Catriona Matthew MBE is one Scotland’s best known golfers, who plays mostly on the LPGA Tour and is also connected with the Ladies European Tour. She won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2009, has represented Europe in six previous Solheim Cup tournaments and was the vice-captain in 2017. Catriona will captain the European Team in the 2019 Solheim Cup, taking place on the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles between 9– 15 September.
We caught up with her recently and asked her to share some thoughts on just what is so special about Scotland and to tell us about some of her favourite places.
What are your favourite things about playing golf in Scotland?
There’s nothing quite like playing golf in its spiritual homeland, Scotland is simply just the best place to play this glorious game. You never know how a course is going to play here as the weather can change how difficult it is from one day to the next. It’s exciting and unpredictable and you have to use all of your imagination to get yourself around in a good score.
What is your favourite golf course in Scotland and why?
It’s so difficult for me to choose one, I have so many favourites, but if I was pushed I’d have to say North Berwick Golf Club in my hometown. I learnt to play golf there and the shots that I grew up using have stood me in good stead throughout my career. The course is so intricate and I am still learning new things when I get to play there in between tournaments.
What’s your favourite place for a holiday in Scotland?
It depends what you want to do because Scotland is such a diverse country. If you want to play golf for a week, staying in St Andrews is a must as there is something like seven golf courses, including the Old Course, in the town itself, as well as plenty of other great courses nearby. If I was trying to get away from the golf course though, I really enjoy how quiet it is in Loch Lomond it’s so peaceful and calm.
Where is a great place to enjoy Scottish food?
I love going along to the harbour in North Berwick, especially in the summer, where you get some great fresh seafood, at The Lobster Shack for example. I don’t think us Scots value the quality of produce, especially seafood, we have in Scotland as much as we should. BUT of course I also love haggis, neeps and tatties. You can’t get this hearty dish anywhere else in the world. There’s a lovely pub called the Tormaukin Arms in beautiful Glen Devon, near Gleneagles, which serves great haggis, neeps and tatties that I’d really recommend.
Do you have a favourite place to take your dog for a walk?
Our dog Rio loves getting outside at every opportunity but we all particularly love the walk along the beach from North Berwick to Yellowcraig – that’s a great walk.
What are some of your favourite experiences for families in Scotland?
My girls love going to Foxlake Adventures in Dunbar…there’s lots to do there including a ziptrail over water, wakeboarding and Segway rides. There’s now a Wild Shore in Dundee, that’s on the waterfront just next to the new V&A Dundee and RRS Discovery, which we want to visit.
Is there a place in Scotland you’ve not yet been to that you’d love to visit?
I would love to visit some of Scotland’s beautiful islands, they are on my wish list but I still haven’t made trips yet. I have seen some stunning images of the clear turquoise water and white sands of Iona and Harris that are often compared to the Caribbean. I can imagine being with the whole family, walking Rio our dog, on some of these picture-perfect beaches. In Scotland, we are just so lucky that these places are right on our doorstep!
What would your top attraction suggestions be for your Solheim Cup co-captain?
Edinburgh is probably one of the most scenic cities in the world, so I would have to start there. From the historic Edinburgh Castle to Parliament Square, it is truly a great place to visit, with no shortage of things to do. If you can get there during the Festival, or the Fringe, then so much the better. Outside of the city, I’d have to suggest exploring Perthshire with a visit to Scone Palace, which is steeped in history as the crowning place of Scottish kings. My third option would be to head for the Highlands and the Cairngorms National Park. An especially nice forest walk is to Lochan Uaine – the Green Lochan.
Why is Scotland the ideal place to host the Solheim Cup?
Scotland is such a passionate sporting nation and particularly when it comes to golf, we have some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated fans and over 570 golf courses to test your game. We love hosting world-class sporting events and with The Solheim Cup being one of the biggest women’s golfing events of the year, it was only a matter of time before we hosted the event again, having last staged it in 2000. I know that the whole country will get behind Team European at Gleneagles this September and I can’t wait.
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the PGA Centenary Course is both challenging and rewarding – providing the perfect stage for this biggest spectacle in women’s golf.
Thanks Catriona for those insider tips. We can’t wait for the tournament to start as teams, from the USA and Europe go head-to-head to win the ultimate prize in ladies golf.