How to play eight Top-100 golf courses on a single golf vacation

If you like playing the world's best golf courses, you're going to love today's tip.

That's because it explains how you can play no fewer than eight of golf's greats in a single, efficient trip.

Sure, playing these courses together was possible in the past, but a new logistical twist has make it a heck of a lot faster and easier.

The "twist" is that the Kintyre Express ferry (kintyreexpress.com) has added a new route between Bonnycastle, Northern Ireland and Campbeltown, Scotland.

This means you can easily combine a trip that includes Northern Ireland's links masterpieces -- Royal County Down and Royal Portrush -- with rounds on Machrihanish and Machrihanish Dunes, which in the past were often overlooked because there was no easy way to reach them.

The crossing takes 90 minutes and will be offered twice a day Friday through Monday from May 27 through September 26 (a third crossing will operate when demand warrants and private charters are available, too). It costs £30 per person one way and £55 round trip.

The Kintyre Express, a fleet of fully cabined, 36-foot, 12-passenger boats, can also connect golfers to Machrihanish via its original, Troon-to-Campbeltown route. This service is available every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday from April through September. The 75-minute journey costs £50 per person one way and £80 round trip.

So, theoretically, you can now create a golf vacation itinerary that includes Turnberry, Troon, Prestwick and Western Gailes on one end, and Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, and Portstewart on the other (with a round on historic Machrihanish in between). That's four world top-100s and four GB & Ireland top-100s in a single trip!

The only potential hitch is that service is on demand -- ferries may not run if fewer than four passengers have booked passage. Therefore, tickets must be purchased in advance.

Have you played any of these great courses on your golf vacations? Ever take the Kintyre Express? Please share your comments below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
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How to play eight Top-100 golf courses on a single golf vacation
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