OPEN DOOR POLICY

As Mark Alexander finds out, the decision to offer up tee times at the Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle provides a rare opportunity to sample the lives of the rich and famous

Although the Home of Golf may be famed for its public links where young and old play the world’s finest courses for next to nothing, there is a new swathe of ultra private clubs which are offering something different to the world’s mega wealthy. It seems that millionaires’ golf is alive and well and flourishing in Scotland.

In fact, there is a splurge of these private retreats coming onto the market. Loch Lomond Golf Club was created in an area of outstanding natural beauty and is famed for its elite membership, while the Renaissance Club near Edinburgh sits alongside one Scotland’s most revered gentleman’s clubs at Muirfield. In Fife, St Andrews International promises to be the first private club in the Auld Grey Toon to have its own course, and next to Gleneagles a new heathland gem (know as gWest) is being created to rival the Queens, Kings and Centenary courses.

What they have in common are business models that rest on the desire of the world’s financially elite to play golf in Scotland safe in the knowledge that their post-match confab will be shared with millionaires and oligarchs in suitably opulent surroundings far from prying eyes. Wealth, privacy and golf seem to be the perfect bedfellows.

In the north of Scotland, near the adored links of Dornoch, another hideaway haven has taken the first tentative steps at reversing this trend by offering a tantalising glimpse of this exclusive world. The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle, which accommodates around 3,000 rounds a year, is offering eight tee times a week from Monday to Friday until October.

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