Lifetime membership at wondrous Scottish golf club

The views from the town of Crail and its golf course are postcard perfect.

    One of the highlights of my son Tim's and my first trip to Scotland last June was our play on the two-century-old Crail Balcomie Links (redone by Old Tom Morris in 1895), as well as our stay in the charming fishing village of Crail.  The links golf course, one of the oldest in the world, features breathtaking ocean views -- Golf World magazine  ranked it among the best -- and a challenging layout made more so by the ever-constant winds.  Among the outstanding courses Tim and I played during a glorious week of golf, I ranked Crail near the top, just behind the Old Course at St. Andrews, which is a mere 20-minute ride away.
    Now, thanks to Crail members' ambitious project to rebuild their out of date clubhouse atop thebalcomie_links_sign.jpg highest point on the course, as well as a recession that is reaching into every global nook and cranny of commerce and leisure activities, the club is offering citizens outside the UK lifetime memberships for just £2,500, or about $3,750 US at today's improving (for US citizens) exchange rate.  (Note:  The rate was 25% less favorable last June.)  The membership for life includes play on both the Balcomie course and the adjacent 10-year old Craighead Links, a Gil Hanse design that includes many of the classic elements of links golf.
    The overseas membership permits four rounds of play annually on each of Crail's two golf courses and the ability to bring along up to eight "friends" each year to play for nominal fees.   Each new overseas member will be assigned a "buddy" from among Crail's local membership; the buddy can help arrange for playing partners and sign-ups to play at local courses, of which there are many, including the new Castle Course at St. Andrews, Kingsbarns, the Old Course, Lundin Links, and the well-regarded inland course at Ladybank.  Those last two courses, plus the ancient and excellent Scotscraig Golf Club north of St. Andrews, are available at 50% discounts for Crail's overseas members.
    Local membership, by the way, is just £500 with modest annual dues.  And with the exchange rate improvement and the recession, Scottish real estate prices are softening.  One current listing for a new 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in Crail just a mile from the golf courses is listed at $375,000 US.  On a cold and dreary New England day, it kind of makes you think.
    For more information, see the Crail Golfing Society web site.


 Golf World put Crail Balcomie Links on its list of courses with the best views.

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