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Scotland: ‘an amazing place’

Matt Lauer shares the joy of his adventure to Scotland’s Skibo Castle and the holy grail of golf: St. Andrews.
/ Source: TODAY

At last a destination choice for “Where in the World?” that was 100 percent mine — Scotland. There are so many wonderful things about this country, and no doubt that both places I visited during my short stay counted among them.

BUT FIRST, let me describe my trip here. We left Morocco shortly after going off the air, at about 2 p.m. local time. Fortunately, our flight was a (relatively speaking) short one — just 4 1/2 hours to Edinburgh, Scotland. Upon our arrival, I headed via car just about an hour away to the holy grail of golf — St. Andrews. They say that golf was born here, and given my love of the game, I can think of no better stop to make. It may surprise people that this was my first trip to the Old Course — home to several British Opens. Ironically, my first trip there would not even afford me enough time to play one hole — a fact that will surely be a source of ridicule by my golfing buddies for years to come!

After a quick dinner and a look over my notes (and wardrobe!) for Wednesday’s show, it was time for bed. At 7 a.m. this morning, I was on the course with one of the St. Andrews caddies for a lesson on getting out of their enormous sand traps, or bunkers as they like to call them. The rich history of the club is impressive, and he has caddied for everyone from Michael Jordan to President Bush.

I boarded a helicopter next and headed for Dornoch and the majestic Skibo Castle — site of Madonna’s wedding and even my own honeymoon! It is almost impossible to convey in writing the beauty of this place. I hope that our camera shots this morning did it justice. Upon my arrival to Skibo, I was treated to a traditional Scottish breakfast of scrambled eggs with salmon, and given a beautiful room to prepare for the show.

And now, a few words about my attire for the show at Skibo — my kilt. the kilt is the traditional dress for men in Scotland, and it’s recently making somewhat of a comeback with the high-fashion crowd. My tartan was the official one of Skibo, and it was beautiful. I have to be honest: I was initially a bit skeptical about wearing the kilt — for obvious reasons. But after seeing the whole thing put together, I thought it looked great. And as for the question I was asked most this morning, what was I wearing underneath the kilt? I’ll never tell.

I think Skibo really represents so much of why Scotland is such an amazing place — from the history of the Carnegie family, the rolling hills and stunning gardens and the lone bagpiper winding his way through the grounds each morning, it will always be a favorite for me.

However, as is the case with each stop along the way of this trip, there is no time to linger. It’s onward and upward (literally) as I again take to the skies and head off for day four.