Scottish Golf Travel Advice

Golf Top 100: Challenging the Rankings

The latest attempt to rate the top 100 golf courses in Great Britain & Ireland has just been compiled and released by the team at Today’s Golfer (@TheTodaysGolfer) / Golf World (@GolfWorld1) under the guidance of Editor Chris Bertram

Light the touch paper and stand well back.

For many clubs and their members and staff this always brings a mixture of relief at retaining a listing; possibly celebrating an upgrade to the previous year’s ranking. For those courses newly built or having undergone major redesigns simply securing this formal recognition must be very rewarding for all owners, investors, designers and contractors involved in producing these fantastic golf venues.

Where the real fun starts is when much loved courses drop out of the 100 or see a significant drop in ranking.
Already we have seen some heated arguments surrounding the following

What justifies allocating no.1 position to The Old Course? How can the mighty Carnoustie possibly be as low as 17? Should Open venue Royal Troon not be higher than 23?
Disappointment at seeing Blairgowrie and Moray drop out.
The “outrage“ from many links enthusiasts at seeing Western Gailes placed half way down at no.49

The 100 list selection panel really are on a hiding to nothing but having taken some time to read their comments on criteria applied, a number of their decisions can be understood if not wholly accepted (by some)

For potential golf travellers to Scotland in 2022 and beyond these rankings will often be deployed as a crucial part of the whole “bucket list“ approach. However, what it also demonstrates is just how many fantastic courses we have in Scotland which don’t even register on this Top 100.

The 2022 season promises to be an unusual one for Scotland’s incoming golf industry. The combined effect of two lost years due to a certain viral pandemic has resulted in countless pre-booked Scottish golf vacations producing massive demand for tee times across countless glamour name venues.

Given its magnetic draw for any golfer, combined with the anticipation of hosting the historic 150th Open Championship in July, it was inevitable that tee times for The Old Course would be at an absolute premium throughout the 2022 season. Over the last couple of months a number of top 100 courses have been forced to announce the closure of their bookings for this year including Royal Dornoch and North Berwick. It is very likely the remaining Open courses at Muirfield, Royal Troon, Carnoustie and Turnberry together with a select group of ultra popular tracks will all be in a similar position at least for the vital May – September section.

Whilst this intense demand level for tee times is clearly great commercial news for our classic “bucket list“ group and many local suppliers, it has had the unintended effect of persuading many individuals and groups to postpone their dream bespoke Scottish golf trip for yet another 12 months to ensure they have a reasonable chance to play over our legendary links.

Naturally many amateur golfers want to have the chance to challenge themselves over the same fairways and greens where the great champions of this great game have competed but as the Top 100 team has highlighted in defence of some controversial rankings, many of the big Scottish links courses are simply too difficult for the majority of visiting golfers particularly when the sea breeze develops into a 3 club wind and rapidly turns what should be a fun sporting occasion into more of an endurance event.

Ideally this very welcome return of international golf visitors to the Scottish golf scene will also see many of the courses normally overlooked by tour planners benefit from significant increases in tee time bookings as golfers keen to experience traditional Scottish links and heathland courses take advantage of our fabulous range of courses offering great golf at vastly reduced fees compared to the major big name layouts.

What is the best approach then to keep everyone in the tour party happy?
We would like to suggest the following:

  1. Select a couple of areas offering good mix of courses
  2. Establish whether any “Big name“ courses have any availability at all; possibly late afternoon or early evening
  3. Balance off premium prices on no.2  above against 3-4 medium price neighbouring courses
  4. Take full advantage of any joint course package pricing
  5. Use the services of a good tour operator (just saying!)

Example itinerary:

Highlands & Ayrshire
2 weeks incl. 14 rds of golf

Day 1  Kings Club, Inverness
Day 2  Buckpool
Day 3  Hopeman
Day 4  Moray
Day 5  Nairn & Nairn Dunbar
Day 6  Castle Stuart
Day 7  Boat of Garten

Day 8  Dundonald
Day 9  West Kilbride
Day 10 Irvine
Day 11 Barassie
Day 12 Gailes Links
Day 13 Western Gailes

Overall cost of golf approx £1,400 @ £100 average per rd.

The options are endless given the wealth of top quality golf courses across all regions of Scotland. For experienced golf visitors 2022 presents the opportunity to seek out some of our lesser known venues. For first timers this is the ideal chance for those tentative steps on to the sacred golfing soil, the chance to experience the best of a Scottish golf vacation and the chance to establish new friendships to last a lifetime.









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