So how should a woman golfer pack for a two-week golf trip to Scotland, a beautiful country famous for its year-round fickle weather? I filled my rolling suitcase and a hefty backpack, and though I wouldn’t say I overpacked, there are a few things I really needed and others not so much.
THINGS I’M GLAD I TOOK TO SCOTLAND
Let’s start with the overnight flight from Denver: I’m glad I had ear plugs, an eye mask, neck pillow, and small water bottle. Also, I’m glad I had this little luggage scale; it kept me well within the international weight restrictions for both checked and carry-on bags.
I’m glad I sprang for Verizon coverage ($10 each day I used it, $0 on days I didn’t) whenever we drove—it was worth it just to be able to access the St Andrews app when we were playing the Jubilee Course and learn that we had won the lottery to play the Old Course! It was also important that we had good chargers and picked up an electrical converter early in the trip. (We had read that we would not need one in Scotland. That’s not universally true.) Bungee cords came in handy for securing golf clubs on walking carts.
And my Rain Wedge, which I’m loving in this photo from Cruden Bay, was the envy of Scotland’s caddies. A sort of rain canopy for the golf bag, it weighs not even a pound and folds flat into its sack when not in use, yet quickly clips onto the bag in a shower. I found one at the Denver Golf Expo, but you can get yours on Amazon right here.
Now for clothes
I brought Puma’s PWRShape pull-on pants in three colors, black, navy and gray. The pants are stretchy, breathable, and quick-drying, and I wore them for all but one of our 10 rounds of golf. (At the Old Course I wore a dress over lightweight but warm leggings, another must-bring item.)
I brought along a Sunice, lined, full-zip wind sweater (in a style I cannot find anymore) that I wore the first couple of days, but when rain entered the forecast, my hooded Zero Restriction slicker—this one here—became my best friend. I’d usually wear one of my other two ZR jackets, both great in wind and quiet during the golf swing, and switch out or put the slicker on over top when it rained more heavily. I never got wet.
Just before the trip, I bought completely waterproof and supportive golf shoes, one pair from Adidas and one from Footjoy. I also made use of all seven pairs of wool socks I brought, a few maybe more than once (shhhhh!) before they made it to a washing machine.
There was one other piece that was essential, but I didn’t bring it. I had to find it in Scotland.
WHAT I BROUGHT AND DIDN’T NEED
I never needed the cool, fleece-lined waterproof pants I had bought especially for this trip. I wore them one day, and they were just too warm. I didn’t need that second pair of shoes one of the books suggested bringing, though I’m not sure whether I’d have left the Footjoys or the Adidas pair home; if your shoes get wet one day, find a blow dryer. I didn’t need that extra dress-up outfit; Scotland restaurants and pubs are wonderfully down-to-earth, and a rearrangement of golf clothing with the addition of some jewelry would go anywhere. I didn’t need the bucket hat I brought, because the hood on my ZR slicker did the job.
WHAT I DIDN’T BRING AND NEVER NEEDED
I didn’t bring golf clubs because my rental set from Ross at Scotland Golf Club Hire worked great, and I didn’t bring an umbrella and didn’t need one because my rental clubs came with one, as did most places we stayed.
Visiting in late May, I didn’t bring shorts or skorts. Later in summer, I might bring some that would pair well with leggings for cooler days.
WHAT I DIDN’T BRING BUT WOULD BRING NEXT TIMElaser rangefinder to better gauge distances to the pin on the unfamiliar courses. One of my electric carts had GPS on the handle and it proved as valuable as a caddie. I would also practice using the Go Girl so that I could urinate anywhere I wanted on courses that had toilets only at the turn. Seriously! At one course I was told that the ladies have their spots for making do. Ugh! Good to know!
And I would leave home my baseball hats and watch caps—new ones make for inexpensive, lightweight and memorable keepsakes along the way—but bring my most beloved Scotland purchase, picked up on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile for about $25: a plaid wool cap with a lining and a short brim that kept me both warm and dry on the worst days, and also looked pretty cute. I’ve since learned this style is called a “newsboy,” so you can search for that online or find pretty much the same hat on Amazon here.
When you visit Scotland, you’ll see sheep all over the place. Remember what they’re good for when you’re out shopping!
Scotland is a wonderful destination for women who enjoy golf. You don’t have to be good at it, but you do have to be fit enough to walk 18 holes in any kind of weather. Read my three-part travelogue starting with East Lothian.