When you think about golf destinations in Scotland, The Borders may not be the first one that springs to mind.
But the region is one of the prettiest in the country so that should make it an ideal setting for a golf course?
We went to Macdonald Cardrona to find out what it has to offer as golf and leisure destination.
Cardrona’s championship course was designed by renowned architect Dave Thomas who has created a challenging but enjoyable track.
Golfers of every level find can enjoy the course with varied tee selections, ranging from the championship tees at 7,010 yards, the boxes at 6,555 yards, to the front markers at 6,139 yards.
The first hole will certainly prepare you for the full challenge that lies ahead. The opener is a 500-yard par 5 with plenty of fairway bunkers to catch you out and a tricky uphill approach shot to the first green.
While the fairway’s edge is lined with bunkers you don’t want to be going beyond those, as if you find yourself in the rough in this course you’ll be hard-pressed to come out with your ball.
If ever a first hole gave you a warning that your shots will need to be accurate, this is it.
Atmospheric views make for tantalizing tee shots
As you work through the front 9 you’ll find yourself lining up your ball surrounding by stunning scenery.
Scenery makes the shots
Imposing hills in the background make a lovely frame for your golf game. The course runs alongside the River Tweed and is nestled between forests and glens. Making it a true testament to the Scottish Countryside in its own right.
The one-two combination of the 6th and 7th hole will certainly etch in your memory. The 7th hole is the course’s signature offering.
At over 402 yards, this par-4 demands a great tee shot with bunkers, trees, extensive rough, and uneven lies all in play.
If you manage to get to your approach unscathed you’re usually rewarded at Cardrona.
The greens are generally fairly large and forgiving and the greens team have done a fantastic job to get them playing fairly after they suffered from extreme weather problems in recent years.
Tips for playing the Cardrona
Take a buggy – Cardrona Macdonald is a test on the legs as well as your golfing ability. The hills and undulations that give the course such great character will take it out of you in terms of stamina. A buggy is strongly recommended.
Hit a provisional – Like any championship course you are truly punished for going offline, take plenty of spare golf balls and make sure you hit a provisional to save time if you can’t find your ball in the heavy rough.
Club up on approach – The greens are very generous in size so you’re likely to get rewarded for going for it. You get no prizes for being short.
Warm up – There are two practice areas for you to get loose at before your round. A driving range so you can get all your bad shots out of the way and a short game area to get a feel for the greens and conditions. These are located outside a well-stocked pro shop.
Enjoy yourself – The wonderful views on offer and the fantastic hospitality means you can have a great day no matter how well you play.
What else is on offer at Cardrona?
The 99-bedroom hotel offers breathtaking views that sweep across the valley.
The hotel also boasts a gym and spa to relax and unwind after your golf game.
If you would rather relax with a walk, there are nearby trails in Glentress Forest and you can explore the Tweed Valley Railway Path, which is right next to the hotel.
Outdoorsy guests can take advantage of the resort’s fishing rights on the world-famous River Tweed and the surrounding Scottish Borders offer the perfect opportunity to try mountain biking, horseback riding, wildlife spotting.
A bite to eat
No golf day out is complete without food and drink after the round. MacDonald Cardrona offers a couple of options.
For a relaxed lunch you can eat in Spikes Bar where you can grab a pint and pick up a lighter snack. For a more formal occasion you might want to eat in Renwicks Restaurant.
The dining area offers amazing views of the golf course and a great menu serving up seasonal dishes using local and organic ingredients.
The staff are very attentive, allowing you to relax after your day out on the course.
Where exactly is it?
The course can be located just a few miles, around a 10-minute drive from Peebles. If you are using public transport you can get a bus from Edinburgh to Peebles for as little as £4.