The North

The North

Scotland’s’ far north is remote, beautiful and home to a surprising number of outstanding golf courses. The jewel in the crown is majestic Royal Dornoch – a must play for any serious golfer. Throw in a backdrop of stunning Highland scenery and it’s easy to see why Scotland’s north country has a special place in the heart of so many golfers.

Royal Dornoch Championship Course, Dornoch
Par 70, 6,748 yards

The course: How did one of the world’s great courses come to be built in a sleepy village on the same latitude as southern Alaska? Who knows? Who cares? Royal Dornoch is golf’s ultimate hidden gem.

Dornoch’s remote location means it will never host major events, but no golfer who makes the journey doubts its quality. Ask Tom Watson – a vocal Royal Dornoch fan.
The layout is a classic ‘out-and-back’ links. The outward nine is traced along higher ground, while the back nine skirts the shores of the Dornoch Firth.

One of Dornoch’s features is the raised greens, which will only accept a purely-struck approach and emphasise the penal nature of the greenside bunkering.
While the links feels entirely natural, Dornoch is also less idiosyncratic than many of Scotland’s great courses; there are few blind shots or forced carries and the golfer is always presented with options as to how to build a round.

Signature hole: The short 6th from a raised tee to a tiny, well-guarded green.

What makes it special? Everything! A visit to Royal Dornoch feels more like a pilgrimage than a mere round of golf.

Castle Stuart Golf Links, Inverness
Par 72, 7,009 yards

The course: Opened in 2009 and co-designed by Mark Parsinen and Gil Hanse, this highly acclaimed modern links set on the Moray Firth affords striking views of the Kessock bridge and Chanonry lighthouse. It has, despite its infancy, hosted the European Tour’s Scottish Open on a number of occasions, and is well-placed as one of the world’s best new courses.

Signature hole: At 305 yards, the third hole plays straight towards the water’s edge. Throw in a couple of well-place pot bunkers and you have one of the finest short par 4s in the UK.

What makes it special? Alongside spectacular views, the wild looking waste bunkers give clear definition to a wonderful test of golf.

Nairn Championship Links, Nairn
Par 72, 6,774 yards

The course: Nestling on the shores of the Moray Firth lies one of Scotland’s finest links. Home of the 1999 Walker Cup and the 2012 Curtis Cup, the course comprises over 100 bunkers guarding subtle greens and gorse lined fairways which demand accurate ball striking.

Signature hole: The 435-yard 13th has deep trouble lurking both sides of the fairway in the shape of gorse and out of bounds, an accurate approach is played into an elevated green with plenty of subtle undulations.

What makes it special? The waters of the Moray Firth can be seen from every hole making for an enviable setting.

Moray Old, Lossiemouth
Par 71, 6,717 yards

The course: A traditional 9 holes out and 9 holes back course at the end of the Morayshire whisky trail offering wonderful views of the Coversea Skerrie lighthouse. The revetted bunkers, running fairways and fast greens make it exactly what links golf should be. Previously hosted a Walker Cup and numerous professional golf events.

Signature hole: A round over the Moray Old culminates with a classic finishing par-4 demanding an accurate tee-shot to a heavily bumping and rolling fairway and then an approach to a deep and raised plateau green guarded by a gaping bunker.

What makes it special? The course is memorable and so too is the hilltop granite stone clubhouse that overlooks the rugged links and the contrasting beautiful coastline.

Boat of Garten, nr Aviemore
Par 70, 5,876 yards

The course: Set alongside the River Spey in the heart of the Caringorms National Park, the ‘Boat’ is unequivocally one of Scotland’s hidden gems. Braid’s design features 18 completely individual holes set against birch trees, heather and broom.

Signature hole:  ‘Avenue’, the par-4 sixth hole, requires a good drive down a narrow tree-lined fairway, leaving a mid-iron approach to a plateau green guarded by bunkers on both sides.

What makes it special? Aptly named the ‘Gleneagles of the North’ . Great scenery and a fair test of golf.

Carnegie Links, Dornoch
Par 71, 6,833 yards

The course: This relatively modern links is part of the exclusive Carnegie Club complex near Dornoch. Architect Donald Steel was handed a gorgeous pocket of land between Loch Evelix and the Dornoch Firth and created a subtle gem which grows in reputation with every passing year. A well struck shot is almost always rewarded while poor golf is routinely punished.

Signature hole: The 17th is a short par 4 where eagle is a distinct possibility – but a threatening combination of beach, bunkers and a cleverly-contoured green could destroy a good round, too.

What makes it special? A relatively modern links in a spectacular coastal setting, the Carnegie Links is refreshingly subtle and immaculately presented.

Brora Golf Club
Par 70, 6,211 yards

The course: So many modern courses are carefully sculpted to look as ‘natural’ as possible but Brora is the real deal. Sheep patrol the fairways (electric fences keep them off the greens) while the course itself feels as if it has been laid out on gently undulating linksland with barely any earth-moving or landscaping. While short by modern standards, any kind of wind increases the challenge considerably.

Signature hole: The 13th, ‘Snake’, is barely 120 yards long but is a real test of touch thanks to five pot bunkers and a winding burn which gathers anything short.

What makes it special? Communing with nature has never been so much fun.

Ayrshire and the west

Ayrshire and the west

Scotland’s Ayrshire coast is home to a truly incredible number of great links courses – including three Open Championship venues. Turnberry’s redeveloped Ailsa course, Royal Troon and Old Prestwick understandably grab most of the limelight in this part of the country but several less-heralded layouts deserve attention, too. Meanwhile, a trip ever further west to the spectacular links at Machrihanish and Machrie is an unforgettable adventure.

Ailsa Course, Trump Turnberry, Ayrshire
Par 71, 7,448 yards

The course: The Ailsa course has staged four Opens and shaped some of the most remarkable moments in the Championship’s history, including Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson’s epic ‘Duel in the Sun’. Running alongside the glorious Ayrshire coastline, with Arran and Ailsa Craig as a stunning backdrop, it is one of the finest golfing destinations in the world.

Signature hole: The 238-yard par 3 9th, ‘Bruce’s Castle’, is something special. Both tee and green are peninsulas and it’s all carry over a stony ridge and the Irish Sea below.

What makes it special? The Ailsa was already a great links. Recent changes which bring the coast in to play in a thrilling way, have made one of the world’s great courses even greater.

Royal Troon, Troon, Ayrshire
Par 71, 7,208 yards

The course: Troon’s Championship Links is one of the world’s finest golfing tests, having hosted the Open on nine occasions. It skirts along and tussles with the rugged coastline, and displays graceful views of the Isle of Arran and the famous Ailsa Craig. Make your score on the friendly front nine as the returning holes into the prevailing wind are relentless.

Signature hole: Royal Troon’s 8th hole, the ‘Postage Stamp’, is arguably the most famous par 3 in the world. Just 123 yards in length, the narrowness of the green and the severity of the bunkers make it a daunting task.

What makes it special? Royal Troon has both the longest and shortest holes on the Open circuit. The other 16 are just as memorable.

Prestwick (Old), Ayrshire
Par 71, 6,908 yards

The course: This time-honoured links hosted the Open on 24 occasions – including the inaugural Championship back in 1860. Most of the original features remain including cavernous bunkers buttressed by railway sleepers and the menacing Pow Burn which twists across several holes. With stunning sea views and rippling greens, Prestwick is a spectacular setting for a momentous game of golf.

Signature hole: The 3rd is a par 5 dominated by the legendary Cardinal bunker which cuts across the fairway at around 250 yards from the tee.

What makes it special? With its unrivalled history, charismatic course and warm welcome, there are few places like it in the world of golf.

Machrihanish, Campbeltown, Argyll
Par 70, 6,462 yards

The course: With firm, fast and true greens positioned in the most varied of locations, Machrihanish is a joy to behold. Blind tee shots, fabulous sea views, undulating fairways and rugged dunes all add up to a magical experience.

Signature hole: Standing on the raised 1st tee, a golfer’s opening shot must carry a corner of the Atlantic Ocean to reach a fairway which dog legs to the left. An exhilarating start to the round.

What makes it special? Arguably, the most natural, romantic and enjoyable place to play golf.

Western Gailes, Irvine, Ayrshire
Par 71, 7,014 yards

The course: This glorious links, superbly located between the railway and the sea, is up there with the best. Large dunes, cunning burns, fast greens and terrific views of the Isle of Arran combine to make it a beautiful challenge. An Open Qualifying venue.

Signature hole: The 7th, a medium-length par three played from a beach-side tee to a green enclosed by sand dunes and protected by six devilish pot bunkers.

What makes it special: While the links run hard and fast, the clubhouse should be played slowly as it is a classic, with a great locker room and a memorable club museum up the stairs.

Kilmarnock Barassie, Troon, Ayrshire
Par 72, 6,852 yards

The course: At least three different tracks can be played from the 27 holes available. By far the most challenging is the Barassie Links, which is used when the club hosts competitive events. This classic links has everything – great conditioning, humps, hollows, undulations, blind shots, penal rough and lightning-fast greens. An Open Qualifying venue that is definitely worth a visit.

Signature hole: The 18th is a short par 4 which may seem innocuous from the tee, but clever fairway cross-bunkering means it can be a card-wrecker.

What makes it special? Great condition, great golfing challenge, great people.

King Robert the Bruce Course, Trump Turnberry, Ayrshire
Par 70, 6,921 yards

The course: Opened in July 2017 on the site of the former Kintyre course, Martin Ebert’s design makes full use of a spectacular coastal setting to create a track which perfectly compliments the Ailsa course. Wide fairways and expansive greens can lull you into a false sense of security here. Playing to the well-protected green systems from the wrong position can be deadly while the undulating, ultra-slick putting surfaces demand respect.

Signature hole: The 9th is a spectacular par 4, featuring an approach shot over a valley to a green which seems like it is suspended in mid air above the ocean.

What makes it special? The King Robert the Bruce gives keen golfers a compelling reason to stay an extra day at Turnberry.

Dundonald Links, Irvine, Ayrshire
Par 72, 7,100 yards

The course: An exciting addition to one of links golf’s classiest neighbourhoods when it opened in 2004, Dundonald Links has matured into a championship-quality test. Squeezed into a compact pocket of land between Western Gailes, Barassie and Gailes Links, and designed by Kyle Phillips of Kingsbarns fame, this modern links stands comparison with its illustrious neighbours.

Signature hole: A decent tee shot at the par five 18th will bring the green into range but the narrow burn which wraps itself round much of the green has broken many a heart and wrecked many a scorecard.

What makes it special? Pristine fairways and hard, fast greens make for a challenging links test.

Gailes Links, Irvine, Ayrshire
Par 71, 6,903 yards

The course: Gailes Links does not have the seaside views of neighbouring Western Gailes. What it does have is velvety greens, tight fairways and acres of gorse and heather. One of the features of Gailes is its fairness; there are fewer random bounces than is usual on a links course and a good shot is almost always rewarded while the greens are wonderfully true.

Signature hole: The 12th is a par 3 to a plateau green which is flanked by an ocean of gorse. It’s a particular test of nerve when played in a cross-wind.

What makes it special? An Open qualifying venue and home of the Tennant Cup -the oldest amateur strokeplay event in the world – this classic links is graced with tight fairways, well-placed bunkers and an abundance of gorse and heather.

Machrihanish Dunes, Campbeltown, Argyll
Par 72, 7,082 yards

The course: Located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, this rugged links mirrors architect David McLay-Kidd’s love of the land, evident from the routing, as well the positioning of its tees and greens. Set on a Site of Special Scientific Interest, restrictions on the use of irrigation, fertilisers and drainage mean that you have to take your luck with fairway lies. What’s more, the rough is relentless. It’s like playing golf in the 19th century.

Signature hole: The 165 yard par-3 fifth hole has more than a hint of the signature hole at Royal Portrush about it.

What makes it special? Of the 259 acres on which the course sits, only seven were disturbed during course construction. As such, the fairways are just as they were found, making this an earthly experience.

Machrie, Isle of Islay
Par 72, 6,782 yards

The course: Set in the dunes of Islay, Queen of the Hebrides, Machrie Links is one of the most beautiful locations in world golf. Recently upgraded to 18 holes, the amazing positioning of the greens has virtually negated the need for bunkers. Playing it is a bewitching and exalting experience.

Signature hole: The par-5 2nd doglegs sharply to follow the path of a fast flowing burn that later forms one flank of a tight entrance to the green.

What makes it special? There are many reasons to relish the prospect of playing at Machrie Links, not least of which is the stunning surrounding scenery. When allied to the quality of the course, the natural hazards of the links game, a number of blind holes and the sense of history that effuses from the venue, any day spent here will be a memorable one.

Askernish, Isle of South Uist
Par 72, 6,259 yards

The course: This extraordinary, and on-going, project has seen an Old Tom Morris links that had been abandoned brought back to life. They are doing a good job as the course has been acclaimed as the most natural golf course in the world. For anyone with a love of links golf and its history, this is a must play.

Signature hole: The 410-yard par-4 7th is named Cabinet Minister after the fictionalised ship featured in ‘Whisky Galore’ that sunk in the bay between South Uist and Eriskay during the war. The hole has two drops in elevation towards a valley between the dunes.

What makes it special? In effect you are playing on a living museum, following in the footsteps of Old Tom Morris and playing golf as it used to be.

Southerness, Dumfries & Galloway
Par 69, 6,728 yards

The course: Tucked away in a quiet corner of Scotland’s south coast, the stately links at Southerness is a beguiling mix of tight fairways and well-protected greens. Designed by MacKenzie Ross, more famous for his work on the Ailsa course at Turnberry, the challenge at Southerness seems gentle until a wayward tee shot finds a tiny fairway pot bunker, or a slightly errant approach leaves a devilish difficult chip to negotiate. Southerness is a subtle test – but not one to be underestimated.

Signature hole: The 12th is a dog leg par four to a green perched on sand dunes above the Solway Firth.

What makes it special? Thoughtfully-designed Southerness proves that a links course does not need outrageous slopes or towering dunes to provide a captivating test.

West Kilbride, Ayrshire
Par 71, 6,523 yards

The course: The links at West Kilbride comes to life on the back nine with a thrilling succession of outstanding shoreline holes. Players get their first experience of the coast at the par 4 10th, where a hooked drive will find the beach. The routing returns to the coast at the 13th and a memorable stretch continues to the 16th with the beach to the right a constant menace.

Signature hole: Players must flirt with the beach on their approach to the long par 4 15th – a thrilling shot.

What makes it special? A chance to play along the shore, accompanied by stunning views of the Isle of Arran.

The North East

The North East

Scotland’s North East region, centred round bustling Aberdeen, is often overlooked by visiting golfers. Big mistake!

The area is home to some truly stunning links including Royal Aberdeen, Trump International Golf Links and unique, brilliant Cruden Bay – one of Golf Digest’s top 100 courses in the world.

Cruden Bay
Par 70, 6,609 yards

The course: Cruden Bay is great fun on a grand scale; towering sand hills, cavernous bunkers and dramatic plateau greens abound. Shooting a good score relies on getting the right feel for the bumps, hollows and blind shots which must be negotiated, while the raised putting surfaces put a particular emphasis on the short game. The huge dunes come into play often; tees are perched on the top of some, greens are hidden behind others. No golfer ever forgets playing Cruden Bay – it’s an 18 hole rollercoaster.

Signature hole: The 6th is a stunning par 5. A good drive leaves the enticing prospect of a long approach over sandy wastes and a burn to a raised green.

What makes it special? A yardage book is no help to you here – trust your game and use your instinct to make a good score.

Trump International Golf Links, Balmedie, Aberdeenshire
Par 72, 7,428 yards

The course: This modern championship track,designed by Dr. Martin Hawtree, follows a classic pattern of two out-and-back nine hole loops. All 18 holes thread their way through mighty dunes. Add drives from elevated tees, heavily contoured greens with a profusion of run-offs, rivetted bunkers and lush green fairways lined with heavy fescues – the course is aesthetically stunning. Select your tees carefully in line with your game and the weather as the wrong choice would do nothing for your soul!

Signature hole: The 445-yard par-4 fourteenth is breathtaking. The elevated tee offers a mesmeric vista of the hole as it cuts through the Great Dunes of Scotland with the North Sea and the dramatic coastline to the right and a fairway below plunging into a secluded valley.

What makes it special? Donald Trump, owner and 45th President of the United States, named it the world’s greatest golf course. Would the President lie to you? Play it and decide for yourself!

Royal Aberdeen
Par 71, 6,885 yards

The course: For many years one of Scotland’s under-appreciated gems, Royal Aberdeen’s profile has risen in recent years thanks to successfully hosting events such as the 2005 Seniors British Open (won by Tom Watson), the 2011 Walker Cup and the 2014 Scottish Open (won by Justin Rose). The opening nine holes, stretching away from the clubhouse into a vast network of sand dunes, are unforgettable. The back nine is less spectacular but just as challenging thanks to penal bunker complexes.

Signature hole: The short 8th plays to a green wedged between sand dunes and protected by no fewer than 10 bunkers.

What makes it special? Royal Aberdeen’s stunning outward nine is as good a sequence of links holes as any to be found on the British Isles.

Murcar Links, Aberdeen
Par 71, 6,516 yards

The course: As with neighbouring Royal Aberdeen, the links at Murcar has recently enjoyed a return to prominence, thanks to hosting events on the men’s European Tour. The layout is notable for incorporating several changes of direction which presents particular problems when the wind blows – as it often does in this part of Scotland. The front nine includes a memorable stretch of holes through beach-side dunes, while the back nine includes several sharp changes in elevation, adding to the difficulty.

Signature hole: The 16th is a medium length par 3 to a raised green which is usually played into the prevailing wind. A snaking burn, acres of gorse and deep pot bunkers cause the danger.

What makes it special? An elegant links through undulating dunes, Murcar boasts a multitude of risk/reward shots.

 

Accommodation

Accommodation

The accommodation on each tour is tailored to the specific needs of each touring party. We’ll listen carefully to your travelling requirements to come up with a package which is right for you.

Hotels

College Links Golf has relationships with some of Scotland’s most prominent hotel groups which allows us to find the best rooms to match your group’s needs. Scotland boasts some of the most illustrious hotels in Europe, such as the five star Gleneagles and Turnberry resorts, but also has a wide array of less heralded inns and hotels where a warm welcome and comfortable lodging is guaranteed. College Links Golf will discuss your specific needs and arrange accommodation to ensure it meets the standard of comfort and convenience our clients expect.

Campus stays

We can arrange for groups to experience campus life, Scottish style, by incorporating a stay at university accommodation. It’s a chance to mingle with students from all walks of life and often represents excellent value for money.

Residences

For some visitors, renting a home or apartment as a central base for a tour adds a particular charm to a Scottish trip. College Links Golf has a database of properties to fit any requirement, from country homes set in stunning scenery to apartments in the heart of Scotland’s vibrant cities. We can also arrange for full catering and housekeeping services.

2019 College Links Challenge

2019 College Links Challenge

The College Links Challenge is a unique event which brings together college teams and alumni from both sides of the Atlantic for a celebration of competitive golf in unforgettable surroundings. The 2019 event will be held at ****  from *** ***.

Each team will have an opportunity to test their skills in a NCAA-accredited three-day competition against varsity programmes from Scotland, the rest of the United Kingdom and Europe. There will also be an opportunity to play some of Scotland’s other famous championship links and for alumni to combine spectating at the event with exploring some of Scotland’s most popular attractions.

The Competition:

  • An NCAA-accredited 54-hole competition over the *** course
  • One practice round on the *** course
  • One round of golf at ***
  • One round of golf at ***
  • Full access to all resort practice facilities
  • A designated team room for the exclusive use of each college

The Venue:

  • ****
  • *****
  • *****
  • ****

Extras:

  • A welcome party where players, coaches and alumni will be introduced and have the opportunity to meet athletes, alumni and representatives from other colleges
  • A gala farewell dinner and prizegiving
  • Option tours to famous Scottish sights, including Edinburgh Castle, Loch Lomond and the Highlands