Hundreds of years of golfing heritage, esteemed championship courses and some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes have made Scotland a pilgrimage for golfers all over the world. If you’ve chosen Scotland as your next golfing destination, the only thing left to do is pick the right golf course. To help you on your way, we have picked 10 of the best:
1. The Old Course, St Andrews
A Scottish institution, the prestigious Old Course at St Andrews is a must for all avid golfers to tick off their golfing list. Designed by Tom Morris, the venue has hosted an impressive 25 Open Championships as well as a number of esteemed events, and still maintains much of its 200-year-old natural layout.
2. Alisa Golf Course, Turnberry
This world class course was voted Golf Monthly’s No 1 and still remains to be Scotland’s, and arguably the UK’s, most popular golf course. One of its highlights is the 9th hole, widely considered one of the world’s all time greats. Measuring 454 yards from the championship tee, the ball shoots past the iconic lighthouse landmark before hitting the fairway then compromises another tricky shot onto the green.
3. Muirfield Golf Club
Muirfield is the only course to have played host to the Open, the Amateur, the Mid Amateur, the Ryder Cup, the Walker Cup and the Curtis Cup all under one roof — pretty impressive credentials we’re sure you’ll agree. It is also seeped in history, being home to The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, whose records date back to 1744 when the Club wrote the original 13 Rules of Golf for the first Silver Club competition.
4. Loch Lomond Golf Club
Loch Lomond’s 7,100 yard parkland course has been ranked in the ‘Top 100′ finest golf courses in the world by Golf Magazine. Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, its popularity stems from its challenging fairways, where golfers must contend with streams, marshland areas and a host of natural hazards – not forgetting the majestic woodland surroundings.
5. Carnoustie Golf Course
For well over four centuries, golfer’s have flocked to the championship course of Carnoustie for its rugged coastline greens stretching east and north from the city of Dundee. Having hosted the Open Championship, it has gained a reputation as one of Britain’s finest and with a number of difficult fairways, a true test of golf for any avid player.
The iconic and institutional Gleneagles venue houses three spectacular golf courses, each boasting Scotland’s trademark springy moorland turf and the dramatic backdrop of the Trossachs and Ben Vorlich peaks. With Michelin-star restaurants and luxurious hotel accommodation to relax in after a gruelling round, no golfer leaves disappointed. Simply unmissable!
7. Spey Valley, Aviemore
Surrounded by the rich purple heather and lofty peaks of the Cairngorms National Park, a game of golf at Spey Valley is a truly magical experience. Devised by esteemed golf architect Dave Thomas, the course is a test of experience and skill, particularly at 7,153 yards from the medal tees. Still considered one of Scotland’s hidden gems, you may want to get there quick before the word really gets out.
8. The Roxburghe
If you want to follow in the footsteps of such golfing greats as Sam Torrance and Nick Faldo, head to the Roxburghe. Another offering from the Dave Thomas legacy, this beautiful golf course has already ranked Top 100 in the UK and fifth best inland golf course in Scotland, despite being relatively young. Those looking for a challenge will not be disappointed, the 7,000 long course and tricky deep bunkers are a real hit with those inclined to hit the ball long and high.
9. Crail Golfing Society
Founded in February 1786, the Crail Golfing Society is one of the world’s oldest golf clubs, today boasting two links golf courses — the Craighead Links and the Balcomie Links. Balcomie tends to be considered a better layout, with spectacular views of the ocean from every tee. Don’t leave without checking out the fearsome “Hell’s Hole”, representing a challenging 459-yard par four across the shoreline.
10. Cardrona Golf Course
Yet another offspring from the legendary Dave Thomas, the relatively new golf course at Cardrona boasts both a stunning yet testing layout, beautifully in keeping with the dramatic natural landscapes which surround. With a fantastic hotel and practice facilities alongside it, Cardrona makes an excellent golfing break, and the tricky par-73 track is also now a regular stop on the PGA Europro Tour.
For further reading, check out this online travel guide Scotland.