Gleneagles Townhouse
Eilidh Barbour

Why Gleneagles is the Undisputed Number 1

23 August 2023

We spoke to BBC golf presenter and Gleneagles regular Eilidh Barbour about some of her favourite memories of the Glen, both on and off the course…

When did you first visit Gleneagles?

I remember going when I was quite young, maybe around 12 or 13. Like a lot of my friends I had a pony growing up and we would go for show jumping meets at Gleneagles with the pony club. I think that was probably my earliest visit there and then later, in my teenage years, I would volunteer at some of the golf tournaments. I particularly remember doing scoring for the McDonald’s WGPA and later the Johnnie Walker on the European Tour.


How often do you play here now and how would you describe the difference between the courses?

It varies how often I can get here, depending on my working schedule. I have a great group of girls I play at Gleneagles with in Heather MacRae, Hannah McCook and Ellie Gower. All players far beyond my level, but we have fun! We probably play more out of the summer season with their competition schedules. I find it very difficult to pick between the King’s and Queen’s as my favourite. The Queen’s is just a wonderful, gentler but still challenging test while the King’s I find tougher, but it has fantastic views and every hole poses a different challenge. I’m not their longest hitter, I’m still very much learning the game, so the PGA can be more of a slog for me, particularly ‘Why Gleneagles is the Undisputed Number 1’ EILIDH BARBOUR if the weather isn’t on my side! But it is so special playing down 15 and up 18 with the recent history of the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup.

Gleneagles is ranked second only to Bandon Dunes in the world – as a native of Perthshire, does that make you proud?

I have had the pleasure of staying at Gleneagles a few times and it truly is an incredibly special experience. I don’t think I can say I’ve stayed anywhere quite like it in terms of everything being done to ensure it’s as perfect as it can be. When you add in the surroundings of the Perthshire hills it’s pretty hard to beat in my opinion. It’s a special part of the world..


How would you describe the experience of staying here?

There is no doubt the hotel is stunning. The changes that have been made have further enhanced what was already there. It’s sometimes hard to believe you’re 45 minutes from home. It’s hard to sum up; it’s luxury, but it’s also true to its surroundings. It’s not lavish or OTT, it perfectly fits where it is while including the indulgences of top-level hospitality. The staff are wonderful, nothing is a problem, everything is designed to maximise your experience and enjoyment of the hotel, the area and the activities. And don’t get me started on the breakfast – the best ever!

Aside from golf, what else do you like doing here?

I tend to just golf and eat! To be honest, if I’m going walking I’d usually go up to Dunkeld where my parents are and walk there, so it’s really just a golfing venue for me the majority of the time.


Finally, tell us about your hole-in-one!

The 14th on the Queen’s in the first round of the Gleneagles Pro-Am! Around 160 yards, two-tiered green with the flag on the bottom tier. I’d been playing very average golf all day, but had been hitting my hybrid quite nicely, so I pulled it out and just hit a perfect sweet connection, which I was delighted with. I didn’t think about much else. I wasn’t even looking until one of my playing partners, Max Evans, started shouting, so I looked up, saw it bounce, roll and then disappear. It was such a buzz! And we all went absolutely mental, you would’ve heard us on the PGA Centenary, I’m sure! What a moment. It’s one of those incredible things with golf that you can do something that the pros still get such a buzz out of, and now I know why. It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had playing sport and so special to do it in a competition. I’ve got a certificate which will be framed in pride of place on the wall!