Top 5 Scottish Sports Stars
Considering its relatively small size, Scotland has produced an incredible number of sporting superstars across a wide variety of disciplines
The sheer number of legends produced by this Gaelic nation makes it difficult to pinpoint just 5 individuals who have stood head and shoulders above the rest in their respective sports.
On the back of the recent addition of one of the best golf courses in Scotland to our ever growing portfolio of golfing destinations, we thought that we’d give it a go anyway. What better way could there be to welcome Dundonald Links into the ever growing Darwin Golf portfolio?
So take a look through and let us know if you agree with our list of the top 5 Scottish sports stars of all time:
1. Sir Chris Hoy
Edinburgh born Chris Hoy is one of the most successful British Olympic stars of all time, having picked up six gold and 1 silver medal during his prestigious career.
Hoy won his first gold medals in the 2004 games in Athens before picking up another three in Beijing.
His final Olympic successes came in the past possible fashion in front of his home fans at the 2012 London games, providing Hoy with the opportunity to be one of the figureheads of Team GB during their home games.
His tally of medals makes Hoy the 2nd most decorated Olympic cyclist of all time and Scotland’s most successful Olympian.
In addition to his Olympic success, Hoy is also an 11 time World Champion at the UCI Track cycling world championships; marking himself out as one of the sports true greats.
Following his retirement from cycling, Hoy turned his focus to motor racing where his attention to detail and dedication saw him win the LMP3 Class of the European Le Mans series in 2015.
2. Sir Andy Murray
Andy Murray rose to prominence in the mid-2000s and finally gave the Scottish fans the chance to cheer on a potential home winner at Wimbledon each year.
Murray is a genuine sporting superstar and became the first British tennis player to be named World Number 1 when he beat John Isner in the final of the Paris Masters in 2016; displacing Novak Djokovic. This is a position which he would maintain into 2017.
During his glittering career, the Glaswegian won three Gland Slam tournaments, triumphed at the Davis Cup in 2015, Won the ATP World Tour and picked up two Gold Olympic medals including winning the singles tournament at the 2012 London Games.
Amongst these three Gland Slam titles is of course his two Wimbledon triumphs where he really captured the hearts and minds of the British Public and became the first British winner of the event since Fred Perry in 1936.
Despite his recent struggles with injuries, Murray will always remain thought of as having been one of the greatest Tennis players which our country has ever produced and one of the most intelligent tacticians whilst at play that the sport has ever seen.
3. Sir Jackie Stewart
Jackie Stewart is one of the most successful British motor racing drivers of all time, having won three Formula 1 World Championships during the 1960s and 1970s.
Stewart is generally considered to be one of the greatest drivers the sport has even seen, with his tally of 27 grand prix wins having remained a record for 13 years following his retirement. Famed for his ultra smooth driving style, the Scot often excelled on the most dangerous of circuits at a time when fatalities were all too common in the sport.
His inspirational performances and trend setting style marked him out as one of the sports first celebrities; with George Harrison even writing a song about him called ‘Faster’. Stewart appeared in the music video for the single alongside Harrison.
However, it wasn’t just driving that Stewart was adept at; did you know that he also came within a whisker of representing Britain at the Summer Olympic Games in 1960 for clay pigeon shooting?
In addition to his exploits in the sporting arena, the 3 times World Champion also ran his own successful Formula 1 team. Despite a limited budget, Stewart Grand Prix won the European Grand Prix in 1999 and remains a regular race winner to this day now under the ownership of Red Bull.
4. Gary Armstrong OBE
Hailing from the small town of Jedburgh, Gary Armstrong is commonly thought of as being one of the greatest Scottish Rugby players of all time having captained Scotland to victory at the Five Nations in 1999 and also having achieved success at a domestic level being a major part of the Newcastle Falcons English Rugby Union Premiership victory in 1998.
Nicknamed the Border Terrier, Armstrong is famous for fearlessness; tackling well above his weight and with a knack for being able to break around the fringes. This saw him being chosen to represent his country on 51 occasions, making him Scotland’s most capped male scrum half. Alongside the 1999 Five Nations success, he also was a major part of their 1990 Grand Slam win against England.
Armstrong’s bravery and determination often came at the expense of his own physical health, with the Scot suffering two serious knee injuries during his career which put temporary halts to his on pitch exploits on both occasions. The fact that he managed to return to the sport so successfully on both occasions and play with the same legendary vigour is a testament to his fighting spirit.
He retired from international play in 1999 and then hung up his boots completely in 2004 having returned to play for the newly formed Borders team in his native Scotland.
5. James Braid
Born in Fife in 1870, Braid is perhaps the most multi-talented golfer of all time having shown himself to be skilled across various different aspects of the sport.
He started playing at a very young age before working as a golf club maker in his youth on account of his passion for the sport. Turning his attention to playing golf in 1896, he overcame initial problems with putting to progress to a level which enabled him to win the Open Championship on five occasions between 1901 and 1910.
In addition to his success in the Open, Braid also won the British PGA Match play Championships five times, as well as winning the French Open title in 1910.
Showcasing his multi-disciplinary prowess, Braid turned his attention to architecture becoming one of the most highly acclaimed golf course designer of all time. He would go on to design over 200 golf courses during his glittered 2nd career in the sport which includes the prestigious ‘Kings Course’ and ‘Queens Course’ at Gleneagles.
Did you know that two of our holiday resorts are located close to two of Braid’s finest golf courses? Tilford Woods Lodge Retreat in Surrey is located right alongside Hankley Common Golf Club where he was involved with expanding the course from 9 to 18 holes in 1922.
Rhyl Golf Club is also one of Braid’s golf courses from 1890 and is just a short distance from our own New Pines Holiday Home Park in North Wales, which also offers holiday home ownership with an option for a free years membership at the golf club from our Summer offer.
There can surely be no better way to celebrate the arrival of one of the best golf courses in Scotland into our portfolio, then by looking at some of the greatest sporting stars to have emerged from the country.
So what do you think? Have we hit the nail on the head or are there some key sporting heroes that you feel we have missed off? Why not get in touch and let us know by using the contact form below. We welcome any opportunity to discuss our much loved sports, including of course golf which is becoming an ever greater part of the Darwin Escapes offering.
If you want to learn more about our 2 existing golf courses and our plans for Dundonald Links, then head over to the new Darwin Golf hub.