Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Well above Par; Nic Brookleaves His Clubs in the Bag to See What Else Gleneagles Has to Offer

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Well above Par; Nic Brookleaves His Clubs in the Bag to See What Else Gleneagles Has to Offer

Article excerpt

THE gentleman lowered his voice as he confessed his guilty pleasure. "This is my fifth visit," he confided, "and even though I''m a golfer, I''ve still not managed to have a game at Gleneagles. I get here and find there are just so many other wonderful things to do."

" A thick fall of snow had put paid to my own plans for a round, but even so we'd already arrived at the same conclusion - Gleneagles isn''t just about golf.

Opened in 1924 at the height of the Roaring Twenties age of optimism, it is one of the few remaining magnificent railway resort hotels.

The then Caledonian Railway Company commissioned five-time Open Champion James Braid to build two championship courses at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands in Perthshire.

The King's and Queen's courses he designed complement the magnificent five-star art deco mansion and still rank high among the finest, ensuring that Gleneagles has always been one of the world''s premier golf destinations. In 1993 another 18 holes were added. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the PGA Centenary course is the stage for the Ryder Cup showdown between the USA and Europe in September.

Yet golf doesn''t overpower the atmosphere. It is a haven for those who love tranquillity, fine dining and the great outdoors. If your favoured TV viewing is Countryfile and you're planning a big celebration, this is ideal.

Arrive by rail, it adds to the romance.

That's how guests journeyed here in the Brideshead Revisited glory days and it''s still the most relaxing way. You get trains to Gleneagles station from London King''s Cross and points north, there is something exclusive about being transferred by minibus shuttle.

The manner in which activities are delivered is what makes the place special. In our couple of days we didn't just "do" shooting, falconry, or 4x4 off-road driving, but were guided by professionals who taught with passion.

Even a cookery class at the delightful Mediterranean-style Deseo restaurant felt like our very own Saturday Kitchen, except it was all food heaven with no food hell!

And those who hope to see eagles needn't go home disappointed. Not only will they have ample opportunity to see birds in the surrounding countryside, but the hotel also cares for two golden eagles among the birds of prey in the falconry school. …

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