Welcome to the definitive list of the best golf courses in Scotland. Immerse yourself in the greatest collection of links courses on Planet Earth
NCG TOP 100s
Following Martin Ebert's reimagining of what was already a great links, the famous Trump Turnberry Ailsa is now truly one of the very finest courses in Great Britain and Ireland.
Ayrshire, GB & Ireland, Scotland and GB & Ireland Fun
The Old Course is the very cradle of the game – the place where it all began. Nowhere on the planet can match its atmosphere. Nor, in truth, is there another course quite like it.
Fife, GB & Ireland, Scotland and GB & Ireland Fun
Time and again, you are asked to execute a shot of difficulty, but Muirfield always tells you exactly what is required. The rest is simply up to you.
GB & Ireland, Scotland and East Lothian
At the world’s most northerly championship links course, golf and history are inseperable. Built on land perfectly suited to its purpose, Dornoch is simply glorious.
GB & Ireland, Highlands, Scotland and GB & Ireland Fun
On most occasions, the challenge – as well as the ocean – is clearly visible from the tee. Kingsbarns' ruggedness is combined with more manicured beauty.
Do not let Carnoustie’s reputation put you off a visit to what is one of the finest links in the world. Golf was never supposed to be easy.
Scotland and GB & Ireland
The pinnacle of exclusivity and quality, Skibo Castle offers an astonishing links in eternally impeccable condition. The small amount of golf played on the links only helps that fact.
GB & Ireland, Scotland and Highlands
It is hard to separate Loch Lomond the course from Loch Lomond the experience. There can be little doubt that the latter is in the once-in-a-lifetime category.
With stone walls, burns, deep bunkers, rocks, blind shots and some vicious green contours to contend with, North Berwick doesn't have to be long to be special.
East Lothian, GB & Ireland, Scotland and GB & Ireland Fun
This is a links in the old-fashioned sense, as greens lie atop plateaux, or else in hollows, and the turf is firm. Yet Cruden Bay is as quirky as they come, and is all the better for it.
Aberdeen, GB & Ireland, Scotland and GB & Ireland Fun
The premier course at the premier resort in Europe, The Gleneagles King's continues to improve despite being close to perfection already.
GB & Ireland, Scotland and GB & Ireland Fun
As much by skill as by strength – is the club’s motto. Take due note. To do well here you will have to seduce rather than overpower Royal Troon.
GB & Ireland, Scotland and Ayrshire
The Highlands has always been an extra special golfing retreat – think Royal Dornoch, Nairn and Brora – and thanks to Castle Stuart's creation it has been raised another notch.
Is Trump International already the greatest course in the world? Certainly not. Could it be one day? Possibly. Either way, this is a course worth playing.
GB & Ireland, Scotland and Aberdeen
Hole after hole, the Queen's course remains incredibly pretty and you find yourself admiring the landscape as much as you do enjoying the golf.
The Ayrshire coastline is blessed with some of Britain's finest links courses, and the simply stunning Western Gailes is up there with the very best.
The New is the real thing. If it was anywhere else in Britain, it would have played host to countless national and international events over the years.
GB & Ireland, Scotland and Fife
Few other links feature such dramatic changes in elevation, and Gullane does so in great style. It is also impeccably presented with the course a joy to experience in itself.
No matter how long it takes to get there, Nairn is one of those courses that any self-respecting golfer should aim to play at least once.
As befits a club where heritage and tradition rank higher than at most others, Royal Aberdeen bears all the hallmarks of classic Scottish links golf.
For anyone with a golfing soul, who has a sense of adventure and is prepared to engage their brains, Pretswick remains quite simply a must-play.
There are a few certain courses, but only a few, where you know from the moment you pull into the car park you are in for a treat.
Blairgowrie is most certainly one of them.
GB & Ireland and Scotland
The Castle Course is the Links Trust's seventh course and, it is fair to say, is remotely unlike anything else in the neighbourhood.
Machrihanish remains unconstrained by the tenets of modern architecture. This is a course that was discovered rather than created, and it has been gloriously kept that way.
Do not come here if you consider short courses to be obsolete, because Moray’s charms are much more subtle than that. It's simple, brilliant and unpretentious.
GB & Ireland, Scotland and Moray
Machrihanish Dunes, by contemporary standards, is a quirky course. Lying on the most perfect links land that you could ever wish to see only amplifies that.
Elie epitomises Old Tom Morris's design principles and is an object lesson in what makes a golf course engaging and enjoyable to play.
Great things come in small packages and never more so than at Boat. It's a sensational location, but better still, there is a marvellous layout to be enjoyed.
DJ Russell's reimagining of The Machrie is vastly different to what was here before, but once again the Isle of Islay has a links to be proud of.
Swirling and gusting winds protect and surround rolling dunes. If you could draw a picture of what links golf is you wouldn’t be far away with a sketch of Panmure.
With Muirfield on one side and Archerfield on the other, to say that Tom Doak's Renaissance occupies hallowed golfing ground would be an understatement.
It is easy to imagine what it was like here centuries ago before the grass was cut and greens and tees defined because that is all that has changed at the Montrose 1562.
Apart from an absence for the most part of sea views, Luffness is the epitome of Scottish seaside golf that the purists among us love.
Brora is the headquarters of the James Braid Golfing Society – quite an accolade considering Braid’s history and tradition of designing outstanding courses.
Southerness is as peaceful a place as you could wish to find yourself; the kind of course where you can hear the sound of your ball rolling across the true greens.
GB & Ireland, Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway
The best thing about Sunny Dunny is that you are so close to the sea for so long. You will struggle to find another links in Scotland that can rival it in this aspect.
Dundonald does not benefit from views of an intimidating sea or bay. It is, rather, a wonderfully challenging course where the breath is taken away by its relentless quality.
The best thing about Gailes bar none is the land it occupies. Located on hallowed Ayrshire links land, there are very few parts of Britain that boast turf better for golf than here.
You can rely on the quality of the pristine linksland turf at Gullane No 2, which occupies the same land as its older sibling but is a fine course in its own right.
Anywhere else in the world and the Jubilee would be a star attraction. At St Andrews it sits in the shadow of its glamorous neighbours. Do yourself a favour and play the Jubilee.
Old Tom Morris created the Balcomie, so its design is governed by the natural lie of the land, seeing plenty of holes play right up against the North Sea. It’s a breathtaking experience.
Ladybank is a course to tease into submission rather than overpower; if you stray off the mainly flat fairways, expect to be punished for your sins.
The Centenary has rock-solid championship credentials and is tough but perfectly fair. The host of the 2014 Ryder Cup and the 2019 Solheim Cup.
With the Cairngorm mountains forming the backdrop, and the River Spey running alongside a number of holes, the natural beauty of Spey is a joy to behold.
The finishing touches to the Archerfield Fidra were only made in 2004, yet this piece of prime East Lothian land already boasts more history than almost any course in the world.
Moray New, in Lossiemouth, is the work of Henry Cotton and only opened for play in 1979. In character, though, it's every inch a traditional links, just like the neighbouring Old course.
Scotland and Moray
Murcar offers realism and a sense of proportion. As is so often the case with true links courses, it improves with each round played.
You will never forget your visit to 12-hole Shiskine, on the west coast of Arran. It contains some of the most distinctive holes in Scotland – and that's saying something.
Kilspindie, tucked away between Aberlady and Gullane is all too easy to miss yet contains within 5,500 yards every element of links golf you could wish for.
It is not a Turnberry, a Troon or a Prestwick, but West Kilbride deserves elevation to the second tier alongside Irvine, Barassie and the Gailes.
The large two-tiered greens at Duff House Royal are classic MacKenzie work, and the many well-positioned bunkers and trees make the course a severe but fair challenge.
Historic Lanark is much nearer its 200th anniversary than its centenary and boasts a moorland course that was designed by Old Tom Morris.
All you need to know about this brilliant British course
At first glance it seems impossible that 18 holes have been squeezed into this piece of land to the cost of the layout but they have and it is a genuine treat.
Scotland and Ayrshire
The Torrance is renowned for the quality and speed of its large greens so, all things considered, you can expect a thorough examination of your game.
Scotland and Fife
Leven offers the ultimate test of links golf in all its glory. There are blind tee shots, outcrops of spiky gorse and undulating greens.
Askernish runs parallel to the coastline of the Isle of South Uist and follows an anti-clockwise path from start to finish. Quite simply, it is a must-visit.
The Dirleton is a traditional Scottish links with sweeping fairways, deep menacing bunkers and undulating sand dunes bordering each fairway.
As well as having great architectural merit, Golspie is now impeccably presented. This Braid design is so much more than just a pretty holiday course.
Highlands, Scotland and GB & Ireland Fun
Do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the surroundings, as this Braid classic is not just one of the most beautiful parkland venues in Scotland, but one of the toughest too.
Set in the idyllic surroundings of Craigewan Links, Peterhead is the 18th oldest golf club in the world. A classic example of links golf at its best, and toughest.
Scotland and Aberdeen
Tall dunes and sand hills feature heavily on this par-70 design, as do the undulating fairways that throw up different challenges on every hole.
Ayrshire and Scotland
This Fife layout possesses significant charm and variety. Most of Lundin Links is played across vintage linksland while the middle section climbs up towards the town.
The charm of Nairn Dunbar is in its ability to offer classic seaside holes as well as those which play between birches and whins that could be in Perthshire.
Scotland and Highlands
An array of narrow fairways, lush semi-rough, penal heavy rough and lightning-fast greens make for a rugged test of any player's mettle at Monifieth.
Opened in 1995, The Duke's was the first heathland style course at the Home of Golf and has matured into one of the finest in the British Isles.
The St Andrews Eden is a lovely track, and represents a wonderful change of pace for those hoping to have a more peaceful round at the home of golf.
Set in 128 acres of perfect golfing terrain, the 6,427-yard, par-71 Edzell course is renowned for its high quality turf and challenging holes.
The stunning views of the Kittocks stimulate the senses while the cannily placed hazards and the subtle undulations of the topography stimulate the mind.
Elgin is an attractive, testing heathland course fully justifying its claim to be one of the finest inland courses in the northern part of Scotland.
All you need to know about this remote Scottish course
Highlands and Scotland
James Braid's last ever course design, Stranraer is home to beautiful scenery and the stunning 5th hole, possibly one of the best in Scotland.
Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway
A truly fantastic James Braid creation, Glenbervie is a mid-length course that is home to several memorable and exciting holes.
A course with just that extra degree of interest and intrigue that separates good courses from very good ones. Musselburgh assuredly falls into the latter category.
Scotland and East Lothian
Tain is a course that is hard to categorise. In part links, elsewhere it has a distinctly inland feel, especially at the beginning and end. A shining Highlands experience.
The Roxburghe is a rolling, tactically demanding layout with some spectacular views that represents modern course architecture at its very best.
With elevated views across the famous Firth of Forth, The Glen, in North Berwick, is a wonderful place to be on a sunny day.
East Lothian, Scotland and GB & Ireland Fun
This Willie Park design – with assistance from James Braid – sits in the Cairngorms National Park and that gives you a flavour of how picturesque it is.
Updated by Tom Mackenzie, this pedigree parkland is home to a historic society founded in 1761, making it the fourth oldest club in the world.
Edinburgh and Scotland
Should we add Buckpool to the Open rota forthwith? Maybe not. Is it a lovely links course that should be played if given the chance? Absolutely.
Dumfries and Galloway and Scotland
A James Braid designed course, Irvine is a really fun and quirky golf course. Its great strength is perhaps the variety of the holes – quirky in places and very solid in others.
There may be as many as a dozen courses within a 10-mile radius that are more famous, but few can rival Kilmarnock's rich history or the quality of its carpet-like greens.
For many years one of the most exclusive clubs to gain entry to, Royal Burgess is now notably more welcoming to new members. This is by all accounts a pedigree parkland.
Edinburgh, Scotland and East Lothian
Few courses enjoy a setting like that of Portpatrick – it's the perfect setting for some holiday golf with an emphasis on fun and entertainment
Now about 10 years old, Craigielaw can be found close to Gullane. It certainly has some links characteristics, but there is also an inland feel to many of the holes.
Harry Colt, James Braid, Philip Mackenzie Ross and Donald Steel have all left their mark on this East Lothian club that dates back almost a hundred years.
One of the finest public courses in Britain offers an entertaining and intriguing round across a number of rolling, blind and elevated holes.
Whichever tees you play off at Cardrona, some stout hitting is required even though the setting alone will be enough to make your day.
A tough test of modern golf adjacent to the North Sea, the wind often gets up on the coast and is there to stay. A beautiful new Fife links.
Clamber blindly onto the tops, hanging onto its edge... Cullen does not do ordinary.
Moray and GB & Ireland Fun
This pedigree course that has hosted the Solheim Cup and European Tour events is a beastly, muscular examination, but a fine one at that.
Duddingston is a good old-fashioned track with the Braid Burn meandering into several holes. Beautiful views of extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat are found throughout the course.
Merely the blind, short 4th played to a slender green situated in a dell makes the trip to Kintyre worthwhile.
GB & Ireland Fun
Durness, the most North Westerly course in mainland Britain, celebrates its 30th birthday next year, and is located in a stunning spot for golf.
GB & Ireland Fun and Highlands
Gullane No.3 shares the same springy turf as its sisters and boasts some of the best views across Aberlady Bay.
East Lothian and GB & Ireland Fun
There are a number of very attractive holes at Hamilton as well as some panoramic views of both the surrounding countryside and over the Glasgow area.
Set on the Isle of Cumbrae which is only 4 miles long and 2 miles wide, Millport commands one of the most dramatic vistas in Scottish golf.
The closest elite course to the centre of Edinburgh with terrific views of the capital's skyline. Mortonhall is an immaculately presented mature parkland.
Hamilton J Stutt's sympathetic use of natural contour sees the Murrayshall course meander through tree-lined fairways and undulating parkland.
Renfrew offers a scenic, tree lined parkland layout with a variety of trees and fauna, spectacular when in full bloom, that add to the experience of playing the course.
Rowallan Castle was Colin Montgomerie’s first foray into golf course design, where he teamed up with European Golf Design to produce a 7,000-yard parkland brute.
Set in the backdrop of Edinburgh, Royal Musselburgh offers stunning views of the city skyline and Arthur's Seat - in contrast to many of the surrounding East Lothian courses.
Each hole at Spey Bay requires a good deal of thought from the tee and a deft touch around the greens, a challenge worthy of any keen golfer.
Set in the old royal hunting grounds of the Kings Park, Stirling is a golf course of excellent quality and unique character – a golfing experience not to be missed.
Stonehaven features a number of dramatic short holes played over deep gullies and along the top of steep cliffs. Like so many courses in the Aberdeen area, it has a rich history
Traigh is a subtle course that rewards accurate shot-making. Good players are made to work for their scores, and yet high handicappers are given every chance.