Scotland Golf Courses

West Coast of Scotland

Scotland’s Ayrshire coast, located just south of Glasgow, is the original home of the British Open Championship. The region can claim no less than three venues to have hosted the Open Championship through the years - Ailsa, Prestwick and Royal Troon.

In addition, a wide variety of other fine links courses are conveniently available to the traveling golfer in this area. Just off the coast lie Machrie and Machrihanish, perhaps two of Scotland’s finest links courses, yet still undiscovered by many golf travelers due to their somewhat remote locations - but they are well worth the trip!

AILSA & KINTYRE COURSES, Turnberry Hotel: Immortalized by the Watson v Nicklaus British Open dual in 1977, the Ailsa course is one of Scotland’s finest true links layouts. The hotel's recently remodeled Kintyre Course (formerly the Arran), now also offers a good test of championship level links golf. Local Knowledge: Must be a resident of the hotel to play the Ailsa and Kintyre Courses.

GLASGOW GAILES: The name is somewhat misleading, as the course is actually adjacent to Western Gailes. Glasgow Gailes is the secondary course for the primary club in Glasgow - Glasgow GC. This links course is another of the challenging Open Qualifying venues in the area. Local Knowledge: Limited weekend play is available.

MACHRIE: Part of the Machrie Hotel on the island of Islay, this course once hosted a rival tournament to the British Open. This demanding links course should be at the top of the golf connoisseurs play list. Local Knowledge: Well worth the trip! Direct air service available from Glasgow to Islay.

MACHRIHANISH: Located on the Mull of Kintrye. Old Tom Morris designed this classic links course. If not for its remote location, Machrihanish would no doubt have hosted many Championships. Local Knowledge: Well worth the trip! Drive, fly or take the ferry.

PRESTWICK: One of golf’s most historic courses. The first twelve British Open Championships were played on this unique links layout. Local Knowledge: No visitors on Thursday afternoons and weekends.

ROYAL TROON: The renowned Royal Troon GC has been the stage for a number of British Open Championships, most recently in 1997. Royal Troon boasts the shortest and longest holes in Open competition. Royal Troon’s secondary track, the Portland Course, is an enjoyable compliment to its more famous sibling. Local Knowledge: Early booking highly recommended to secure a confirmed time (9 to 12 months prior to travel). The maximum permissible handicaps for play are Men - 20 and Ladies - 30.

WESTERN GAILES: Venue of many Championships and a regular site for Open Qualifying when held at nearby Royal Troon or Turnberry. Local Knowledge: Golfers clubhouse lunch included in green fee. Visitors accepted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only.

Other courses of note: Kilmarnock (Barassie), Southern Gailes.

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Southeast Coast of Scotland

This region, which includes Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh, has a renowned collection of championship links courses, most of which are situated on the dramatic Firth of Forth. Many of these courses are also used for Open qualifying when the Championship is held at nearby Muirfield.

DUNBAR: Although formally established in 1856, golf was played on this wonderful links land for many years before. This excellent links layout played host to British Open Final Qualifying in 1992.

GULLANE: Three courses make-up the Gullane Golf Club with #1 being the most famous and challenging. The course differs slightly from other links courses in that it sweeps along Gullane Hill instead of stretching along a narrow piece of links land. It is often used as an Open Qualifying site when the Championship is held at nearby Muirfield. Local Knowledge: Great opportunity to play 36 holes by combining #1 and #2.

NORTH BERWICK: An Open qualifying course, North Berwick's West Links has an antiquated charm all its own with walls, burns, yawning bunkers and in No. 15, 'Redan', probably the most frequently copied short hole in the world. Each hole on this venerable links sets a different problem of length, judgement, skill and direction. Local Knowledge: North Berwick is the thirteenth oldest golf club, second only to St Andrews for continuous play over the same course.

Other courses of note: Craigelaw, Dalmahoy G & CC, Longniddry, Muirfield.

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East Coast Of Scotland

This region includes the "Home of Golf"-- St. Andrews. In addition, just along the coastline from St. Andrews, lie a number of championship courses such as the 1999 British Open venue Carnoustie and the most recent addition to Scottish links golf - Kingsbarns. The area is also blessed with many lesser known layouts such as, Crail, Scotscraig and Lundin Links which we highly recommend experiencing. A short drive from St. Andrews is the famous inland destination, and future Ryder Cup venue, of Gleneagles Hotel with its three picturesque and challenging courses.

CARNOUSTIE: The revered links course returned to the British Open rotation in 1999. A very demanding layout, Carnoustie has hosted five previous Opens. Local Knowledge: May require a stay at the Carnoustie Links Hotel to receive a confirmed tee time on the Carnoustie Championship course.

CRAIL: Founded in 1786, Crail Golf Club is the 7th oldest in the world and can boast of two outstanding links courses. Balcomie Links, modified by Tom Morris, is the primary course. The new Craighead Links has the features of many of the best aspects of Scotland's classic links. Local Knowledge: Great opportunity to play 36 holes with the addition of their new course.

DUKES: One of the most recent courses to the area and designed by five time Open Champion Peter Thomson, the Dukes Course is a parkland style layout set in a picturesque location overlooking the town of St. Andrews and the North Sea. Local Knowledge: Ideal course for weekend play in the St. Andrews area. Complimentary to guests of the Old Course Hotel.

GLENEAGLES - KINGS COURSE: Situated in the beautiful Perthshire hills, the Kings Course at Gleneagles Hotel provides majestic views of the Scottish Highlands. Although an inland course, it is no less challenging than its links neighbors. It is a past host of the Scottish Open Championship. Local Knowledge: Residency of the hotel no longer required for play.

GLENEAGLES - QUEENS COURSE: One of the most picturesque inland courses in all of Scotland. Local Knowledge: Residency of the hotel no longer required for play.

GLENEAGLES - PGA CENTENARY COURSE: The Jack Nicklaus designed layout (formerly known as the Monarchs Course) is the newest addition to this venerable hotel and resort. The course is home to the Scottish PGA Championship. Local Knowledge: Residency of the hotel no longer required for play. Motorized carts available. Venue of the 2014 Ryder Cup.

KINGSBARNS: Opened in July 2000, Kingsbarns is one of the most recent additions to the Scottish links golf landscape. Located just down the coast from St. Andrews, Kingsbarns has drawn rave reviews from all who play it. It offers spectacular views of the North Sea on every hole. Local Knowledge: Ideal course for weekend play in the St. Andrews area.

SCOTSCRAIG: Part inland, part classic links, Scotscraig is always used as a qualifying layout when the Open is held in nearby St. Andrews. Local Knowledge: Ideal course to play en route between Carnoustie and St. Andrews.

ST. ANDREWS - OLD COURSE: The most famous course in the world and the one that all golfers dream of playing at least once in a lifetime. Golf has been played on this site since as early as 1547. The unique layout offers shared fairways, double greens, intimidating bunkers and an abundance of history. Local Knowledge: Early booking highly recommended to secure a confirmed time (12 to 18 months prior to travel). The maximum permissible handicap for play is 24 for men and 36 for ladies.

ST. ANDREWS - NEW COURSE: Very often overlooked, the New Course (still over 100 years old) offers similar challenges as the more famous Old Course-undulating fairways, hidden greens and difficult bunkers. Local Knowledge: The course most favored by the 'locals.'

ST. ANDREWS - JUBILEE & EDEN COURSES: These occupy the same classic terrain as their more famous sister course. Local Knowledge: Many 'locals' claim that the Jubilee is a more challenging test of golf than the Old or New Courses.

Other courses of note: Blairgowrie, Elie, Ladybank, Leven Links, Lundin Links, Monifieth, St. Andrews Bay (Torrance Course).

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Northeast Coast Of Scotland

The Aberdeen area has some superb golfing venues.  Located overlooking the North Sea, Cruden Bay, Murcar and Royal Aberdeen all provide a pure 'links' experience with undulating terrain and plenty of sand dunes to play through!  This area is ideally situated to connect stays in St. Andrews with visits to the northern Highlands of Scotland.

CRUDEN BAY: This rugged links layout has been consistently ranked as one of the British Isles Top 50 courses and has been included in Top 100 Courses of the World rankings. It lies in the shadow of Slains Castle, inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Local Knowledge: Offers some of the most spectacular views to be found on any links course.

MURCAR: Adjacent to Royal Aberdeen, Murcar occupies the same outstanding links terrain. Although the undulating fairways still make the course a test of golf, Murcar is considered less demanding than its famous neighbor. Local Knowledge: Great option for 36 holes in one day as it is virtually 'back to back' with Royal Aberdeen.

ROYAL ABERDEEN: Founded in 1780, Royal Aberdeen is the sixth oldest golf club in the world. Many major events have been played on the club’s Balgownie Links, which is characterized by numerous bunkers, heavy gorse and the constant weather elements! Local Knowledge: The first course to adopt the five minute rule when looking for a lost ball!

Other courses of note: Newmachar, Peterhead.

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The Highlands Of Scotland

Perhaps the most scenic region of Scotland. Over the years, this area has become a much sought after golf destination, due primarily to the presence of Royal Dornoch and Nairn. It is dotted with a collection of Championship caliber courses, as well as shorter yet equally challenging links layouts, which make the journey North very worthwhile.

LOSSIEMOUTH (Moray): Similar to St. Andrews, this links style championship course begins and ends in the center of the town.

NAIRN: An outstanding links course and venue of many major golfing championships including the 1999 Walker Cup Matches. Local Knowledge: Well worth the drive north.

ROYAL DORNOCH: One of the finest links courses in the world. If not for it's somewhat remote location, this course would surely host a British Open Championship. It was here that famed golf architect Donald Ross learned his trade. Local Knowledge: Well worth the drive north. For a full day, warm-up on Royal Dornoch's Struie course before your round on the Championship course.

Other courses of note: Boat of Garten, Brora, Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle, Elgin, Golspie, Tain.