15 Best Inland Golf Courses In Scotland

Packed with top-quality links, a look at the 15 best inland golf courses in Scotland reveals a quite brilliant alternative

15 Best Inland Golf Courses In Scotland - Gleneagles - King's Course - Hole 8
The par-3 eighth hole on the King’s Course at Gleneagles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best Inland Golf Courses In Scotland

As a golfer for more than 40 years, I have thoroughly enjoyed playing more than 100 courses in Scotland alone. The variety is endless, and while the majority of the best golf courses in Scotland lie on the coast, there is also a brilliant and endless treasure chest of inland golf. 

Three of the very best are all at the same wonderful resort, spectacular Gleneagles in Perthshire. Beginning here, we take a look at fifteen of the very best inland courses in this beautiful country.

Gleneagles

Gleneagles - Queen's Course - Hole 14

The exceptionally pretty short fourteenth on the Queen’s Course at Gleneagles

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location Auchterarder
  • Founded 1913
  • Architect James Braid (King’s & Queen’s) - Jack Nicklaus (PGA Centenary)
  • GF £275 Round, £450 Day - all courses (2023)
  • King’s Par 70, 6,471 yards
  • Queen’s Par 68, 5,965 yards
  • PGA Centenary Par 72, 6,804 yards
  • Contact Gleneagles Hotel (opens in new tab)

With two Top 100 courses and a Next 100 course for good measure, Gleneagles is simply the best golfing destination in the UK & Ireland. Its myriad delights would fill a high-capacity memory stick. In golfing terms, it offers the best of the old and new, with the James Braid designs - the King’s and Queen’s - both having staged important championships while the PGA Centenary Course hosted the thrilling 2014 Ryder Cup.

Read full Gleneagles - King’s Course review

Read full Gleneagles - Queen’s Course review

Gleneagles - PGA Centenary - Hole 1

The opening hole on the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles, host of the 2014 Ryder Cup

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Read full Gleneagles - PGA Centenary Course pictorial review

Blairgowrie

Blairgowrie - Rosemount - Hole 18

The closing hole on the Rosemount Course at Blairgowrie with the stylish clubhouse beyond

(Image credit: Mark Alexander)
  • Location Blairgowrie
  • Founded 1889
  • Architect Alistair MacKenzie, James Braid
  • GF Round £120 Day £170 (to play both courses)
  • Par 72, 6,630 yards
  • Contact Blairgowrie Golf Club

Although James Braid made some significant changes here in the 1930s, the design genius and influence of Alister MacKenzie of Augusta National fame lives on in both the Top 100 Rosemount Course and the extremely enjoyable par-32 Wee Course. Pine trees separate just about all of Blairgowrie’s delightful 45 holes, making straight hitting a priority, and Greg Norman won his first European Tour title here an incredible 45 years ago! Although the course runs through mature pine and silver birch, a round here is far more about accuracy than brute force.

Read full Blairgowrie - Rosemount Course review

The Next 100

The Next 100 of the UK&I includes a further five of the best inland golf courses in Scotland.

Boat of Garten

Boat of Garten - Hole 2

Boat of Garten is peacefully situated in the valley overlooked by the mountains

(Image credit: Boat of Garten Golf Club)
  • Location Boat of Garten
  • Founded 1898
  • Architect James Braid
  • GF £80 (£65 with official CDH number) (2023)
  • Par 70, 5,837 yards
  • Contact Boat of Garten Golf Club (opens in new tab)

The unbelievably prolific James Braid extended this idyllic, rural and utterly natural journey through unspoilt countryside to a full 18 back in 1930. Although it is less than 5,900 yards from the back tees, it is gently undulating and somehow plays substantially longer. It is also packed with subtle challenge. The surrounding mountains are a constant delight, the air is as clean and fresh as you will find, the turf is crisp, and there is a fine balance of golfing examination and reward.

Read full Boat of Garten Golf Club course review

Ladybank

Ladybank - Hole 5

Looking back from behind the green on the short par-4 fifth at Ladybank

(Image credit: Ladybank Golf Club)
  • Location Ladybank
  • Founded 1879
  • Architect Old Tom Morris, Laurie Auchterlonie Junior
  • GF Round £100, Day £130 (2023)
  • Par 71, 6,602 yards
  • Contact Ladybank Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Not too far from Fife’s amazing coastline, Ladybank is an easy-walking heathland course with small greens and stands of pine and birch. Originally designed by Old Tom Morris, It has been a regular host of Final Qualifying for The Open, and is presented in tip-top condition throughout the year. Recent work has been done to elevate the bunkering, and there is a linksy feel to both the turf and design despite its tree-lined setting.

Schloss Roxburghe

Schloss Roxburghe - Hole 14

The signature hole at Schloss Roxburghe - Viaduct - played alongside the river

(Image credit: Schloss Roxburghe)
  • Location Kelso
  • Founded 1997
  • Architect Dave Thomas
  • GF £70 (£50 hotel resident)
  • Par 72, 6,546 yards
  • Contact Schloss Roxburghe Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Dave Thomas designed a number of the courses in our list and this parkland layout covering a large acreage is one of the very best. Renamed following the purchase by new owners in 2018, the course is both very pretty and a genuine test. While the signature hole is the par-5 14th which runs beside the River Teviot, strong holes abound all the way. The views both internally and externally are wonderful and a round here shouldn’t break the bank.

Read full Schloss Roxburghe Stay & Play review

Spey Valley

Spey Valley - Hole 6

Spey Valley is blessed with a wonderful setting in the Cairngorms

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location Aviemore
  • Founded 2006
  • Architect Dave Thomas
  • GF From £75, contact club for details
  • Par 73, 6,653 yards
  • Contact Spey Valley Golf Club (opens in new tab)

I first played here in 2009 and was immediately taken by the glorious setting with mountains, water, magnificent pine and heather. This quite beautiful course runs close to the western side of the River Spey, and it is also a genuine tournament test that has already hosted a number of professional events. It can stretch to well over 7,000 yards from the back, so choose your tees wisely. Although the opening and closing holes are out on something of a limb, it’s a joyful ride all the way.

Read full Spey Valley Golf Club course review

St Andrews - Duke's Course

St Andrews - Duke's Course - Hole 13

The thirteenth hole on the Duke’s Course at St Andrews with the design’s trademark, bold and distinctive bunkering

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location St Andrews
  • Founded 1995
  • Architect Peter Thomson, Tim Liddy
  • GF £140 (£80 Scottish residents), check for offers
  • Par 71, 6,550 yards
  • Contact St Andrews - Duke’s Golf Club (opens in new tab)

While the golf at St Andrews is quite naturally a worldwide draw for lovers of links golf, variety is the spice of life and I very much like the Dukes Course as a strong, inland alternative. It is owned and operated by same company as the Old Course Hotel, and is just a short drive out of town, up the hill. Noticeable for its distinctive and abundant bunkering, it was designed by 5-time Open Champion Peter Thomson before a substantial and sympathetic upgrade by US architect Tim Liddy. The elevated position results in excellent panoramas.

Moving away from the Next 100, there is one course in our list that is among the most exclusive golf clubs in the UK. It is nonetheless extremely well-known, and while you may have to call in favours or possibly sell your soul to get a game here, it may just be worth it!

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond - Hole 5

The scenic short fifth at Loch Lomond is played out to a green beside the water

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location Loch Lomond
  • Founded 1993
  • Architect Tom Weiskopf
  • Par 72, 6,730 yards
  • Contact Loch Lomond Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Open champion and 4-time runner-up in The Masters, the late Tom Weiskopf designed this sumptuous and very memorable course alongside the stunning Loch Lomond in 1993. From 1996 until 2010, it hosted first the World Invitational and then the Scottish Open. It is packed with drama and variety, all of it in one of the most beautiful settings in the country.

Loch Lomond - Tom Weiskopf & Rob Smith

Loch Lomond designer Tom Weiskopf with Rob Smith

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

I was lucky enough to play a few holes with Weiskopf here in 2013, and his enthusiasm and love for the place was very evident. Staunchly private, it is nonetheless one of the finest inland courses in Europe winning unanimous praise from all who have been lucky enough to beg, steal or borrow a game.

Five More Inland Beauties

To complete our selection, this final group is representative of the immense strength in depth on offer throughout inland Scotland.

East Renfrewshire

East Renfrewshire - Aerial View

An aerial view of the excellent course at East Renfrewshire

(Image credit: East Renfrewshire Golf Club)
  • Location Glasgow
  • Founded 1922
  • Architect James Braid
  • GF Round £75, Day £90, all week
  • Par 70, 6,060 yards
  • Contact East Renfrewshire Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Just to the south-west of Glasgow, this moorland course is a James Braid design. Celebrating its centenary, little has changed or indeed needed to change. Affectionately known as East Ren, its raised tees and rolling fairways are home to a pair of just about reachable par 5s and four short holes. There are glorious, far-reaching views and plenty of variety as you play your way over… and sometimes into burns, and run past the adjacent loch.

Read full East Renfrewshire Golf Club course review

Edzell

Edzell - Hole 18

The final hole at Edzell - a par 5 that raises hopes of a late birdie

(Image credit: Mark Alexander)
  • Location Edzell
  • Founded 1895
  • Architect Bob Simpson, James Braid
  • GF Round £70, Day £100, all week
  • Par 71, 6,570 yards
  • Contact Edzell Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Edzell is a delightful village at the gateway to the Grampians, and its course plays over easy-walking terrain near the West Water river. It is bisected by a disused railway line, with the 12th hole, Old Railway, teeing off right beside. The terrain is a mix of heathland and parkland, with several pine-lined holes and visits to the very banks of the West Water, most notably on the par-5 9th which hugs it all the way to the green. The course climbs to slightly higher ground on the short 14th, with the run for a home particularly enjoyable.

Read full Edzell Golf Club course review

The Musselburgh

The Musselburgh - Hole 17

The penultimate hole at Musselburgh is a very attractive par 4

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Musselburgh
  • Founded 1938
  • Architect James Braid
  • GF Round £100, Day £120
  • Par 71, 6,725 yards
  • Contact The Musselburgh Golf Club (opens in new tab)

While Musselburgh Links is probably the oldest course still being played, The Musselburgh is the youngest of three clubs in the town on the eastern outskirts of Edinburgh. It’s still not that young and is one of the best golf courses in East Lothian. Dating back to 1938, the course is an engaging parkland design that provides a sometimes welcome alternative to the treasure chest of links on offer in the area. It was used for Open qualifying from 2006 to 2010, and final qualifying when the championship was at Muirfield in 2013.

Read full Musselburgh Golf Club course review

Newmachar

Newmachar - Hawkshill - Hole 1

The opening green on the Hawkshill Course at Newmachar is very well protected

(Image credit: Newmachar Golf Club)
  • Location Aberdeen
  • Founded 1990
  • Architect Dave Thomas
  • GF £65 all week
  • Par 72, 6,573 yards
  • Contact Newmachar Golf Club (opens in new tab)

This is another Dave Thomas creation, one of a pair that he designed at Newmachar some seven years apart. The Hawkshill opened for play in 1990, and it has since matured into a very strong test of golf with accuracy from the tee vital if you are to score well. There is a super-tough opening hole which sets the scene perfectly for a course packed with risk and reward, water, bunkers, trees, short par 4s, doglegs, and something for just about everyone.

Pitlochry

Pitlochry - Hole 17

The penultimate hole at Pitlochry is a par 4 played to a tricky green

(Image credit: Mark Alexander)
  • Location Pitlochry
  • Founded 1908
  • Architect Willie Fernie, CK Hutchison
  • GF £60
  • Par 69, 5,692 yards
  • Contact Pitlochry Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Pitlochry conjures up arguably one of the longest 5,700 yards of golf in Scotland. It also serves up a very enjoyable and attractive test which works its way up and down the foothills of the glorious Grampians. Happily, the hardest walking comes early with the opening few holes likely to really get the blood pumping. The reward for your efforts is a rollercoaster round packed with sensational views. There are no par 5s and just three short holes, but tricky greens and plenty of risk and reward will require your concentration all the way.

Read full Pitlochry Golf Club course review

As mentioned, many of the best golf courses in Scotland are on the coast, but the inland offering is excellent both in terms of quality and quantity and is up there with the best inland golf courses in the UK. This brief introduction only scratches at the surface and will hopefully whet the appetite for more golfing safaris around this beautiful country and its islands. In a lifetime of golf, you could never run out of new and lovely inland courses to play.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.