Scotland is famous for many things, including its whiskey production, its wildlife, its historic buildings, and its sweeping landscapes. It is also famous for its golf courses as it has some of the most outstanding golf courses anywhere in the world and many of these have hosted some of the top international golfing events. Whether you live in Scotland or you are simply visiting this beautiful country, you will have multiple choices for places to play golf and each of the courses offers a different experience. Here are the 10 best golf courses in Scotland.
Internationally, Gleneagles is one of the better-known golf courses in Scotland as it has hosted some of the biggest events, including the 2014 Ryder Cup. The course offers a combination of natural beauty and challenges for players at all levels. There are three courses at Gleneagles. One of the best for amateurs to play is Queen’s, which is the shortest of the three courses proving that length isn't always an advantage on a golf course. This is an enchanting course that features several holes around a small lock. The club has enhanced the aesthetics of this course by adding more heather.
Golf Monthly describes Kingsbarns golf course as having generous fairways and gathering greens, which means that this modern links course is not too challenging. Kingsbarns is located on the beautiful Scottish coastline, so there are stunning sea views from many points on the course. In the last 20 years, this course has become one of the best seaside tracks. The two standout holes on the course at the 12th and 13th holes as these are directly on the shoreline.
8. Prestwick Golf Club
Prestwick Golf Club is the birthplace of the Open Championship, and the course now welcomes golfers from around the world. This traditional links course is considered testing, even by professional players. It is also set in stunning surroundings, so the experience of playing here is pleasant. However, playing here is about more than the golf, it is also about experiencing the history of this golfing destination. First-time visitors should definitely spend some time in the clubhouse after completing their round of golf to admire the golf history artifacts that are housed there.
7. Royal Aberdeen Golf Club
Located just a mile from the city center of Aberdeen, this world-famous course has city views on one side and sea views on the other. The course was established in 1870, and it is considered one of the most testing and spectacular of all the links golf courses in Scotland. The layout of the course has changed many times over the years, and the current layout includes many sandhills and elevated tees. There are many challenges along the way, and one of the par-3s has no less than 18 pot bunkers surrounding it.
6. Castle Stuart Golf Links
The history of the links at Castle Stuart is one of the reasons that this course is considered a beacon for the Highlands. Castle Stuart sits at the center point of this unusual course, which overlooks the Moray Firth. There are also views of some of the iconic landmarks of Inverness and the Black Isle, such as Chanonry Lighthouse and Kessock Bridge. The undulated greens are in excellent condition and it is a fun course to play.
5. Trump Turnberry Resort
If you are visiting Scotland and want to stay in a golf resort, then Trump Turnberry Golf Resort is one of the best options. This resort is the home of the Championship Ailsa course that has hosted four Open Championships. It has recently had its design updated by Martin Ebert. Players have described this as an exceptional golf experience. One of the interesting features of this golf course is the halfway house which is located in the course’s iconic lighthouse.
4. Royal Dornoch Golf Club
Founded in 1877, this golf club became a Royal golf club more than 100 years ago. The course was designed by Tom Morris, who created a magical golfing experience from the unique links-land. This is a great destination for a relaxed and informal game of golf. There is an emphasis on traditional highland hospitality at this club.
3. Loch Lomond Golf Club
Listed as one of the best golf courses in Scotland by Leading Courses is Loch Lomond Golf Club. Its location on the banks of the loch and against a mountainous backdrop means it is considered one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. This course was designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf, and it was opened in 1933. It is often rank as one of the best inland golf courses in Great Britain.
2. Championship Course, Carnoustie
The Open was played on the Championship Course at Carnoustie for the 8th time in 2018. It is a links classic course that is considered one of Scotland’s finest. When the course was built in 1842, it was originally a 10-hole course but was later extended to an 18-hole course. It is a tough course to play, especially in stronger winds, as there are narrow fairways, lots of bunkering, out of bounds, and a snaking section called Barry Burn. The final stretch of the course is particularly daunting.
1. Old Course, St. Andrews
If you only intend to play on one course in Scotland, then you should make sure it is the Old Course at St. Andrews. Dating back to 1552, this is the oldest golf course in Scotland, so it is considered a pioneering destination for golf. Not only is the course steeped in history, but it is also probably the most famous course in Scotland. Golf Breaks says that some of the finest golf players in the world have played on this course, and it has hosted many of golf’s biggest events. Many describe St. Andrew’s as a golfing mecca.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker