For any golf lover who is traveling from North America to the British Isles, one of the hardest questions is selecting which of the most famous, beautiful courses to play at. The next most difficult question is where to stay, followed by how to get around. Commercial air travel between courses isn’t reasonable, because most of the small, rural towns where the best courses are don’t have commercial airports. Driving is an option, but can take a long time (and be harrowing for North Americans who aren’t used to driving on the “wrong” side of the road!).
The solution for a luxury golf traveler in Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, and Wales is to hire a helicopter. Here are some of the top benefits of hiring a private helicopter for your next golf trip through the British Isles.
Stay in one location and play all over
Playing golf is supposed to be relaxing, and a bucket-list trip to the British Isles to play the best courses in the world should be relaxing, too. Packing up your hotel room and moving to the next town every two or three days can definitely take some of the relaxation out of the trip. By hiring a private helicopter to take you from course to course, you can stay in one hotel the entire time, fully unpacking and relaxing between tee times.
Many of the rural towns where the best golf courses are don’t necessarily have five-star accommodations. If you hire a private helicopter, you can stay in a bigger town — even London, Edinburgh, or Dublin — with more luxury options. It also gives you more time to enjoy the local cuisine, the pub, and, of course, the spa.
Play more courses in a single trip
If you’re traveling overseas to play The Old Course at St. Andrews, you want to take advantage of the opportunity to play as many other famous nearby courses as possible. But some of those courses can be a two-hour drive away — a daunting prospect if you’re staying in St. Andrews and need to get there for a tee time at 8am. A helicopter flight can limit the time it takes between courses, allowing you to play as many as you’d like.
For instance, to get from the beautiful Lahinch to Ballybunion in Ireland usually requires a two-and-a-half hour around the bay. By helicopter, the trip gets down to a manageable 10 miles as the crow flies. And because helicopters can travel up to 40 or 50 miles every 15 minutes, you’ll probably spend more time getting to the helicopter from your hotel than you will in the air.
Many of the best courses have their own helipads
You may be surprised to learn how welcoming golf courses are to helicopter travelers. Many of the biggest and best courses in the British Isles have their own helipads to accommodate helicopters and make it as easy as possible to travel by air. The best luxury hotels also have helipads, and you should have no trouble taking a helicopter to your tee time at Doonbeg, Turnberry, or Old Head, or to grab a flight from your stay at The K Club or the Old Course Hotel to your next round.
True luxury golf travelers do it all the time
Helicopter travel is actually incredibly common for luxury golf travelers. On a recent golf trip to Ireland, your author overheard Jack Nicklaus’s son and his colleagues discussing their ability to play all the major courses in Ireland in a 10-day trip thanks to the helicopter they’d hired. There are dozens of options, and you can combine helicopter travel with a hired car for shorter distances to help with cost as necessary.
Overall, hiring a helicopter when golfing in the British Isles is an excellent addition to any luxury golf tour to save on time and arrive in style.
Ravi Coutinho is Founder and Lead Golf Travel Expert at Worldwide Golf Adventures. Worldwide Golf Adventures is a luxury golf tour operator that arranges custom golf vacations for clients around the world.