Gleneagles resort in Perthshire, Scotland: So much more than three magnificent golf courses

PERTHSHIRE, Scotland -- Perched up on the hills of Perthshire and originally owned by the Caledonian Railway Company, Gleneagles is a great deal more than three superb golf courses.

Since its doors first swung open in the middle of the Roaring '20s, the imposing and impressive five-star hotel has entertained royalty, film stars, numerous sportsmen and women, loads of celebrities and plenty of the rather well-heeled.

Standing serenely at the top end of that famous drive amidst perfectly manicured lawns, neatly trimmed hedges and colourful flower beds, it exudes quality and evokes an era when the rich and famous visited with the sole purpose of enjoying themselves. And even though times have changed and fashions have moved on, the same single-minded determination to have fun is still at the heart of the Gleneagles experience.

Incidentally, although the occasional young eagle that's been evicted from the nest does, from time to time, put in a fleeting appearance overhead, the name Gleneagles derives not from soaring great birds but from the Gaelic "eaglais" meaning church.

Possibly to make up for any avian disappointment, there is an extremely impressive falconry at Gleneagles that houses dozens of magnificent raptors. There are regular sessions where you can learn how to handle the birds and, for those who fancy it, there's the chance to accompany Harris hawks as they go in pursuit of game birds and rabbits.

As well as hunting, not unsurprisingly, there's shooting and fishing as well on the 850-acre estate, not forgetting horse riding, carriage driving, show jumping, archery, gundog handling, off-road driving, croquet, cycling, walking, swimming, tennis and wildlife photography.

Off course at Gleneagles

For the less energetic, there's an award-winning spa, hair salon, nail bar and a range of shops, including one that only sells whisky.

There are several dining options, including a rare restaurant that boasts two Michelin stars and the popular Dormy Clubhouse.

Inspired by the jazz age glamour of the 1920s, The Bar is the social heart of the hotel. By day, it's great for coffee and shortbread or an informal lunch. In the evening, the lights go down, the music plays softly and extensive but informal research is carried out into the 120 single malt whiskies on offer.

Is this where the Ryder Cup-winning team will congregate on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014 to celebrate its success?

Although in his 60s, with a handicap of 15 and lifetime earnings comfortably below $100, Clive Agran nevertheless still believes he can win a major. Arguably England's most gifted golf writer, when not dreaming of glory he's scouring the globe simultaneously searching for lost balls and great golf courses. Follow Clive on Twitter at @cliveagran.
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Gleneagles resort in Perthshire, Scotland: So much more than three magnificent golf courses