The Best Golf Courses In Scotland

The top golf courses in Scotland are a delight for lovers of links golf

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The home of golf has some of the best courses in the world

The Best Golf Courses In Scotland

Scotland is the historic home of the game of golf and has been played on its land for centuries.

As a result many of the finest golf courses on the planet can be found within its borders. Here we take a look at some of the best.

Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)

Turnberry Still On Open Rota Trump Turnberry Resort Ailsa Course Review

Despite being the host of four Open Championships (1977, 1986, 1994 & 2009), the course still underwent major changes a few years ago.

Martin Ebert was tasked with this and he did a great job.

The boldest changes are around the turn beginning with the par-3 9th along the cliffs, which is now followed by a snaking par-5 right along the coastline.

The lighthouse itself has been converted into a stunning halfway house, one of the best in golf.

It's expensive but it is as good as it gets.

St Andrews (Old)

St Andrews Old Course Review

The most famous course in the world - simply a must play for every golfer.

Seven double greens, only two short holes and only two par-5s; the Road Hole and the Swilcan Bridge give this course more history than any other.

It is probably one of the most playable layouts as high handicappers won't get beaten up.

Wander round the famous Home End and take in the everything the experience has to offer.


A perfect links course along an exceptional stretch of terrain where routing, variety and conditioning are of the highest order. It has hosted The Open Championship on sixteen occasions from Lee Trevino's chip-in win to Phil Mickelson's win six years ago. The course largely runs in two loops, the front nine is clockwise around the outside with the back nine sitting in the centre. It means varying wind is a huge factor. This complete golfing test never fails to deliver.

Carnoustie (Championship)

Carnoustie Championship Course Review

14th at Carnoustie

Francesco Molinari won his first Major here in 2018.

It is a tough course especially when the wind is up.

Originally a ten-hole course in 1842, it was extended to 18 later.

Narrow fairways, out of bounds, perfect bunkering and the snaking Barry Burn mean you are questioned all the way through. It's a supreme test with a daunting finishing stretch.

Royal Dornoch

Royal Dornoch Golf Club Championship Course Royal Dornoch Golf Club Championship Course Pictures

Another Old Tom Morris design makes the list and it is one of the most northernly courses in Scotland.

It is a classic yet timeless links course with glorious views.

Improved transport links has made it a lot easier to reach this course.

Trump International Golf Links

The 205-yard par-3 at the Trump International Golf Links. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

This jaw-dropping layout is one of the best modern links has to offer.

It only opened in 2012 but it delivers superb variety between the mountainous grass-topped hills.

You get great views of the North Sea and the beaches adjacent to it.

The vistas from the tees, in particular the 14th, are breathtaking.


Kingsbarns Golf Links Course Review

Generous fairways and gathering greens mean that this modern links course isn't too punishing.

It is set on the beautiful coastline and has become one of the best seaside tracks over the last 20 years.

There are many a great hole but the 12th and 13th are clear standouts as they hug the shoreline tightly.

Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie)

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club Balgownie Course Review

A classic Scottish links with narrow and rumpled fairways, sloping greens, testing run-off areas and tricky bunkers.

Architecture and typical links elements help deliver a stern test by which both professional and amateur tournaments have been hosted here.

Royal Troon (Old)

ultimate golf club

The 15th at Royal Troon - a true links challenge.

As the 2017 Open Championship showed, this course can provide a stunning test of golf on a quality layout.

The Postage Stamp 8th hole is one of the most famous par-3s in the world.

The back nine is very punishing as it is played back into the wind.

Castle Stuart

This course has hosted the Scottish Open four times since opening only ten years ago.

Stylish and compact, it puts a new spin on modern golf links.

It gives cracking views across to the Black Isle.

There is an emphasis on accuracy around this cleverly designed course.

North Berwick

The par-4 14th at North Berwick (Getty Images)

As you head out from the town you go towards the sea - you'll be negotiating walls, burns, bumps and hollows.

The 13th to 15th is one of the most famous stretches in golf with the final hole of the three, a 192-yard par-3 being one of the most copied in the world.

Gleneagles (King's)

An aerial shot of the Kings course at Gleneagles (Getty Images)

This is designed to play like an inward links with tightly cut fairways that are now 40 per cent wider while a new tee on the final hole stretches its yardage to 555.

There's the odd blind shot around a number of breathtaking backdrops. It's a must-play.

Nairn (Championship)

Nairn Golf Club Championship Course Review

Quite the test when it is windy but Nairn offers a fair and enjoyable run.

Like most links courses the views are magnificent.


A view of the second green at Prestwick Golf Club (Getty Images)

The original home of the Open Championship dating back to 1851.

Packed with blind shots, drivable par-4s, desert-sized bunkering and rollercoaster greens it is a lesson in course design.

A one-off and a must-play.

Western Gailes

Western Gailes shows exactly what Scottish links is all about.

Some great green settings and thought-provoking par-4s, a thorough test of golf with stunning views to Arran to accompany it.

Gleneagles (Queen's)

Gleneagles Golf Resort Queen's Course Review

Gleneagles' Queen's Course

The shortest of the three at Gleneagles makes the list as it is regarded by many as the most enchanting.

More heather has been introduced to enhance the aesthetics.

The back-to-back par-3s at 13 and 14 around a small loch are a joy to play.

This course shows that length isn't everything.


View of the 1st hole 'Battery' at Machrihanish Golf Club. (Photo by Richard Martin-Roberts/Getty Images)

Old Tom Morris extended this famous Kintyre links from 12 to 18 holes back in 1879 and in doing so created one of the most iconic opening holes - driving off of a beach.

It offers stunning views of the Hebrides.

Gullane (No.1)

Wispy grasses, pot bunkers and stunning views over the Firth of Forth, this is a golf links teeming with character.

It has also hosted the Scottish Open.

St Andrews (New)

The long par-3 ninth with the estuary on the left (Getty Images)

Some believe that the New course is more strategic than the Old.

It has many strong holes including the long par-3 beside the estuary and the tough par-4 that follows as you make the turn to home.

This course is a first-rate links in its own right.

Blairgowrie (Rosemount)

Blairgowrie Golf Club Rosemount Course Review

This attractive woodland course is a rework of an Alistair MacKenzie design by architect James Braid.

Positioning is key off the tee but it is a pretty yet playable course for all.

Cruden Bay (Championship)

Down to the 14th at Cruden Bay

Down to the 14th at Cruden Bay

An old-school links feel matched with elevation changes and challenging dunes make for a great test.

St Andrews (Castle)

st andrews castle course review

The latest edition to St Andrews' class collection, it delivers a different view, a different terrain and a different test.

It's an undulating rollercoaster of a course that delivers great fun and tremendous variety throughout.

The Machrie

The green on the 395 yards par 4, 7th hole 'Scot's Maiden' at The Machrie (Getty Images)

This course is a blend of old and modern links but dates back to 1891.

It is tremendously natural with subtle architecture.


Murcar Links Golf Club Course Review

The 5th at Murcar

Not far from Royal Aberdeen, Murcar is another classic with elevated tees, rumpled fairways, plenty of gorse and heather, as well as fantastic wide views out to sea.

A top-drawer links that needs more recognition.

Notable Mentions: Ardfin, Loch Lomond, Renaissance Club, Skibo Castle, Moray, Brora, Musselburgh, Dundonald, Lundin, Elie,

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