10 learnings (and favorite memories) from my mother-son Scotland trip

10 favorite memories from my mother-son Scotland trip

Nothing beats a great golf trip — especially when it's a mother and her son.

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Nothing beats a great golf trip — and summer is the prime time to go experience someplace new.

Whether you’re planning an annual getaway with friends to a familiar spot for golf, or venturing to somewhere new to tee it up, taking in the culture, sights, and sounds of a different locale always produces great memories.

And, of course, playing new golf courses that you don’t normally see when home is the ultimate kicker.

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A golf trip unlike any other

I recently traveled to the east coast of Scotland to play 10 days of golf with my 15-year-old son, Matthew. To say we had a great time would be an understatement — and the golf trip gave me some fond memories that I’ll cherish forever.

1. The courses

The courses were amazing, as we played some of the most iconic spots, including Royal Dornoch, West Berwick, and Cruden Bay. We also played some great courses that are a little less famous, including Durness — an amazing 9-hole course with a spectacular (and sometimes scary drive) — as well as Montrose.

2. The travel challenge

Learning to travel overseas takes patience and teamwork, but we got pretty good at this. Managing heavy suitcases and travel golf bags takes a good attitude, so when we had to shuffle our suitcase weight in the first airport, I had to laugh since I had never experienced it myself. The goal was to lighten the load as much as possible — which we did by losing so many golf balls on such difficult courses.

3. Driving on the opposite side of the road

Hug left was our motto. The challenge was fun, and a bit scary, but we made it — and I hope we didn’t offend too many Scotsmen along the way. My co-pilot was certainly helpful with directions, and for when I got way too close to the bushes on the left side of the road. The roads are narrow and the parking spots tiny… but we survived it all.

4. The hard ground

There were so many learning opportunities for my son during this golf trip. The ground is very hard compared to golf courses in the States, so learning to land the ball short and not expect the green to hold it was certainly new for him. I can’t tell you the amount of times I heard him simply ask me “how?” when the ball did something he wasn’t used to.

5. The fescue and gorse

Off the fairways can be a journey in Scotland, with fescue, gorse, super thick rough, and uneven hills all making life difficult for golfers. Learning to find your ball can be a frustrating process, and then taking your medicine by just punching back out to safety is a tough pill to swallow.

In most cases, trying to be aggressive by moving the ball down the fairway doesn’t work out too well, as the club often gets caught and twists the face — making the ball travel very short. Over time, you learn to take a lofted club, lean the weight and the shaft forward, and just steeply chop the ball out and back into play.

6. The wind

The wind was incredible! Cabot Highlands was beautiful and is a great course, but the whipping winds provided both of us with a tough challenge, to say the least.

Downwind was kind of fun, but still difficult. When hitting into the wind, it felt like we’d never get it to the green. I hit more 3-woods than I have in a long time, and Matt hit more 3-irons than usual. It was fun to watch his game evolve as he learned to better manage the crazy conditions.

7. The birdie challenge

Matt and I don’t really compete against each other, as we typically just play to have fun and try our best. But on this golf trip, we changed things up and had a birdie-eagle challenge — which Matt won by quite a bit.

It was fun to compete with him, see him take it so seriously, and to still root for another — while going head-to-head on friendly level. Matt had a couple of eagles, even driving par-4’s, which was really cool to see.

8. Time to talk

An underrated part of this entire golf trip was simply having time with my son, which gave us plenty of chances to walk and talk together. We talked about everything, from golf to life to having some silly moments, too.

9. North Berwick

We were able to play North Berwick with a friend of mine, who’s conveniently a travel expert and is very well-versed in golf courses. It was great to play with someone who knew the course so well, and who could talk about the history of the grounds. It was also fun to just have a friendly face to kick off our trip.

10. St. Andrews: The perfect finish

We had entered the lottery to play St. Andrews twice, but were unsuccessful those first two times. Since we were staying in St. Andrews, we both entered one last time on the final day of our golf trip, agreeing that, if I got in, he’d caddy for me, and if he got in, I’d caddy for him. Guess who got it? Not me, but my son. Perfect!

I did end up caddying for him, and it was so awesome. Watching him enjoy himself and use some of the lessons from the previous rounds was really cool, as he put together his best round of the whole golf trip.

Any parent/child trip is amazing, and this recent one with my son was a reminder to never wait or put it off: just plan it and go! The memories are ones that will stick with me every day, so I’m so appreciative of the time together.

For more tips from my Scotland golf trip (and all things golf) head over to my Instagram.

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Nick Dimengo

Golf.com Editor