ISLE OF ISLAY, SCOTLAND | Now that courses are opening on both sides of the Atlantic, I allow myself to fantasize again about golf in the British Isles. My mind also has wandered to one of my most recent trips, a trek last spring to this rugged, 240-square-mile isle in the Inner Hebrides off the southwest coast of Scotland. I walked windswept beaches and did a bit of birding around the rugged Mull of Oa, watching ducks, geese and sea birds soar and dive in the skies around me. I caught beefy brown trout in the freshwater lochs and tasted whiskies that possess lovely hints of peat thanks to that old-fashioned fuel still being used in fires to dry the damp barley from which the spirits are made. But what I enjoyed most was playing golf at the recently revamped Machrie links.
Routed in dunes off Laggan Bay, it is the only course on Islay, which is pronounced “eye-la” and boasts some 3,000 inhabitants. It also happens to be one of my favorites in all of Scotland, thanks to its seaside setting and pleasing mix of holes that compelled me...
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