Clive Agran

Contributor

Although in his 60s, with a handicap of 15 and lifetime earnings comfortably below $100, Clive Agran nevertheless still believes he can win a major. Arguably England's most gifted golf writer, when not dreaming of glory he's scouring the globe simultaneously searching for lost balls and great golf courses. Follow Clive on Twitter at @cliveagran .

Recent articles
You can ditch the Caribbean crowds at the exclusive Abaco Club, one of the top luxury golf getaways in the Bahamas.
There may be no more exclusive stay-and-play in the British Isles than the opulent Skibo Castle and Carnegie Club in the Scottish Highlands.
Most of the 500-plus courses in Scotland comfortably qualify as "old" and most are comparatively obscure, and so finding a few that are both presented no problem for veteran golf scribe Clive Agran. Selecting the best, however, demanded so much intellectual effort that a second glass of whisky was required.
The farther north you travel in Scotland, the fewer people you see and the wilder the scenery is. But even in the remotest parts there is golf.
There are approximately 1,500 golf courses in England, but which are the best? From West Sussex to Royal Cinque Ports to Wentworth, here are Clive Agran's top 10.
Set among 850 acres of Perthshire countryside, Gleneagles will host the 2014 Ryder Cup. But while it's home to three superb golf courses, Gleneagles has so much more to offer. Since its doors first swung open in the middle of the Roaring '20s, the impressive five-star hotel has entertained royalty and celebrities alike. And even though times have changed, the same single-minded determination to have fun is still at the heart of the Gleneagles experience, Clive Agran writes.
Although most of Scotland is fairly mountainous, the Highlands region contains the highest peaks and the most spectacular scenery. It's the most rugged, natural and sparsely populated area of Scotland and contains some extraordinarily beautiful courses, Clive Agran writes. Must-plays include Boat of Garten Golf Club, Moray, Nairn G.C., Castle Stuart, Royal Dornoch and Brora.
Golfers who've never had a hole-in-one should take a trip to beautiful Turtle Hill Golf Club in Bermuda which consists of 18 par-3 holes. If you're thinking "pitch-and-putt" or an undemanding "executive par 3," think again.
When American Jerry Savardi opened The Renaissance Club near Muirfield in East Lothian Scotland, the idea was to create a golf course and club that would comfortably maintain the exceptional standard that prevails along the stretch coastline known as Scotland's Golf Coast. The Renaissance Club is unashamedly upmarket, aimed at the very well heeled prepared to pay for their privacy and privileges. And right at the heart of the offering is a simply superb golf course. Clive Agran has more.
Because the Open Championship was first played at Prestwick, the southwest of Scotland occupies a special place in the hearts of many. Although Prestwick is no longer on the Open rota, Troon and Turnberry most definitely are, and there are probably more outstanding golf courses in this most beautiful corner of the country than there are anywhere in the world.
Gleneagles is already famous and is about to become even more so when it hosts the 2014 Ryder Cup in September. But Gleneagles isn't the only star in Perthshire, a predominantly mountainous county lying right in the heart of Scotland. Clive Agran has more on Gleneagles and other golf courses in the area worth your time.
The northeast of Scotland can boast some truly outstanding golf courses, and Aberdeenshire can claim many of them. Although famous for its historic links, there are some outstanding inland challenges -- especially along the banks of the beautiful River Dee -- that should not be overlooked, Clive Agran writes. Standouts include Ballater, Royal Aberdeen, Murcar, Trump International and Cruden Bay.
The green fee at glorious Gleneagles varies from $115 to $280 according to the time of the year and whether or not you're staying in the magnificent hotel. But it matters not which golf course you play -- King's, Queen's or PGA Centenary. Very unusually for a resort with three courses -- possibly uniquely -- there's no stand-out, this is the one-you-brag-to-your-friends-you've-played course.
Attracting more Americans than any other Irish golf club, Ballybunion has mastered the art of making overseas visitors feel welcome and providing them with first-class facilities. And the club has accomplished this without sacrificing any of the charm, warmth and friendliness that makes golfing in Ireland such a treat. But what puts Ballybunion right on the top of most discerning golfer's wish list are the two spectacular courses, the Old and the Cashen.
Ireland has far more fabulous golf courses than it really needs. Three of the very best are in the southwestern counties of Kerry and Clare, but they are only part of the appeal of golf in Ireland. What makes it irresistibly attractive are the wonderful characters and barely believable stories that enrich the overall experience, Clive Agran writes.
Golfers the world over know St. Andrews is where the game began, but golfing in Scotland does not end with St. Andrews. Here, Clive Agran begins his series of "Scotland Beyond St. Andrews" with a look at golf in southwest Scotland, including Royal Troon, Prestwick and Turnberry Resort, host of the epic "Duel in the Sun" between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in the 1977 British Open.
Golfers the world over know St. Andrews is where the game began. But there's much more to Scotland than simply St Andrews, however. Clive Agran continues his "Scotland Beyond St. Andrews" series with a look at golf in Aberdeenshire, including Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Murcar Links and Cruden Bay G.C.
Golfers the world over know St. Andrews is where the game began, but golfing in Scotland does not end with St. Andrews. Clive Agran continues his "Scotland Beyond St. Andrews" series with a look at some of the best golf courses in Perthshire, including the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles, which will host the 2014 Ryder Cup.
Golfers the world over know St. Andrews is where the game began, but golfing in Scotland does not end with St. Andrews. Clive Agran continues his series of "Scotland Beyond St. Andrews" with a look at some of the best golf courses in the Scottish Highlands, including Castle Stuart Golf Links and Royal Dornoch Golf Club.
Castlerock Golf Club, situated on the banks of the River Bann about five miles west of Coleraine in Northern Ireland, is a majestic links right up there with Royal County Down Golf Club and Royal Portrush. It may be a cliche, but Castlerock truly is a "hidden gem," Clive Agran writes.
The Old Course at Lahinch Golf Club, located on the southwest coast of Ireland, has undergone a number of improvements and alterations over the years. Old Tom Morris and Alister MacKenzie are among the famous course designers who have put their touch on the Old Course at Lahinch, which is especially treacherous when the wind blows, Clive Agran writes.
Find parkland perfection in an idyllic setting at Meldrum House Golf Club, a beautiful golf experience near the northeast coast of Scotland. It includes all the appealing features you would seek -- glorious views, a wealth of wildlife, and that's not to mention the golf and an outstanding academy. Prepare for lots of water and sand, devilish greens and a memorable round, Clive Agran writes.
With wonderful views of the glorious Cairngorm mountains, Grantown-on-Spey Golf Club naturally splits into three equal sections. The first six holes are open parkland in character and provide a gentle introduction. The course tightens considerably over the second six which pass through fairly hilly woodland. Coming off the 12th green, you emerge onto undulating parkland for a particularly pleasing closing stretch which, though comparatively benign, still contains considerable danger.
Murcar Links Golf Club, a glorious seaside links perched on the rugged coast of northeast Scotland, boasts all the ingredients for which one hopes -- magnificent dunes, super turf, fast greens and fabulous holes. And yet, Murcar Links has not received the recognition it thoroughly deserves. Still, it won't disappoint anyone lucky enough to play it, Clive Agran writes.
Despite the grief you'll encounter from the bumps and hollows and whins and revetted bunkers, the Old Course at Moray Golf Club, designed by Old Tom Morris, is absolutely stunning. You can't help but fall under the magical spell of what is indisputably one of the world's finest links courses. What's more: Because of noise from the RAF screaming into the adjacent Lossiemouth air base, green fees at Moray are possibly the best bargain in the whole of Scotland, Clive Agran writes.
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