Top Scottish Golf Courses

Scotland is known as the birthplace of golf and boasts some of the world’s most renowned golf courses. If you’re a golf enthusiast, a trip to Scotland is a pilgrimage you must make. Here are some of the top Scottish golf courses that should be on your bucket list:

Rangefinder on Discount

1. St. Andrews Links, Fife

  • Overview: Often referred to as the “Home of Golf,” St. Andrews is the most famous golf destination in the world. It features several courses, including the Old Course, which is the oldest golf course in the world.
  • Highlights: The Old Course is iconic, with features like the Swilcan Bridge and Hell Bunker. It hosts The Open Championship regularly and is a must-play for any golfer.

2. Muirfield, East Lothian

  • Overview: Muirfield is a historic and private links course, known for its challenging layout and natural beauty.
  • Highlights: The course has hosted The Open Championship numerous times and is renowned for its tough, fast-running fairways and exceptional green complexes.

3. Royal Dornoch, Highlands

  • Overview: Located in the remote Highlands, Royal Dornoch offers breathtaking scenery and a traditional links golf experience.
  • Highlights: It’s often considered one of the world’s most natural and unspoiled courses, with undulating fairways, deep bunkers, and panoramic views of the Dornoch Firth.

4. Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus

  • Overview: Carnoustie is known for its stern test of golf, with challenging winds, deep bunkers, and narrow fairways.
  • Highlights: It’s hosted The Open Championship several times and is famous for its demanding closing holes, especially the par-4 18th known as “Barry Burn.”

5. Royal Troon, Ayrshire

  • Overview: Royal Troon is a classic links course situated on the west coast of Scotland.
  • Highlights: The “Postage Stamp” par-3 8th hole is legendary for its tiny green, and the course has hosted The Open Championship numerous times, offering a true links challenge.

6. Turnberry, South Ayrshire

  • Overview: Turnberry is a luxury golf resort with two stunning courses, the Ailsa and the King Robert the Bruce.
  • Highlights: The Ailsa Course is the standout, offering panoramic views of the Ayrshire coast and the iconic lighthouse. It has hosted The Open Championship several times.

7. Castle Stuart Golf Links, Inverness

  • Overview: Castle Stuart is a relatively new course but has quickly gained a reputation for its modern design and stunning views.
  • Highlights: The course overlooks the Moray Firth and offers a links-style experience with challenging bunkers and fast greens.

8. Gleneagles, Perthshire

  • Overview: Gleneagles is a luxury resort with three championship courses: the King’s Course, Queen’s Course, and PGA Centenary Course.
  • Highlights: The PGA Centenary Course hosted the 2014 Ryder Cup and offers a challenging test of golf amidst the beautiful Scottish countryside.

9. Prestwick Golf Club, Ayrshire

  • Overview: Prestwick is a historic club and the birthplace of the Open Championship.
  • Highlights: While it no longer hosts The Open, it remains a classic links course with quirks like the “Himalayas” bunker and the famous “Railway” hole.

10. Kingsbarns Golf Links, Fife

  • Overview: Kingsbarns is a modern links course with a spectacular coastal setting.
  • Highlights: Known for its stunning sea views and strategic design, it has quickly gained recognition as one of Scotland’s top golfing destinations.

11. Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Aberdeenshire

Overview: Royal Aberdeen is a historic links course that provides a challenging yet enjoyable round of golf.

Highlights: Known for its picturesque dunes and tricky bunkers, this course has hosted several prestigious events, including the Scottish Open.

12. Nairn Golf Club, Highlands

Overview: Nairn is a traditional links course situated on the Moray Firth coastline.

Highlights: This course offers a great mix of holes, including those with views of the sea and challenging par-4s. It has hosted both amateur and professional events.

13. Cruden Bay Golf Club, Aberdeenshire

Overview: Cruden Bay is a hidden gem with stunning coastal views and a unique layout.

Highlights: Golfers are treated to dramatic elevation changes, blind shots, and panoramic vistas of the North Sea. The course’s quirks make it a delightful challenge.

14. Machrihanish Golf Club, Argyll

Overview: Machrihanish is a remote course on the Kintyre Peninsula, offering a true links experience.

Highlights: Golfers can expect a demanding round with fierce winds, deep bunkers, and rugged terrain. The opening hole, with its tee shot over the beach, is particularly memorable.

15. Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Aberdeenshire

Overview: Royal Aberdeen is a historic links course that provides a challenging yet enjoyable round of golf.

Highlights: Known for its picturesque dunes and tricky bunkers, this course has hosted several prestigious events, including the Scottish Open.

16. Gullane Golf Club, East Lothian

Overview: Gullane boasts three courses, with Gullane No. 1 being the standout.

Highlights: The No. 1 course offers panoramic views of the Firth of Forth and a superb test of golf, with firm fairways and quick greens. It has hosted multiple Scottish Opens.

17. Western Gailes Golf Club, Ayrshire

Overview: Western Gailes is a classic links course tucked between the railway and the sea.

Highlights: This hidden gem is known for its excellent conditioning and strategic design, making it a favorite among golf purists.

18. North Berwick Golf Club, East Lothian

Overview: North Berwick is a historic links course with a quirky layout and stunning views of the Bass Rock.

Highlights: Golfers encounter unique challenges like the “Redan” and “Pit” holes, making this course both fun and strategic.

St. Andrews Links, Fife

Course NameLocationYear EstablishedParNotable Features
Old CourseSt. Andrews140072Swilcan Bridge, Hell Bunker, The Open host
New CourseSt. Andrews189571Traditional links design
Jubilee CourseSt. Andrews189772Stunning sea views
Eden CourseSt. Andrews191470Challenging par 5s
Castle CourseSt. Andrews200871Panoramic views

Muirfield, East Lothian

Course NameLocationYear EstablishedParNotable Features
MuirfieldGullane174471Traditional layout, deep bunkers
East LothianNatural beauty

Royal Dornoch, Highlands

Course NameLocationYear EstablishedParNotable Features
Royal DornochDornoch187770Unspoiled, undulating fairways
HighlandsPanoramic views of Dornoch Firth

Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus

Course NameLocationYear EstablishedParNotable Features
Championship CourseCarnoustie184272Challenging winds, “Barry Burn” 18th
AngusTough, fast-running fairways

Royal Troon, Ayrshire

Course NameLocationYear EstablishedParNotable Features
Old CourseTroon187871“Postage Stamp” 8th hole, links golf

In conclusion, Scotland is a golfer’s paradise with a rich history and an impressive array of top-notch golf courses. These courses, including iconic names like St. Andrews Links, Royal Dornoch, Turnberry, Muirfield, Royal Troon, Carnoustie, Gleneagles, and Kingsbarns, offer a diverse range of challenges and breathtaking landscapes. From links courses along rugged coastlines to inland gems surrounded by stunning Scottish scenery, these courses have hosted prestigious tournaments and continue to attract golf enthusiasts from around the world. Scotland’s commitment to the sport’s traditions, coupled with its enduring commitment to maintaining and improving these historic courses, ensures that they remain a must-visit destination for golfers seeking an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a professional golfer or a recreational player, Scotland’s top golf courses offer a unique and memorable golfing adventure.

Top Scottish Golf Courses 2


  • Joel Moore

    Joel Moore's journey with The Golf Mine began in September 2021. His passion for golf, supported by a Golf Management Certification, and quick learning earned him the role of Deputy Editor.

Leave a Comment