10 Must Visit Golf Courses In Scotland

top 10 golf courses in scotland

Scotland has many picturesque views of countryside and historical buildings that make the perfect backdrop to a good game of golf. In Scotland, there are over 550 golf courses to choose from. Even if you choose a different one for each day, you’d still never get done by the end of the year! Scotland has more golf courses per golfer than any other country in the world. Best of all, there are so many different sizes and types of golf courses that you can choose the best one suited to you.

Here are ten of the best golf courses in Scotland that you need to visit first.

1. West Links at North Berwick

West Links at North Berwick

If you’re seeking a truly enjoyable golfing experience, rather than one that’s simple or challenging, the West Links at North Berwick may be the first stop on your list. This is one of the quirkiest and most enjoyable layouts that you can find in golf. The site has views of the sea, and is located on the edge of town.

West Links is definitely representative of what a Scottish game of golf can offer. This is the home of the original Redan par three. There is also a quaint 13th that features a green with a small stone wall. Golfers will find plenty of charming surprises here, with enough to help them achieve success every now and then.

2. Kingsbarns Golf Links

Kingsbarns Golf Links

The Kingsbarns Golf Links has been developed in the 21st century, but is one of the best of its kind. There are some visually stunning views on the coastline. This is a course for all skill levels of players, with some complex testing greens for the pro who is seeking a challenge.

This course is popular with international players. It’s where the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is played annually. Not only will you give your golf clubs a good workout, but you’ll be tempted to return for its stunning landscape and views.

3. Old Course at St. Andrews.

 Old Course at St. Andrews

The Old Course at St. Andrews has been in existence for over 500 years. It continues to challenge even pro golfers with its Hell Bunker and Road Hole. Here is where you’ll find the Swilken Bridge, a small stone bridge that spans between Swilcan Burn, between the first and eighteenth fairways. It’s definitely a cultural icon for golfers in Scotland.

Even though there are a few challenges, including watching the incredible view, most levels of golfers will enjoy playing the course. After the game, you can toast to an excellent game of golf at the Jigger Inn or Dunvegan Hotel.

4. Old Course at Prestwick

Old Course at Prestwick

The first golf course to host the first Open Championship that occurred in 1860 was the Old Course at Prestwick. This is where they have hosted this important golfing event over 24 times. There is definitely some golfing history associated with the course and at the clubhouse.

It’s also good to know that this course is fun to play. It has some of the best golf holes in the UK. The first hole is actually right along the railway line. This course has a ton of natural features, deep bunkers, and even some blind shots to challenge the most experienced player. And even though it’s enjoyable for everyone, there are still some challenges for the better player.

5. Royal Dornoch Championship Course

Royal Dornoch championship course

The Royal Dornoch Championship Course is increasing in popularity again, so perhaps it’s best to try out this course before it becomes too crowded. Royal Dornoch is the home of Donald Ross, golf course designer.

Royal Dornoch looks visually spectacular and you’ll find that much of it has natural landscape features, rather than manmade. It’s been creatively bunkered, and even the holes seem to have an unmanufactured feel to them. Golfers who play a game on the course will definitely have an exhilarating game.

6. Ailsa Course at Turnberry

Ailsa Course at Turnberry

The Alisa Course at Turnberry has undergone some improvements and changes over the past year. It recently re-opened for games this June. These improvements have done much to take it to its fullest extent, encompassing many stunning views. In the past, the scenery would often mask deficiencies in the layout, but now it’s worth checking out this course again to see the improvements.

In 1977 it hosted the Open Championship with the famous “Duel in the Sun” with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. It’s now become one of the must-play golfing venues in Scotland.

7. Muirfield

Muirfield golf course

Muirfield is a popular game location for pros such as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, and Lee Trevino. These pros have won the famous Claret Jug on this well-designed and highly celebrated course.

This golf club is highly exclusive, though it is occasionally open to visitors. It also has strict old-fashioned dress codes and rules that may not be right for everyone. You’ll need to do your research first before just showing up. As for the course, most players have a positive experience, but note that it’s best for the more serious players.

8. Carnoustie Championship Course

Carnoustie Championship Course

The Carnoustie Championship Course is directly across the river from the Old Course. This is a more challenging course, and perhaps best for the more experienced or pro golfer, as it has a reputation for being the most difficult course in championship golf. This course has a long Open Championship history, with Ben Hogan’s famous win in 1953.

Part of the challenge of this course is the heavy winds on a cold and dark day that can throw off even the more experienced golfer. It can actually bring them down to the level of the regular player, yet that doesn’t stop many people from giving it a try.

9. Castle Stuart

Castle Stuart Golf Course

The Castle Stuart course first opened in 2009, to applause. It’s hosted the Scottish Open four times, and was even broadcast in the USA in 2016 on NBC. It has a thrilling short par fourth 3rd roll. Even the par five 18th is on a rolling landscape that offers some challenges.

Castle Stuart was designed by Gil Hanse and continues to experience great reviews. This course is wide off the tee and fun and entertaining. But don’t worry if you’re a more advanced golfer, as you’ll find there is enough to intrigue you too.

10. Machrihanish Championship Course

Machrihanish Championship Course

Many golfers reach the point of trying a championship course. For those who are ready for the challenge, the Machrihanish Championship Course may seem like you’re playing a part in an action thriller movie. There is enough to thrill and excite you here.

Even the opening tee shot is played across the beach and the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps this is a good example of how the scenery can thwart your game. The fairways here are undulating, rugged, and natural. You’ll also love the remoteness of the location that can take you away from the hustle and bustle of busy life.

It’s tempting to want to play all the courses, but be sure to pace yourself on the courses that suit your level of play. If you haven’t already booked your games, get started now, as you’re in for a treat!