PEAT, the whisper of the word feels Scottish.
You are suddenly lost in deep, smoky, intense flavours of Scotland’s greatest luxury export – Whisky – preferably a vintage Single Malt, made with grain dried over a peaty fire, then aged slowly in an oak barrel.
Speaking of Scottish luxury, there’s a village, around seven miles from St Andrews – the “Home of Golf” – called Peat Inn.
There you’ll find an unassuming row of houses, a Michelin-starred restaurant and a new golfing retreat hard to match for exclusivity and comfort.
Hawkswood House, The Roundel and Bowhill Bed and Breakfast is a collection of three five-star properties on a secluded rural estate owned by the Ainscough Family.
Owner John and daughter turned General Manager Mary-Jo have transformed a derelict farmstead into a stunning golfing getaway for groups with no expense spared.
The main dwelling, Hawkswood House, was once a dilapidated stables. The other, The Roundel, a neglected kennels.
The transformation is remarkable. The two houses are blissfully private but best of all bordered by a short game practice area for exclusive use by guests.
Here you can hit everything from a 60-yard wedge to a chip and run before you head out to tackle any of the seven courses operated by The St Andrews Links Trust.
The area was designed by a professional golfer and features a realistic synthetic green and a bunker with authentic white links sand.
In a next field across, John built a six-bay 300-yard driving range which opened in Summer 2017.
An open and warm character from Lancashire, England, John was responsible for growing Ainscough Crane Hire into the largest lifting services and crane hire company in Scotland.
His vision seems to know no bounds.
Next on the do-list, alongside the driving range, is a private heli-pad, making it even easier for the rich and famous to drop in for a couple of nights and a round on The Old Course.
Edinburgh Airport is only 75 minutes’ drive away and rail services run from London to Leuchars, around 15 minutes’ away by taxi or collection by Hawkswood’s private shuttle service.
The place immediately reminds you of the incredible Florida tax-haven homes owned by PGA Tour stars, with their own personal back-yard practice holes and putting greens. The only things missing being the swimming pool and the jetty for the private yacht.
I stayed here in March, as part of a University of St Andrews golf team reunion and a 40th birthday celebration.
Nothing was too much trouble. Food and wine was delivered in advance and was waiting for us on arrival. There was ample parking for around 10 cars.
The properties have 10-bedrooms, five each, and can cater for 20 golfers. Four additional en-suite bedrooms are available at Bowhill Bed and Breakfast.
Each is beautifully appointed with an en-suite bathroom, comfortable beds, tasteful décor and toiletries supplied by the White Company London.
The communal living spaces are exceptional, with log burners, welcoming couches, flat screen TV’s and a complete Sky package – including that all-important Sky Sports Golf coverage.
The kitchens have everything you could possibly need from steam ovens and microwaves to induction hobs. The array of drinking vessels, from cognac glasses to wine goblets is superb.
There are two tall fridge freezers and guests are welcomed with a hamper containing luxury crisps, quinoa couscous, breakfast cereals, fine Italian filter coffee, bread and preserves.
Hospitable Hawkswood House
Hawkswood House has an open, airy conservatory that is perfect for dining and entertaining and our group held a celebration dinner here for all 20 guests.
The properties are seven miles from St Andrews, which makes it a challenge to enjoy the town’s many watering holes at night, however, two Hawkswood Mercedes shuttle buses are available to taxi guests to local golf courses, nearby tourist attractions and into St Andrews of an evening.
The properties are lit-up at night which makes you feel secure and able to find your way easily into any property.
Hawkswood House and The Roundel opened for business in 2014 and has already attracted famous names to stay.
Nick Faldo at Hawkswood House and The Roundel
Nick Faldo used it as his base for the 2015 Open at St Andrews, which was to be his last hurrah in a tournament he’s won three times.
His spiritual farewell was put in jeopardy when he cut his hand on a set of mounted deer antlers when pulling on his shirt at Hawkswood House.
The antlers hang in the main dining room of the house and another set of antlers has been turned into a hanging ornament above the banquet table.
His accident probably left him stressed but there are ample ways to relax here.
Both houses have a large Hydro Spas and there are also spa-jet baths to ease those aching muscles after a long day on the links.
In Summer time, guests can enjoy the Mediterranean barbecues situated on the patio areas outside, as well as the terrace balcony in Hawkswood House which is ideal for evening drinks while a chip-off takes place beneath on the short game zone.
There are few properties so well equipped and situated for large golfing groups as this one.
Its owners have worked tirelessly and paid attention to every detail to ensure a service and experience that is truly special and memorable.
The location, close to so many outstanding links courses in The Kingdom of Fife -read our review of golf in Fife here – is another superb advantage.
You can easily reach the links at Elie, Lundin, Leven and Crail or head inland to beautiful Ladybank.
There are 36 holes at nearby Fairmont St Andrews resort, The Dukes Course and the seven courses operated by St Andrews Links Trust – including the newest Castle Course.
Like the subtle taste of fine Malts – and its peat fired finish – the great luxury of Hawkswood House and The Roundel was hewn from humble beginnings and by moving plenty of earth and dirt.
Matthew Moore was a paying guest at Hawkswood House, along with a golfing group of 20, in March 2017.
STAY AT HAWKSWOOD HOUSE
Tel: 01334 840 830
Prices – from £700 per night per house/ can fluctuate during peak season