Golf Courses (& History of the Game )

With approximately 32,000 courses in 206 countries across six of the continents and with around 60 million participants Golf is without doubt a truly global sport

But golf really has only one true home……..Scotland!

For any keen student of this great game, experiencing a classic Scottish golf vacation is an enduring ambition. Boasting 578 courses for a population around 5.3 million, we have one of the highest “ courses to people “ ratios of any country.

While the origins of Golf in Scotland can be traced back to the mid 15th century, the oldest known course in the country – and the world – can be found on the east coast of The Kingdom of Fife in the university town of St Andrews.

In addition to being the location of the world famous Old Course the town is also widely recognised as golf’s spiritual and administrative home with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (The R & A) being the ruling authority for the game worldwide; together with the USGA in America.The iconic R & A clubhouse is located directly behind the first tee on the Old Course; an intimidating sight for all golfers regardless of ability.

With such a vast selection of courses spread across the country, anyone booking their Scottish golfing break with us can decide to experience everything from classic sweeping seaside links to inland beauties and island gems.

Royal Dornoch

Royal Dornoch

Situated just an hour’s drive north of the Highland Capital Inverness, Royal Dornoch Golf Club boasts two fine courses (Championship & Struie) with the Championship course ranked second in Golf Digest’s 2018 World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.

There is certainly no layout on earth that has a more natural feel than this incredible northern links. Royal Dornoch delivers a selection of highly individual golf holes flowing across the most exquisite playing surfaces.

The golfer on the Championship course is presented with 18 holes each of character and challenge that can be recalled to mind long after the round is completed. Raised or sloping greens are characteristic as well as elevated tees so the target is well presented although rarely easy to reach.

The Struie holes are typified by greens smaller in size and the fairways generally narrower than the Championship course but this is a fair test of golf where accurate drives struck to the correct side of the fairway will result in easier approach shots to the green.

This is golf in its purest form

Castle Stuart

Castle Stuart

Heading east of Inverness sits the Castle Stuart Golf Links which although only ten years old has already hosted the Scottish Open on four occasions.

The course is set over a fabulous stretch of coastline with a number of the most striking holes played right along the water’s edge. On the Moray Firth with views eastwards towards Chanonry Point, north to The Black Isle and west towards the Kessock Bridge and the mountains beyond, this is an exhilarating setting for golf

The course has been designed to be playable by golfers of all standards.

Nairn

Nairn

Further along the Moray Firth from Castle Stuart, Nairn Golf Club is recognised as one of the most spectacular seaside courses in the country with sea views from every hole.

During the summer months fairways are fast running and covered in humps and hollows; patience is certainly required to accept the odd cruel bounce. Nairn is a delightful links with its fairways framed by gorse bushes and heather on many holes, heaping further pressure on to the tee shot.

The greens are sited in some tricky places with most well protected by bunkers or natural hazards and all of them fast and true; a Nairn trademark.

Founded in 1887, it is now one of the best courses in Scotland and has hosted a number of important championships including both The Walker Cup and The Curtis Cup.

Cruden Bay

Cruden Bay

Located on the east coast, north of Aberdeen, the Championship course at Cruden Bay Golf Club provides old fashioned links golf at its best.

Set against the backdrop of the North Sea, this most demanding of courses requires power, placement and fine judgement. An inspirational golf course, regarded by many as a masterpiece Cruden Bay winds its way in a figure of eight through towering dunes. There are panoramic sea views, a stunning beach, blind drives and back to back par 3’s.

In 2015 the club was presented with the Scottish Golf Tourism Award for the top course in Scotland.

Royal Aberdeen

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Founded in 1780, making it the sixth oldest club in the world, the club has two superb courses.

The Balgownie Links is generally recognised as one of the truest links anywhere in golf.

Set over rugged and natural coastal terrain and always maintained in superb condition, Royal Aberdeen is a classic out and back Scottish links with narrow and rumpled fairways, sloping greens, testing run – off areas and perilous bunkers. The course includes a great selection of holes demanding power, precision or both.

Regardless of the conditions, this demanding but rewarding test is an absolute treat.

Trump – Aberdeen

This magnificent Martin Hawtree design set in the towering dunes of The Menie Estate has captivated golfers since its opening in 2012.

Rated by many as an instant classic this is a spectacular course offering the very best of modern links golf

Carnoustie

Carnoustie

As host course for the 2018 Open Championship, Carnoustie Championship course makes a strong claim to presenting the sternest test of golf in the country and is arguably the toughest on The Open rota.

The layout demands length, accuracy, careful strategy and a delicate touch. Avoid the numerous bunkers, out of bounds and the Barry Burn and you will enjoy a hugely rewarding experience

Monifieth

Monifieth

The Medal Course at Monifieth is very highly rated and a “ must play “ for golf fanatics

It was here at Monifieth in 1975 where five time Open Champion Tom Watson first experienced playing links golf. The Medal Course has a reputation as a hard, uncompromising challenge, bounded on one side by the main rail line to the north.

Large, fast ,firm and true greens together with clever bunkering are the hallmarks of this fine links.

Scotscraig

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Part links, part heathland, Scotscraig is the 13th oldest golf club in the world and is a course you cannot afford to miss.

Playing over undulating terrain accuracy is certainly more important than length; rewarding the player who is able to plan each stroke with the next one in mind.

Since 1984 the course has been chosen as one of the local venues to host Final Qualifying whenever the Open is held at St Andrews

Old Course, St Andrews

Swilcan Bridge at The Old Course, St. Andrews

The oldest course in the world and a 29 time host venue of The Open Championship.

It’s no surprise that for all golfers around the world it is the ultimate bucket list golf destination. With its double greens, crossovers, challenging slopes and gaping bunkers, there’s nothing quite like it in world golf. Any golfer travelling to St Andrews for the first time is likely to be as excited, nervous and even overawed as it is possible to be by the sport we love.

Simply the most atmospheric course in the world.

Kingsbarns

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The course opened in July 2000 to rapturous applause.

Situated just six miles from St Andrews, Kingsbarns is an important addition to the ancient links courses in the area.

One of only a few true links courses to be built recently along Scotland’s coastline, it fully deserves its status as one of the greatest links courses in the world.

Gullane

Gullane is a small town that lives and breathes golf. The Gullane No.1 course was laid down in 1884 and is the most senior of a triumvirate of courses at Gullane golf Club.

Today Gullane is one of Scotland’s most prestigious member clubs, mixing the finest tradition with some of the most admired links land in the world.

Gullane is blessed with superb turf, offers dramatic coastal views and presents a golfing challenge to savour

Muirfield

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Host to fifteen Open Championships; most recently in 2013, Muirfield is considered by many top professionals to be one of the fairest Open golf courses.

Having been lengthened prior to the 2013 Open the course now measures 7,192 yards with par set at 71. Muirfield has become a stern 21st century challenge, especially when the wind blows.  The layout ensures that the wind hits you from all directions, but Muirfield is as difficult to play downwind as it is upwind.

Muirfield is a traditional links of the highest calibre.

Archerfield

Although it only opened for play in 2004, The Fidra course at The Archerfield Estate blends very well into the group of premium golf layouts in this stretch of East Lothian.

Located between Muirfield and North Berwick, golf had not been played here for the last fifty years.

Major investment to create two new courses; The Fidra and The Dirleton together with the restoration of Archerfield House now offers members and visitors a very special Scottish links golf experience   

North Berwick

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Golf has been played over the historic West Links course since the 17th century.

A true championship links course, having hosted Final Qualifying for The Open Championship. It’s not the longest links in the world but it’s sheer fun and a unique experience. You need to negotiate stonewalls, deep bunkers and all kinds of humps and hollows. You also need to hit blind shots and some shots out over the beach.

The West Links remains one of Scotland’s most remarkable courses. Charming and totally memorable.

Turnberry

turnberry golf club

The Ailsa course at the Turnberry resort is probably the most scenic Open Championship golf course.

The stretch of holes from the 4th to the 11th is thrilling and the scenery breathtaking; the last four holes are as demanding as you will find anywhere.

The course underwent major changes during 2015/16 with a number of the holes now making full use of the shoreline’s potential, demanding shots played across rocks and waves. The famous lighthouse has also now been transformed into one of the most amazing halfway houses in golf.

The former Kintyre course has now been significantly upgraded and opened in 2017 as The King Robert the Bruce course.

Royal Troon

Troon Golf Club was awarded Royal status in 1978 to celebrate its centenary and has since been known as Royal Troon Golf Club.

One of the great links courses in Scotland, the Old course is a challenging test of golfing ability.  Although the course measures over 7,000 yds, line is more important than distance from the tee.Bunkers are everywhere with the majority not visible from the tees.

There’s also plenty of deep rough and a good smattering of gorse and broom to punish any wayward shot.

Gleneagles

gleneagles golf club

Positioned right at the heart of Scotland, Perthshire has an abundance of high quality golf courses and the most well known of these is Gleneagles.

The two original courses The King’s and The Queen’s opened in 1919, with the magnificent hotel opening in 1924. 1993 saw the opening of The PGA Centenary Course, host course for the 2014 Ryder Cup.Considered by many to be Kames Braid’s masterpiece, the King’s at Gleneagles is one of Scotland’s finest inland courses.

Springy moorland turf, the odd blind shot and the glorious Perthshire countryside make any round here an unforgettable experience.

Breathtaking backdrops and a sense of history make this a must play

Blairgowrie

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At the Blairgowrie Golf Club, situated in the magnificent Perthshire countryside you have the choice of playing the renowned Rosemount or Lansdowne championship courses.

The original course was designed by Dr Alister Mackenzie, the architect of Augusta National, Cypress Point and many others before being superbly reworked by James Braid. Consistently featuring in Scotland’s top course rankings the quality of these layouts is truly exceptional. The Rosemount course is set through mature pines, silver birch and heather. The greens are always immaculate and in the summer can be extremely fast running.

Every hole demands careful thought and a unique approach.