Golf Holidays In Scotland - Our Top Destinations

For anyone thinking about a golfing trip to Scotland, Rob Smith recommends some of its many golfing destinations

Golf Holidays In Scotland
St Andrews - the home of golf… and the home of golf trips
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For anyone thinking about a golfing trip to Scotland, Rob Smith recommends some of its many golfing destinations

Golf Holidays In Scotland - Our Top Destinations

Scotland is very much the home of golf, and in more ways than one.

It is widely acknowledged, specifically with St Andrews at its heart, that this is where the game began.

However, it is also the home to a wealth of golfing hotspots and concentrated areas of classic golf that are perfect for a golfing holiday.

This beautiful country is blessed with magnificent and varied scenery.

Much of it is rugged and completely unspoilt, but wherever there are people, there is golf.

And where there is golf, there is often a LOT of golf!

Golf Holidays In Scotland

Golfers make pilgrimages to Royal Dornoch from all over the world

Golf Holidays In Scotland - Our Top Destinations

The Highlands

The area around Inverness in the north makes for a great start when considering golf holidays in Scotland.

Within an hour or so of this lovely city are three cracking Top 100 links; world-famous Royal Dornoch with its recent changes, instant classic Castle Stuart, and the ever-improving Nairn.

There is wonderful strength in depth, often presenting great value, at courses such as Brora, Tain, Golspie, Moray and Nairn Dunbar.

Nairn is in the midst of an ongoing plan of improvements


With regard to St Andrews, Fife vies with Surrey for the title of the most golf-rich county in the UK&I.

The Old Course is a must-play that is brilliantly supported by the New, Castle, Jubilee and others, and within no distance at all are excellent modern alternatives, the best at Kingsbarns, two more at Fairmont St Andrews.

On Fife’s south coast, there is a very exciting newcomer in the shape of the terrific Dumbarnie Links.

With the artist's paint just drying, Dumbarnie Links is a rising star

This, too, is surrounded by classics such as Crail, Elie, Lundin and Leven.

You would probably need a month to do Fife justice.

Golf Holidays In Scotland

Leven Links in the foreground borders on Lundin - two beautiful and historic links

East Lothian

To the south of the Firth of Forth, East Lothian is now hailed as Scotland’s Golf Coast.

It is very easy to see why!

This is another incredibly strong area for golf.

At the top end are courses such as Muirfield, North Berwick and Gullane, but the strength in depth is immense.

North Berwick rides high in the Golf Monthly Top 100

This cluster of tip-top and surprisingly varied golf extends from the courses at Musselburgh in the west, just a short drive from the centre of Edinburgh, right over to Dunbar in the east.

More than 20 courses within an hour of one another; golfing heaven.

If not a month, then surely three weeks!

Golf Holidays In Scotland

The opening hole at the oldest course in the world, Musselburgh Links

The Glorious Gleneagles

If you are after a trip that has absolutely everything on tap, then you cannot beat Gleneagles.

Everything about this resort is first-class.

The King’s, the Queen’s and the Ryder-Cup hosting PGA Centenary Course, are all magnificent.

As are the accommodation, the cuisine, the activities and the setting.

The ninth hole on the King’s Course at Gleneagles; one of 54 memorable holes at Gleneagles

Not far away, there is more gorgeous inland golf at the likes of Blairgowrie, Boat of Garten and Kingussie.

Blairgowrie is a much-loved Top 100 tree-lined beauty

There is the excellent modern course at Spey Valley as well as many members' courses that are packed with charm and great value.

Golf Holidays in Scotland

The sixth hole on the beautiful course at Spey Valley

West Coast

Over on the west coast, Ayrshire has yet more fabulous links courses such as Trump Turnberry, Royal Troon, Prestwick, Western Gailes and Dundonald.

These are all within a short drive of one another.

Golf Holidays In Scotland

A living museum of golfing history - the seventeenth at Prestwick

And here again, there are many wonderful but less well-known, and let’s face it less expensive, additional courses.

These include Kilmarnock Barassie, Gailes Links and West Kilbride.

The King Robert the Bruce Course at Turnberry has some cracking holes... and views

Aberdeenshire and Angus

Heading back north there are two more pockets of outstanding golf.

North of Dundee is the fabulous Open Championship venue at Carnoustie, close to Monifieth and Panmure, while a little further up the coast, Aberdeen has become a genuine golfing destination.

Here you will find Trump International Golf Links, Royal Aberdeen, Murcar and Cruden Bay as well as plenty of great value alternatives both on the coast and inland.

Golf Holidays In Scotland

The fourth hole at Cruden Bay runs beside the river

As mentioned, many people see Scotland as the home of golf.

By size, it boasts more concentrated pockets of first-class, historic and engaging golf than any other country.

For golf breaks of any duration, Scotland is hard to beat.

One final very strong suggestion would be to try some of the hidden gems out there.

By all means, tick off as many of the premier league beauties as you like, but remember that the strength (and value) in depth is massive.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012. He specialises in course reviews and travel, and has played more than 1,200 courses in almost 50 countries. In 2022, he played all 21 courses in East Lothian in 13 days. Last year, his tally was 81, 32 of them for the first time. 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 seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! Of those missing, some are already booked for 2024. He is a member of Tandridge in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at