Scotlands 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 Scotlands finest
links courses, yet still undiscovered by many golf travelers due
to their somewhat remote locations - but they are well worth the
& KINTYRE COURSES, Turnberry Hotel: Immortalized by
the Watson v Nicklaus British Open dual in 1977, the Ailsa course
is one of Scotlands 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.
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 golfs
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 Troons 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.
This region, which includes Scotlands 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Great opportunity to play 36 holes with the addition of their
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.
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.
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).
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 Stokers 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.
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 clubs 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!
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.
(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.
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.