Golf Course & Whisky Pairing Guide
The Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland
Known as 'the home of golf', The Old Course on the East coast of Scotland is seen as the birthplace of golf, as one of the oldest and most prestigious courses in the world. The 1st and 18th holes are two of the most famous golf holes in the world, Swilican Burn and Swilican Bridge, and some of the sports' biggest stars have won at St Andrews: JH Taylor, Bobby Jones, Seve Ballesteros and, the one and only, Tiger Woods.
Similarly, Lindores Abbey distillery, although reasonably new, holds claim as the birthplace of whisky. The Latin term for whisky, aqua vitae (the water of life) was used in the 1494 Exchequer Rolls – the first recorded reference to whisky – which noted that John Corr, a monk at Lindores Abbey, was afforded ‘eight bolls of malt’ to make aqua vitae for King James IV. It is also located not far from St Andrews, so we think a dram of Lindores Abbey Aqua Vitae goes with a game at The Old Course.
Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia, USA
The Augusta National golf club has been used for various tournaments since its opening in 1932, and is known for it's very famous pine tree obstacle. One, Dwight D. Eisenhower so frequently hit his ball against it whilst playing that he lobbied for it to be chopped down! It escaped removal and is now named the 'Eisenhower Tree'. The course is also so well-known and recognisable that it is often used as a basis for golf-orientated computer games, like Wii Sports.
We can think of another American staple that is so famous, its difficult to miss - Jack Daniel's. A bar basic and the best selling American whiskey in the world, the drink also had a famous fan: Frank Sinatra nicknamed it "the nectar of the gods", and the distillery even released a "Sinatra Select" bottling.
Royal County Down, Newcastle, Northern Ireland
This breath-taking course in Northern Ireland is regularly voted as the best golf courses in the world, and so ranks very highly in the minds of golf players. The Mountains of Mourne provide a spectacular backdrop to the game, along with lovely sea views and colourful gorse flowers throughout.
A no-brainer pairing for this gorgeous course is the equally gorgeous Bushmills. The oldest distillery in the world, Bushmills Irish Whiskey calls the northerly tip of Northern Ireland home - on the doorstep of the stunning natural wonder, the Giants Causeway. As these two Irish gems are so well regarded all around the world, we think they go hand in hand.
Carnoustie, Dundee, Scotland
Nicknamed "Carnasty", this course is regarded as one of the toughest games on the Open rota. So much so, that it made Sergio Garcia shed a tear or two after he finished last during the 1999 Open Championship! This is largely because of its location on North Sea coast, causing the harsh Scottish wind to storm in from the water - though it is also rife with pot bunkers.
Ardbeg's Wee Beastie = Carnoustie. Not only do they rhyme, the distillery crafted this expression to be the rawest, smokiest Ardbeg ever - assaulting the senses just as the rough course chews up and spits out some of golf's best players. The Islay expression also holds the distinctive briny and salty elements of the Island, twinning with the coastal nature of Carnoustie.
Prestwick, South Ayrshire, Scotland
Often voted as one of the best golf courses in Scotland, Prestwick is known as the home of the Open, as they first held the championship here in 1860 - and the 12 years after. It's famous for its numerous blind shots and the Pow Burn, which runs through the centre.
A natural choice here, is Loch Lomond. The Highland distillery is the official whisky of the Open, and releases a special edition in it's honour every tournament. This year, the Loch Lomond The Open Special Edition 2023 was matured in American oak casks, with a finish in Rioja Alta Reserva casks, which have imparted beautiful red berry and chocolate flavours.
Royal Liverpool, Wirral, England
The location of this years Open, Royal Liverpool is one of the oldest seaside courses in England. It was granted its Royal status in 1871 by Queen Victoria, and produced two early superstar champions, Harold Hilton and John Ball. The course is rather divisive; it can become quite tough due to its unprotected nature, though world class players like Rory McIIroy and Tiger Woods have won Open Championships here with ease.
Laphroiag is a perfect paring with Royal Liverpool; not only does it hold a Royal Warrant from King Charles III, but it is also famously divisive. Some love it's full-on peaty, medicinal charms, whereas some are bewildered by its appeal. Laphroiag 16 Year Old is the King's favourite.
Pick up a copy of our latest issue of Whiskeria at one of our The Whisky Shop stores, or at your local WH Smith, to read all about Iona Stephen's favourite golf courses, and whiskies of choice!