When you think of attentive hotel service, golf therapy over breakfast does not immediately spring to mind.
But we were grateful for the advice as we scraped up the last morsels of black pudding half way through our two-night stay at Murrayshall.
“People think too much when they play golf,” said operations manager Alan Reid.
“It’s a simple game but they overcomplicate it. As long as you swing through with the club face in the right place at contact you can’t go wrong.
“You worry about a pond in front of the green, but you’re going for the green so why worry about the water?”
Alan was spot on. The previous day’s round on the challenging Murrayshall course saw me succumb to an embarrassingly categorical matchplay defeat to my only slightly superior golfing partner Dan, with a third of the course still to play.
“You shook hands out in the countryside,” Alan Reid, the head professional, could not resist quipping (yes there are two Alan Reids at Murrayshall).
I feared I would be scarred by this trip’s cruel reminder of my golf limitations, but what a setting to come to terms with your sporting flaws.
Nestled in a 350-acre basin of Perthshire parkland are two first-rate courses, Murrayshall, the complex’s flagship course, and Lynedoch, a shorter round but with vistas limited only by the haze enveloping the skyline.
The eponymous course, which has hosted national and international events over the years, is seen as the tougher of the two with inviting tree-lined fairways often providing a false sense of security on route to treacherous greens, fiendishly guarded by ponds, burns and bunkers.
Your approach game has to be precise and failing to judge the speed and slope of the greens will leave you foundering hopelessly away from par, a sensation I experienced more often than not.
The Dogs Grave at the 7th tempts you in off the tee with a right-hooked fairway that separates the brave golfer, (or reckless?), from the meek (sensible?). The danger doesn’t end there with an approach shot having to breach a stream that scars the fairway towards a tightly-proportioned, elevated green.
The par-three 4th over troubled water – the subject of our breakfast chat with management earlier – caused me more than a touch of bother.
I felt so buoyed after our motivational pep-talk. But that faltered as soon as my strike ripped up more turf than ball off the tee to produce a pitiful pond-plopping flop shot. It was a sinking feeling in every sense, but a great showpiece hole nonetheless.
There were brighter moments of course, not least the spotting of a majestic bird of prey soaring amid the sky-scraping pines that splinter the course. We were in Osprey territory, but unfortunately my bird identifying skills at that range are even less accurate than my tee shots.
While the Murrayshall course is consistently – and quite rightly – regarded as among the best inland courses in the country, the Lynedoch offered the best all-round experience for me.
At 5,300 yards, the par-69 is short by most standards. But what it lacks in length it gains in charm and challenge.
Much of the course elevates up from green to tee in what sometimes feels like a spiral staircase towards ever more rewarding views.
The course meanders through towering Scots pine woodland and lush wildflower meadows, which narrows the fairways to make accurate driving a must.
The greens, as well conditioned as they are, have an unpredictable quality to them and often sit on plinths, leaving an only marginally off-centre approach shot bouncing out of contention.
The thigh-burn from the climb is a small price to pay for the joy of the 15th hole, a 300-yard tempter called Lynedoch View.
The tee sits high on the hillside bearing down on a fairway that leads down a slope towards the flag.
My playing partner Dan spanked two balls off the tee into forest, so I chose to dollop a 5-iron into the middle of the fairway.
A grateful victory on that hole, but perhaps slightly tarnished by the regret of not having a crack at the green.
The 18th hole offers a stunning sign-off as the fairway opens out generously into a panoramic view from the green. It gave us a taste for a richly-deserved rest at the 19th hole, where more vistas awaited, along with a couple of frothing dark ales.
Perched on a sunned terrace looking over the final Murrayshall hole, the tap of hard steel through pimpled plastic provided the musical backdrop to the replenishing long-range sight of Perthshire’s mountainous horizon.
The setting helped to banish the memories of the devastating thud of turf being uprooted by a hopelessly off-line iron shot.
The exhaustive menu of the whisky trolley in Murrayshall’s charming house hotel was also key in coming to terms with some of the horror strokes made earlier in the day.
As the post-mortem was given renewed vigour by the liquid refreshment, we had the chance to admire the regal quality and decorative ambience of the public areas of the hotel, with this best evidenced in the main bar.
The antiqued charm is given a warm glow with the abundance of rich red colours and solid oak furnishings, which provide the cosiest of venues for evening reflection.
Onto the Old Masters restaurant, which holds two AA Rosettes and a menu that has a strong nod to traditional Scottish dining with an injection of continental flair.
My smoked breast and confit leg duck plate, complete with noodle rosti and soy consommé, proved a charismatic take on a rustic dish.
It was all a world away from the trials and tribulations of that tetchy par-3 on the 4th. Perhaps fine dining is more my game.
Murrayshall is offering an October golf break at £69 per person, per night through the month.
That is based on two people sharing a superior room and inclusive of accommodation, breakfast and one round of golf per night stay.
Murrayshall House Hotel and Golf Courses, Scone, Perth, PH2 7PH
Contact: 01738 551171 / www.murrayshall.co.uk