee in the county of Angus.
Muirfield: host of the Open Championship 2013
Prior to 2013, Muirfield last hosted the Open Championship in 2002. But the course has hosted 16 Opens over the course of its long history. The course is on Duncar Road in Muirfield, east of Edinburgh.
Golf legend Old Tom Morris laid out the first course in 1891, and it first hosted the Open in 1892. Check the website for up-to-the-minute information on ticket prices and attendance rules. If you intend to visit the Smoking and Dining Rooms, gentlemen are expected to wear a lounge jacket and tie.
St. Andrews Links: the Strathtyrum Tournament in August
Scheduled for August 12-16 this year, the Strathtyrum Tournament is a 36-hole scratch and handicap tournament for women. St. Andrews is the place golf aficionados consider the cradle of the game as we know it. This tournament is not quite that old; it only dates back to 1989.
Check into the dress code before your visit. Formal and tailored “smart casual” clothes are preferred, and general sports wear is frowned upon: The St. Andrews website warns that “scruffy or town clothing is not considered appropriate.” Visit the Eden Clubhouse, which serves the Strathtyrum course. While there, consider walking the Old Course — a rite of passage for any serious golfer.
Content by Sylvia Cochran
Ernie Els of South Africa drives off the 18th tee during The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the St. Andrews Old Course last year. St. Andrews will host the Strathtyrum Tournament this year. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
An aerial view of Muirfield, the venue for the 2013 Open Championship. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)