Highland Highlights

Golf in the Highlands of Scotland is special. In part it’s because of the wild scenery, which serves as a backdrop to many courses. In part it’s because of the long summer days, which means you can tee off at 6pm and still have plenty time to fit in 18 holes. There’s also the relaxed way of life and the lack of crowds.

Mainly, though, it’s because this northern patch of the country contains some of the best links golf courses to be found anywhere in the world.

In addition to world-famous layouts such as Royal Dornoch and Nairn there are beautiful hidden gems such as Brora, Boat of Garten and the Old Course at Moray, each with a charm all of their own. Add in the spectacular modern links at Castle Stuart, fast becoming one of Europe’s most highly-regarded courses, and a visit to the Highlands offers an unmatchable combination of superb golf and value for money.

Our week-long Highland tour features seven rounds of golf over six courses and also includes a chance to enjoy some of the area’s other fantastic attractions.

Prices for our Highland Highlights tour start at just £3,000/$3,950 per person, based on a party of eight touring in the summer of 2019. We’d love to make this tour happen for team – click here to get in touch

Day One: Arrival and Castle Stuart

We’ll meet at your arrival airport of choice (see notes below) and transfer to accommodation at Castle Stuart Golf Course. The on-course lodges consist of traditional buildings which have been painstakingly renovated to offer first-class accommodation, including en suite bathrooms, twin bedrooms and cosy lounge areas. All meals, except where stated, are provided at Castle Stuart’s clubhouse.

After your long flight, you may choose to relax in your lodgings, take a trip into Inverness (15 minutes by taxi) or spend some time on Castle Stuart’s tour-standard practice facilities. For those golfers who just can’t wait to get started, a round of nine or 18 holes on the links at Castle Stuart can be arranged.

Day Two: Castle Stuart and Inverness
Castle Stuart: 7,009 yds, Par 72
Journey time: Two minute walk!

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 shoreline comes into play on several holes, while the clever use of changes in elevation make clubbing particularly difficult when the wind blows. It’s a challenging but fun start to our tour.

In the afternoon we’ll make the quick journey into Inverness for a short walking tour of the ‘capital of the Highlands’. We’ll have dinner at a restaurant overlooking the banks of the River Ness.

Day Three: Brora
Brora Golf Club: 6,211 yards, Par 70
Journey time: 1hr 15mins

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. The green complexes are fenced off to prevent wandering sheep, cattle or deer from grazing on the good grass; wind from the Moray Firth whips across the wild tussocks of grasses which flank the fairways and several burns (streams) meander across the course.

Don’t be fooled, though. Brora is a serious test of golf. Constructing a good round here requires skilful shotmaking and creativity. This is a place where a feel for the game is all-important, so we’ve scheduled a whole day’s golf, with lunch at the welcoming clubhouse to give you a chance to immerse yourself in this unique environment. By the time you’ve finished your 36thhole, we guarantee there will be a huge grin on your face!

Day Four: Moray (Old) and Cawdor Castle
Moray (Old), 6,572 yards, Par 73
Journey time: 1hr

The Old Course at Moray Golf Club has one or two things in common with its more famous namesake at St Andrews. It’s a traditional ‘out and back’ links where the bounce of the ball can be your best friend or your worse enemy, and it has a 18thgreen nestled in the heart of the town, so your closing putt will be overseen by local people going about their daily business. For many years this venerable links was little known outside the north of Scotland but the successful hosting of several prestigious amateur tournaments has increased Moray Old’s profile considerably.

On the way home we’ll stop in at Cawdor Castle – an impressive medieval tower which dates back to the 14thCentury. Cawdor Castle has long been associated with the legendary Scottish play ‘MacBeth’ but it’s best not to ask too many questions – the veracity of William Shakespeare’s tragic masterpiece is still a touchy subject. After all, the play is only 400 years old!

Day Five: Boat of Garten and Tomatin Distillery
Boat of Garten, 5,876 yds, Par 70
Journey time: 50 mins

We leave the links behind and head for the hills to experience a hidden Highland gem today. Don’t be deceived by Boat of Garten’s lack of yards. This testing inland layout weaves its way through ancient Caledonian forests and the small greens are ferociously well protected. Precision from the tee is essential here. Through the trees you’ll be able to see many of Scotland’s highest peaks – don’t forget to take in the view as you go.

This is whisky country and after your round we’ll travel to the nearby Tomatin Distillery for lunch and a tour of the premises. Whisky has been distilled here for more than 100 years and you’ll have a chance to try Scotland’s national drink before we head home for the evening.

Day Six: Royal Dornoch (match vs University of Highlands and Islands)
Royal Dornoch (Championship Course), 6,748 yards, Par 70
Journey time: 50 minutes

After a morning at leisure we’ll head north to play an undisputed masterpiece. 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. Its remote location means Dornoch will never host major events, but no golfer who makes the journey doubts its quality. The outward nine is traced along higher ground, while the back nine skirts the shores of the Dornoch Firth. It’s an enchanting place.

Today we’ve arranged the added attraction of a matchup against the University of the Highlands and Islands golf team. This classic links is the perfect setting for a fun but competitive afternoon of matchplay golf.

We’ll have lunch and dinner with the UHI team at the Royal Dornoch clubhouse, a perfect place to spend some time with your fellow student golfers.

Day Seven: Nairn and Loch Ness
Nairn (Championship Links), 6,774 yards, Par 72
Journey time: 10 minutes (Nairn), 45 minutes (Loch Ness)

Nestling on the shores of the Moray Firth lies one of Scotland’s classiest links, home of the 1999 Walker Cup and the 2012 Curtis Cup. There are no sudden changes in elevation or severe dog legs here, the challenge is elegant and subtle. What makes the course so difficult is clever bunkering – there are more than 100 of them – gorse-lined fairways and slick greens. Any golfer who gets out of position off the tee can end up in a lot more trouble than they bargained for.

After lunch at the Nairn clubhouse, we’ll spend the last afternoon of our tour cruising the famous waters of Loch Ness. We can’t guarantee a glimpse of the famous monster but the Loch and its shores are hauntingly beautiful and the cruise will give you views of towering mountains, ruined castles and, if we’re lucky, perhaps a golden eagle or two. We’ll have dinner in the evening sun on the shores of Loch Ness before heading back to Castle Stuart to prepare for departure.

Day Eight: Departure
We’ll say goodbye to Castle Stuart after breakfast and transfer to your chosen airport for the journey home.

Travel notes:

College Links Golf offers full-service golf tours. We’ll meet you at the airport and arrange accommodation, golf, transfers and three meals a day. Our service doesn’t include flights. Inverness Airport has daily British Airways flights to London Heathrow and regular flights to Manchester (BA) and Amsterdam Schipol (KLM), all of which offer excellent flight connections to the United States. Glasgow and Edinburgh International Airports daily flights from New York (Newark and JFK), Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles. The transfer time from Glasgow to Castle Stuart is 3hrs 15 mins. Transfer time from Edinburgh to Castle Stuart is 2hrs 55 mins.

Prices for our Highland Highlights tour start at just £3,000/$3,950 per person, based on a party of eight touring in the summer of 2019. We’d love to make this tour happen for team – click here to get in touch