David Jones, creator of the UK Golf Guy blog, lists 10 fantastic value golf courses worth playing in Scotland...
10 Of The Best Scottish Golf Courses Under £100
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to planning a golf trip to Scotland.
With over 550 golf courses to choose from, you will almost always find a course close to wherever you are.
However, in recent years, there has been significant inflation in the cost of a round at some of the big name courses in the peak of summer – the likes of Trump Turnberry and Kingsbarns are now coming in at over £300 for a midweek tee time putting them towards the very top end of many golfers’ budgets.
But there are some fantastic courses available which offer much better value.
10 Of The Best Scottish Golf Courses Under £100
Summer midweek green fee – £75, Winter green fee – £35
Machrihanish is famed for possibly the best opening hole in Scottish golf – a challenging drive across a gorgeous, sparkling blue bay.
However, it is much more than that. The stretch of holes in the dunes from the 3rd is truly fantastic.
While the green fee is great value, it’s not the easiest place to get to at a 3 ½ hour drive from Glasgow.
You could consider the short hop on the plane from Glasgow Airport if you fancied the ultimate day trip!
And once you’re there, make sure to play the adjoining Machrihanish Dunes for a very similar green fee.
The best value double-header in the land!
New Course, St Andrews
Summer midweek green fee – £85, Winter green fee – £43
Playing the Old Course is an ambition of golfers from all over the world.
The demand is high so it can be hard to get a tee time, but the neighbouring New Course is pretty much always available and there are plenty of similarities between the two courses.
The New Course shares the same clubhouse as the Old, and the turf plays very similarly – although expect a bit more gorse in play than on the Old.
Hook a shot on one of the early holes and you could find yourself playing on the Old Course!
You will experience some great views of the Auld Toon as you play in.
Boat Of Garten
Summer midweek green fee – £75 (£60 if a member of a UK golf club), Winter green fee – £20
Scotland’s links courses are famed the world over but there is less love for the inland courses.
If there were more courses like Boat of Garten that wouldn’t be the case.
This James Braid layout isn’t long – it’s a 5,900 par 70 – but brute strength won’t get you around.
Accuracy is called for as bushes, trees and rough can all come into play if you stray too far from the fast rolling fairways.
Boat of Garten’s setting is tremendous, with stunning views of the Scottish Highlands.
Summer midweek green fee – £60, Winter green fee – £20
The north-east of Scotland has garnered a lot of interest in recent years as a golf destination.
But head just a bit further north and you will find a real gem of a course in Fraserburgh.
You will be greeted with a wonderful, old-fashioned Scottish course.
The ball will run fast on the fantastic links turf and it will be hard not to have fun as you play in and out of some magnificent duneland.
Some of the holes on the back 9 would hold their own on any course in the land.
Summer midweek green fee – £80, Winter green fee – £20
I always think there’s something special about a links golf course that starts and finishes in a town – St Andrews, Lahinch and North Berwick are all great examples.
You can add Moray Old Course, set in the northern town of Lossiemouth, to that list.
‘Lossie’, as it is locally known, was laid out by Old Tom Morris and he did a great job.
No earth was moved, no dunes created.
He simply found the best spots for tee boxes and greens and mowed between them.
The effect is one of the most ‘natural’ feeling links courses you will play.
While you are there, the adjoining New Course is another Scottish Top 100 course well worth playing and great value at only £35 in the summer and £12 in the winter!
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Fortrose & Rosemarkie
Summer midweek green fee – £70, Winter green fee – £25
Another area which continues to grow in popularity is the area around and to the north of Inverness.
Castle Stuart, Nairn and Royal Dornoch are the big attractions but there are several other courses there which are great additions to your trip.
Fortrose & Rosemarkie would definitely be one of those.
Golf has been played on this small peninsula sticking into the Moray Firth since 1702.
The early holes play alongside the water and it is a truly spectacular setting – keep your eye out for dolphins off the fourth fairway.
The early holes require precision from the tee to score well, but as the course goes on it opens up and there are some good, fun, gettable par 4s amongst the well bunkered greens and fairways.
A great place, and fantastic value.
Summer midweek green fee – £45, Winter green fee – £25
If you are driving up to Scotland from the south there is a very good chance you will be passing Powfoot – just 20 minutes from Gretna Services.
Most will plough on up the M74 without stopping, but those who do will be richly rewarded – at a great price.
Powfoot is mainly a links course, but with a more of a parkland feeling towards the end.
It will reward straight driving, as gorse is a regular feature, and there is plenty to keep you interested around the course.
Dumfries is rarely mentioned as a destination for a golf trip, but you could easily spend a pleasant few days here with Southerness and Stranraer two other top 100 courses to enjoy.
Summer midweek green fee – £49, Winter green fee – £33
East Lothian styles itself as ‘Scotland’s Golf Coast’ because of the quality of golf on offer in the area.
But there are a whole host of other courses in the area to add on to a trip – Gullane 2, Kilspindie and Dunbar would all easily qualify for this list.
Gullane 3 is a 5,100 par 66 course and is a perfect addition if you are looking to do 36 holes in a day – you should be able to get round in under three hours quite easily.
The course climbs over Gullane Hill in the same fashion as numbers 1 and 2 and you will get the same great views, and the same great turf, as its illustrious neighbours.
The greens are a little smaller, and brilliantly bunkered, so expect a challenge, but one that is always fun!
Summer midweek green fee – £60, Winter green fee – £30
Old Tom Morris and James Braid were the creators of Lanark golf course and with that pedigree it’s no surprise that this is something pretty special.
This is an inland course which is best described as ‘moorland’ and the turf here is wonderful to play from.
The conditioning at Lanark is some of the best you will ever find on a course away from the coast.
There is plenty of elevation change, so you will definitely feel the walk in your legs when you finish, but you will have some great memories as well.
You’ll find plenty of variety in the holes – doglegs left and right, a good range of lengths and you will be tested across your game.
Lanark is another course you will drive close to if coming up from England and well worth stopping off at.
9 holes – £20, 18 holes – £30
Durness is a stunning 9 hole course at the far north-west of the ‘North Coast 500’.
This isn’t an easy place to get to, and while the green fee is great value you will need to invest a lot of time in your journey.
When you do arrive you will be rewarded with one of the most spectacular settings in world golf.
The cliff top course isn’t just a great setting though, it’s also a joy to play.
You will be thrilled at the views, but also tested by the shots demanded.
It’s just a nine hole course but there is a second set of tees which mean you can have a different challenge the second time round. Having come all this way, it’s well worth making time to do that!
David Jones writes the www.ukgolfguy.com blog which reviews golf courses in Scotland and beyond.