Top 8 Best Golf Courses in Scotland

Last updated on May 20, 2024 in Best of Golf 0 comment.
best golf courses in Scotland

Golf in Scotland is often regarded as the finest in the world, and it is no wonder why the country proudly holds the title of the Home of Golf. Many of the top golf courses in Scotland would easily rank among the best in the world.

Frequently asked, how to choose a golf course in Scotland that is both challenging and enjoyable. It is quite a difficult question because no place on Earth is more synonymous with golf than Scotland. In the following article, we will feature some of the best golf courses in Scotland, each with a different experience. Prepare to be amazed by our picks.

An Overview of Scotland’s Golfing Scene

Scotland is known as the birthplace of golf with a rich golf heritage that attracts golf enthusiasts from all over the world. This country is home to an abundance of world-class golf courses. The most famous golf course in Scotland is the St. Andrews, which is often referred to as the “Home of Golf.”

Golfing in Scotland is a deeply immersive experience. It is not only about an exciting golf experience but also a journey through stunning landscapes, historic links, and demanding terrains. The weather in Scotland is often unpredictable with winds from the North Sea adding an extra level of difficulty to the game.

Golfing in Scotland also represents a cultural pilgrimage for those wishing to connect with the roots of the game while enjoying Scottish hospitality in cozy clubhouses and nearby pubs. You will never regret your experience whether playing on world-famous golf courses in Scotland or discovering the hidden ones.

Why Golf in Scotland?

Often referred to as the Home of Golf, the country of Scotland offers a unique blend of traditions and challenges that appeals to all golfers.

Firstly, this country is home to more than 550 legendary golf courses, like St. Andrews where the sport’s roots trace back centuries. The variety of golf courses in Scotland, from rugged coastal links to lush inland fairways, is another reason for you to set foot on this golf destination. In addition, the unpredictable weather, with its gusty winds and challenging conditions, will add an extra layer of challenge to your golf round.

The last and most important, the Scottish golfing culture extends beyond the courses. Warm hospitality in clubhouses and local pubs enhances the overall experience. Here, you can immerse yourself in the local culture and community, making friends with other players and enjoying mouth-watering traditional Scottish dishes.

Best Golf Courses in Scotland

1. The Old Course at St Andrews

  • Hole: 18, Par: 72, Length: 6670 yards
  • Location: W Sands Rd, St Andrews KY16 9XL, United Kingdom
  • Type: Links course
The 17th at St Andrew's - Old Course

The 17th at St Andrew’s – Old Course

The Old Course at St. Andrews is a legendary golfing destination. Dating back to 1552 and known as the “Home of Golf,” this is a pilgrimage site for golf enthusiasts worldwide. This course has been the hosting venue for the Open Championship 30 times.

Walking its fairways, you will tread the same paths as some of the game’s greatest players. Its course’s layout, with double greens and strategic bunkers like the Swilcan Bridge and Hell Bunker, is a timeless test of skill and strategy.

For many golfers, playing the Old Course is a dream come true. It is not only about golf but also a chance to connect with the origins of this sport while soaking in the historic ambiance of St. Andrews. Booking a tee time at this course can be competitive but the experience is truly unparalleled.

2. Royal Dornoch Golf Club

  • Hole: 18, Par: 70 (men) and 76 (ladies), Length: 6799 yards
  • Location: Royal Dornoch Club Golf, Golf Rd, Dornoch IV25 3LW, UK
  • Type: Links course
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - one of the best golf courses in UK

Royal Dornoch Golf Club

Royal Dornoch Golf Club is a hidden gem in the Scottish Highlands. Its Championship Course is often regarded as one of the best golf courses in the UK, despite never having hosted an Open. Its remote location contributes to its lesser-known status, yet it remains a beloved destination for avid golfers.

Five-time Open champion Tom Watson famously praised Royal Dornoch as the most fun he had ever had playing golf. The course is consistently ranked among the top 10 in the world thanks to the challenging yet enjoyable experience it brings to players of all levels.

This course provides an authentic links golf experience with its natural beauty, undulating fairways, and strategic bunkering. Sometimes, the famous Scottish showers add to the charm and challenge.

3. The Ailsa Course at Turnberry Resort

  • Hole: 18, Par: 71 (men) and 74 (ladies), Length: 7489 yards
  • Location: Turnberry, Girvan KA26 9LS, United Kingdom
  • Type: Links course
The Ailsa Course at Turnberry Resort

The Ailsa Course at Turnberry Resort

The Ailsa Course at Turnberry Resort ranks 3rd in the list of the best golf courses in Scotland, a premier example of the country’s high standard of links golf. This 100-year-old course also frequently ranks among the top 20 best golf courses in the world.

This course is famously known for hosting the “Duel in the Sun” in 1977, where Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson battled in an epic showdown.

Recent renovations by Mackenzie & Ebert have elevated the Ailsa Course to new heights. These modifications represent one of the most significant transformations in recent golf history, bringing the course up to modern standards while still preserving its classic charm.

The Ailsa Course also offers stunning coastal views, challenging layouts, and a rich history. Playing at this Scottish golf course is not just a round of golf; it’s an experience steeped in tradition and excellence.

4. Muirfield Golf Club

  • Hole: 18, Par: 71, Length: 6245 yards
  • Location: Muirfield, Duncur Rd, Gullane EH31 2EG, UK
  • Type: Links course
Muirfield in Scotland

Muirfield in Scotland

Muirfield Golf Club is home to the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and is often considered the finest course in the Open Championship rotation. Its intelligent design offers a challenging yet fair layout, with each hole presenting unique strategic demands.

Muirfield has been the stage for many memorable victories, with legends like Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, and Phil Mickelson all having won the Claret Jug here. Its East Lothian links provide a classic golfing experience that has earned the admiration of some of the greatest players in the game.

Golfers appreciate Muirfield for its meticulous design and the opportunity to play on a course that has shaped championship history. The thrill of attempting shots that defined careers adds to the allure, making a round at Muirfield a must for serious golf enthusiasts seeking to walk in the footsteps of champions.

5. North Berwick Golf Club

  • Hole: 18, Par: 71 (men) and 74 (ladies), Length: 6509 yards
  • Location: New Club House, Beach Rd, North Berwick EH39 4BB, United Kingdom
  • Type: Links course
North Berwick - West Course

North Berwick – West Course

North Berwick Golf Club’s West Links is one of the most unique and charming golf courses in Scotland, located just 10 minutes from Muirfield. It was established in 1832 and rapidly became a regular Open Qualifying venue.

The West Links is renowned for its stunning views of the North Sea and the Forth estuary, as well as its distinctive and quirky holes that provide a fun and memorable golfing experience. Each hole offers its own set of challenges and delights, keeping you on your feet till the end of the golf round.

Easily accessible from the A1, North Berwick’s West Links is a must-visit for any golfer looking to experience the rich variety of Scottish links courses. Its combination of history, beauty, and unique design ensures that a round of golf here is both enjoyable and unforgettable.

  • Hole: 18, Par: 72 (men) and 71 (ladies), Length: 6945 yards
  • Location: Links House, Links Parade, Carnoustie DD7 7JE, United Kingdom
  • Type: Links course
Carnoustie Golf Links

Carnoustie Golf Links

Carnoustie Golf Links is a legendary course that offers a true test of links golf in Scotland. First played in 1527, its Championship Course was initially laid out as a 10-hole route by Allan Robertson in 1842, with Old Tom Morris completing the full 18 holes fifteen years later.

Carnoustie is often dubbed “Carnasty” due to its notoriously difficult finishing stretch, especially challenging when the wind picks up. This course has hosted the Open Championship eight times, witnessing some of the tournament’s most memorable moments. One of the most famous is Jean Van de Velde’s dramatic collapse on the 72nd hole in 1999. More recently, in 2018, Francesco Molinari triumphed over Rory McIlroy and a resurgent Tiger Woods to claim victory.

The combination of historical significance, challenging layout, and dramatic coastal scenery makes Carnoustie Golf Links a must-visit destination for any golfers seeking to test their skills on one of the world’s most iconic courses.

  • Hole: 18, Par: 72, Length: 7226 yards
  • Location: Back Stile, Kingsbarns, St Andrews KY16 8QD, United Kingdom
  • Type: Links course
Kingsbarns Golf Links

Kingsbarns Golf Links

Kingsbarns Golf Links is a stunning modern links course in Scotland that quickly gained recognition for its exceptional design and mature feel. Despite not being part of the Open Championship rotations, many consider it on par with the prestigious courses of nearby St. Andrews.

Golf enthusiasts can witness the beauty and challenge of Kingsbarns during the annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the DP World Tour. The course’s layout offers a perfect blend of scenic coastal views and strategic golfing challenges, making it a favorite among both players and spectators.

Kingsbarns’ expertly crafted holes, rolling fairways, and natural terrain create an unforgettable golfing experience. Its ability to blend modern design with the traditional elements of links golf has earned it a special place in the hearts of golf lovers.

Playing at Kingsbarns is a chance to enjoy one of Scotland’s finest modern courses, which is not only beautiful but also a true test of golf skills.

  • Hole: 18, Par: 72, Length: 7009 yards
  • Location: Inverness IV2 7JL, UK
  • Type: Links course
The 11th at Castle Stuart Golf Links

The 11th at Castle Stuart Golf Links

Castle Stuart Golf Links is one of the most modern golf courses in Scotland. It has hosted the Scottish Open four times since 2011. Opened in 2009, it was swiftly recognized as the Best New Course by Golf magazine. The course exemplifies contemporary golf architecture, with each hole seamlessly integrating into the natural landscape.

Situated along the stunning Inverness coastline, Castle Stuart offers breathtaking views that enhance the golfing experience. The course’s design prioritizes playability and strategic challenge. Its wide fairways and carefully positioned hazards provide a fair test while allowing players to appreciate the surrounding beauty.

Castle Stuart is famous not only for its design and scenery but also for its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Playing here is a chance to enjoy a round of golf in harmony with nature, a must-try experience if you are seeking a perfect blend of modern golf architecture and natural splendor.

Above is the list of the 8 best golf courses in Scotland. Did you play at these courses? Or, do you know any other wonderful golf courses in this country, please share your experience by commenting on the box below.

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Linh Chi

I am an avid traveler who loves to play golf and have experience in tourism golf in Vietnam and Asia countries. I'm here to provide you with useful information and help to plan a perfect golf holiday in Southeast Asia.

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