Top 100 nine-hole courses: Scotland (N-Z)August, 2013
These outstanding golf courses are, in our opinion, the best nine-hole tracks in Scotland
This rural course is a mix of both heathland and moorland terrain which offers views of Loch Ken, the Rhinns O’Kells and the English Lake District. The natural greens are excellent, and the course also boasts a wide variety of hazards throughout. The club is located in the south west corner of Scotland on the edge of the scenic Galloway Forest Park.
Portpatrick boasts two outstanding courses, with the nine-hole Dinvin course forming the perfect partner to the 18-hole Dunskey layout. The Dinvin is maintained to the same standard as its bigger neighbour, and is perfect for families, juniors or more established players wishing to hone their short game. The course is made up entirely of par-3 holes and caters for holiday golfers and serious players alike.
Located in a heavily-wooded area between Ravelston and Murrayfield, this course offers panoramic views over the Firth of Forth on one side and Edinburgh Castle on the other. The course is ideal for those looking for a golf escape on an Edinburgh break, or as an additional option for those heading to East Lothian’s championship courses. The layout is thought to be one of James Braid’s earliest designs, having been created in 1912.
This young course was opened in 1990 and is located in the heart of the Spey Valley on the famous Whisky Trail. The course is an attractive parkland layout which features well-manicured greens and tree-lined fairways. The club is well located in an area blessed with outstanding golf courses, and is a perfect stopping point on a golf break visit to Scotland.
This course celebrated its centenary last year and is ideally located, being equidistance from St Andrews and Edinburgh, around a 20-minute drive from the Forth Road Bridge. The course is laid out over a south-facing hillside, allowing for views out to Stirling and the two Forth bridges. Elevated tees and greens are a present throughout, and the course is far trickier than the scorecard may suggest, with undulating fairways and subtle borrows on the green.
Golf has been played at Selkirk since 1883, and the course which stands today was laid out by Musselburgh’s Willie Park in 1924. Only the third and fourth holes play similarly on the course, with the remaining holes having a distinct feel about them. The 8th is known as ‘the long hole’ and is renowned as being one of the trickiest holes in the Borders region.
St Andrews (Balgove)
The Balgove Course is the only nine-hole layout at the Home of Golf and caters primarily for families, juniors and beginners. Nevertheless, there is a true links feel to the layout and the course is prepared to the quality that would be expected from any course at St Andrews. The Balgove is an excellent warm up option before playing one of the venue’s championship layouts, but is also an accessible course that allows everyone to experience playing at the Home of Golf.
Noteworthy is the visitor’s book, which contains comments from former Open champion and 2014 US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson. St Boswells
Located in the Scottish Borders on the south bank of the River Tweed, this friendly club boasts over 110 years of history, having celebrated its centenary in 1999. The parkland course contains three par 3s, five par 4s and a solitary par 5, which at 425 yards is the signature hole. Many holes are set up around the river, which forms a prominent feature of the layout.
This course is the most southerly in Scotland and is laid out on the shores of Luce Bay. It is possible to take the boat to Ireland from the nearby port of Cairnryan. There are 18 tees on the nine holes, which allows for a different feel on the second loop. The club is extremely family orientated and the course welcomes beginners and more experienced players alike.
A picturesque gem of a course.
Situated on the banks of the River Endrick within Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, this course is easily accessed from Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The parkland layout was originally laid out in 1901 and was lengthened in 1905, but there have been few changes since then and the course relies on protection from well-placed natural obstacles rather than man-made hazards.
The course at Strathtay is located close to Pitlochry and around 40 minutes drive from Perth. It is just a short distance from the A9 and is an ideal stop-off point for golfers heading north towards Inverness and the Highlands. The layout was created in 1909 and remained unmodified for almost 100 years until an additional set of tees were added to the nine holes in 2008.
The parkland course at Tarland was designed by Tom Morris in 1908 in an area which is famous for a rich variety of wildlife. Soaring buzzards and roaming deer are not uncommon sights here, in its location close to Aberdeen and the Glenmore Forest Park. The course is 5,900 yards in length so provides a proper test, especially when you consider that it does not contain any par 5s.
This parkland is relatively new, having been created in 1987. Nestled in the base of Ben Cruachan and offering views up to Loch Etive, the location of Taynuilt’s course is unrivalled and boasts majestic panoramic scenery. The club sits on the A85 in the west of Scotland, around two hours’ drive from Glasgow and 12 miles from Oban, which is known as ‘The Gateway to the Isles’.
Featuring a mix of very short par 3s and long par 4s, Tillicoultry is an outstanding course close to Stirling, around an hour’s drive from St Andrews. Lying at the foot of the Ochil hills, the surrounding scenery is more readily associated with France or Switzerland as opposed to central Scotland. The club is extremely friendly and the course is set up well for all standards of golfer.
Tobermory is a clifftop course set above Tobermory Bay on the Isle of Mull. The layout winds around the natural hills, providing undulating fairways and greens on almost every hole. Noteworthy is the visitor’s book, which contains comments from former Open champion and 2014 US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson. The small and homely clubhouse is also a perfect place to relax following a round and take in the scenery.
Situated in Royal Deeside just over 20 miles from Aberdeen, Torphins has an unusual layout in that there are nine holes, 13 tees and 10 greens. From the highest tees there are excellent views out to the Deeside countryside. The course plays to a par of 64 and measures a shade under 4,500 yards from the yellow tees and just over 4,700 yards from the back tees.
Golf has been played at Traigh since the turn of the 20th Century, but the layout was re-designed by former R&A captain and renowned architect John Salvesen between 1993 and 1995. The course is undulating and is built around a line of grassy hills which feature on nearly every hole. This is a quintessentially Scottish course which boasts stunning views of the Hebridean islands and the Cuillins of Skye.
Laid out from the northern boundaries of Ullapool down to the shores of Loch Broom. There is a rich variety through the nine holes, with some fairways tight – and lined with gorse – while others are more open and grassy. The course was opened in 1998 by HRH Prince Andrew, and has matured quickly. It is a charming and serene place to play golf. Alternative tees are also in place on all nine holes.
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