If you are an amateur golfer who loves to play championship courses, England and Scotland have dozens of them.
At a time when many of the top tournament courses in the United States are difficult, if not impossible, to get to play because of their exclusivity, the best courses of England and Scotland are open.
Keep that in mind as you watch the British Open July 17-22 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England.
I played Royal Birkdale on a vacation trip in the fall of 2007 that also included Royal Lytham & St. Annes and Royal Liverpool, all within an hour's drive of Liverpool, England. I also played the famed Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland.
Pictured at right are pot bunkers guarding a green at Royal Liverpool.
As an amateur golfer who sometimes labors to break 100, I felt blessed to walk the fairways of some of the world's best courses.
Yes, English pounds come at a high price these days, as the exchange rate pushes golf fees at some courses to over $250, but other championship venues, while not Royal, are available for as little as $70.
You don't just show up in England; you arrange a tee time through a tour operator or through a special Web site, England's Golf Coast. You can book tee times and accommodations, including the clubhouse at Lytham, where the weekday package of about $330 includes golf, three meals and accommodations in the Course and Dormy House.
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Molyneaux is editor of TravelMavens.net. CLICK for articles on cruising, golf, Florida, Europe, adventure and travel gear and gadgets.