Scotland is a golfer’s paradise. Every corner of the country contains great golfing options, from world-famous championship links to hidden gems. Thanks to Scotland’s compact dimensions, no course is out of reach and it’s possible to see much of the country in a relatively short space of time. Browse our course guides for some inspiration – then get in touch to discuss your college’s tour of Scotland.
Today we answer the call of the wild at unspoiled, untamed Brora. Established in 1891 and playing to its current routing for around 100 years, a round here feels like an adventure.
This testing inland layout weaves its way through ancient Caledonian forests and the small greens are ferociously well protected.
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.
Castle Stuart is only 10 years old but it’s fast becoming one of Scotland’s most highly-regarded courses. Laid out along the banks of the Moray Firth, the layout makes the most of the undulating terrain to create a stunning modern links.
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.
Ayrshire and The West
The links at West Kilbride comes to life on the back nine with a thrilling succession of outstanding shoreline holes.
The course design makes fantastic use of natural features such as large sand dunes and burns which snake alongside fairway landing areas and in front of greens.
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 time-honoured links hosted the Open on 24 occasions – including the inaugural Championship back in 1860.
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.
St Andrews and Fife
The New Course is only 125 years old has been a regular venue for Open Championship final qualifying. It’s a devilish challenge from the tee – undulating fairways and penal gorse abound.
Opened for play in 1995 and remodelled extensively 11 years later, the Dukes is a challenging heathland layout which commands stunning views across St Andrews and beyond.
The unpretentious Eden course lies in the shadow of three more illustrious neighbours but there is plenty enjoyment to be had from a round here.
The Old Course at St Andrews is, of course, the star attraction but the sheer scale and variety of the options for visiting golfers is remarkable. St Andrews itself boasts no fewer than seven championship-standard links while many, many more fantastic challenges are just a short drive from the ‘Auld Grey Toon’.
Cruden Bay (pictured) is great fun on a grand scale; towering sand hills, cavernous bunkers and dramatic plateau greens abound.
Golf has been played over the links in the season town of Montrose, 45 minutes north of Dundee, since 1562.
The links at Murcar has recently enjoyed a return to prominence, thanks in part to hosting an event on the men’s European Tour in 2016.
When Donald Trump announced plans to build a modern links on pristine sand dunes near Aberdeen, he vowed it would be “the greatest golf course in the world”. Today you’ll have a chance to see if the 45th President of the United States was right.
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.
Edinburgh and the Lothians
Opened in 2001, Craigielaw is a modern championship links enjoying panoramic views over the Forth estuary.
Don’t be fooled by the name – the course is a classic links created in 1894 by Tom Morris with holes on each side of a coastal road.
Perfected over 150 years by three giants of the game, Old Tom Morris, James Braid and Ben Sayers, this Open Qualifying venue hugs the coastline along a narrow strip of land within yards of the waves crashing onto the rocky shore.
The oldest golf course in the world with records emanating as far back as 1567, Musselburgh Links hosted the Open Championship on 6 occasions between 1874 and 1889.
The West Links at North Berwick has for centuries been an inspiration to course architects around the world while a growing number of modern links have further added to the area’s appeal.
Carnoustie and Central Scotland
Host of the 2014 Ryder Cup and 2019 Solheim Cup, this Jack Nicklaus signature design is a tough test which combines the heathland characteristics for which Gleneagles is famed with American-style water hazards and bunkering.
The PGA Centenary is tough and the King’s is majestic but the sheer charm of Gleneagles’ shorter, tighter third course makes it a firm favourite for many visitors.
Routed through swathes of pine and birch trees, virtually every hole is played in isolation. Accuracy from the tee is premium. It’s a wonderfully comforting, peaceful setting to play the beautiful game.
Carnoustie, one of the world’s best – and toughest – tests of golf.