NCG's Scotland Guide
From the iconic to the undiscovered, the depth and variety of golf courses in Scotland is simply staggering.
There are very few destinations in the world where it is possible to tick off both major tournament- hosting venues and secluded gems set in breathtaking scenery.
To help plan your trip, we have picked out some of our favourites from the Home of Golf.
Golf courses in Scotland – East Lothian
The Lowdown: The 18-hole course designed by Donald Steel is a real gem found on Scotland’s golf coast. Taking inspiration from the brilliant links tracks of Britain, a true test of golf is on offer. Just a 30-minute drive from Edinburgh, the venue is easily accessible and offers cosy accommodation at the Lodge to help golfers relax.
For more information call 01875 870800 or visit the Craigielaw website.
The Lowdown: Set in a brilliant location on the East Lothian coast, The Glen is home to a stunning 18-hole course which some have compared to the famous Pebble Beach. James Braid and his partner Ben Sayers were the men behind the design that saw the course extended from 9 to 18 holes back in 1906.
For more information call 01620 892726 or visit The Glen’s website.
The Lowdown: The popular 18-hole course has hosted Open qualifiers and several amateur championships. Dating back to 1938, the track is built around the river Esk and sees the Craigieburn flow through certain fairways leaving golfers with the dilemma of whether to lay up or go for the green.
For more information call 01316 652006 or visit The Musselburgh website.
The Lowdown: Located in a beautiful part of East Lothian, Kilspindie is a hidden gem when it comes to links golf in Scotland. Renowned architects Willie Park Jnr and Ben Sayers created an 18-hole masterpiece and the course has changed only slightly since. The natural beauty and local wildlife add to the experience.
For more information call 01875 870358 or visit the Kilspindie website.
The Lowdown: The Old Tom Morris designed 18-hole track at Luffness New is yet another stunning course on Scotland’s golf coast. Greenkeepers ensure that the course is kept in great condition throughout the year to allow golfers to get the most from their game and experience a quality test of golf. With well positioned bunkers and penal rough, stray shots may find trouble but those who are accurate will be rewarded. A drink in the traditional clubhouse is the perfect way to end the day.
For more information call 01620 843336 or visit the Luffness New website.
The Lowdown: The 18-hole course offers visitors some fantastic links golf and challenges golfers of all abilities. The course’s pedigree is clear thanks to the array of tournaments that have been hosted at the venue. Final qualifiers for the Open Championship, the first PGA Championship on the European Tour and several amateur events have been contested on the Dunbar turf. With the likes of Old Tom Morris, James Braid and Ben Sayers involved with various redesigns, it’s not surprising that this is such a wonderful track.
For more information call 01368 862317 or visit the Dunbar website.
The Lowdown: Nine holes of brilliant golf await at. Renowned for the quality of their greens, the club offers players a true test of golf without having to play a full 18 holes if they do not wish to, although this is an option. Set into a naturally beautiful location at the foot
of the Lammermuir Hills, the scenery is easy on the eye and that, coupled with well-designed golf holes, makes time spent on the course, which has remained largely unchanged over the years, very pleasant.
For more information call 01620 810591 or visit the Gifford website.
The Lowdown: Reputed to be one of the oldst courses in the world, Musselburgh Links offers great golf holes and a whole lot of heritage. Having hosted the Open Championship six times between 1874
and 1889, the course has an important place in the history books of Britain’s most prestigious event. Played mostly in the centre of the racecourse at Musselburgh, the layout is strategic and compact, meaning a round shouldn’t take up too much time but will certainly live long in the memory.
For more information call 01316 535122 or visit the Musselburgh Links website.
Golf courses in Scotland – Ayrshire
The Lowdown: Ayrshire is a golfer’s dream and that is where Gailes Links can be found. The course was opened in 1892 as part of Glasgow Golf Club, which is the ninth-oldest club in the world. Having hosted Open Final Qualifying in recent years, the course is not short of quality. Willie Park Jnr is the man behind the design and thanks to its location and the work done by greenkeeping staff, it is in great condition all year round. Sandy Lyle once described it as: “One of the world’s truly great tests of links golf.”
For more information call 01294 311 258 or visit the Gailes Links website.
The Lowdown: A regular host of major amateur and professional events, Kilmarnock Barassie is home to some of the finest greens in Scotland. Located close to many other fine courses such as Royal Troon and Turnberry, it is not surprising that this course offers links golf of the highest quality. The track features 27 brilliant holes that can be played in three different loops of 18, all providing golfers with slightly different but thoroughly enjoyable challenges. Experience golf the way it should be played.
For more information call 01292 313920 or visit the Kilmarnock Barassie website.
The Lowdown: James Braid has been largely responsible for shaping Irvine into the brilliant track that it is today. Having co-hosted events such as the British Seniors’ Open and the Amateur Championship, the course is highly regarded, and rightly so. Accessible to golfers of all skill levels, the course features wide fairways coupled with well positioned bunkers which complement each other perfectly to create an exciting round of golf. A true representation of traditional links golf.
For more information call 01294 275979 or visit The Irvine’s website.
The Gailes Hotel
The Lowdown: Brilliantly located in the heart of Ayrshire, The Gailes Hotel is a great base for a golfing break in the area. Practically on the doorstep of the hotel are three championship links courses; Gailes Links, Western Gailes and Dundonald Links. Whether it’s a stay in one of the hotel’s luxurious bedrooms or a night in the six-person penthouse with a private Jacuzzi, guests will feel comfortable and relaxed. The venue caters for its golfing guests with a floodlit range, 9-hole resort course and more.
For more information call 01294 204040 or visit The Gailes Hotel website.
Old Loans Inn
The Lowdown: Offering a traditional pub feel, Old Loans Inn is a fantastic accommodation option for golfers visiting the Ayrshire area. Located close to prestigious courses such as Royal Troon
and 2017 Scottish Open host, Dundonald Links, and within a short distance of numerous other championship links courses, the Inn is well worthy of the several Golf Hotel of the Year awards that is has received. Quality food and drink can be enjoyed throughout the day in a truly comfortable setting.
For more information call 01294 204040 or visit the Old Loans Inn website.
Golf courses in Scotland – Highlands
The Lowdown: The views from Brora are nothing short of spectacular. As one of James Braid’s most exquisite courses, it is surrounded by beautiful scenery with the Sutherland foothills providing an ideal backdrop. It is welcoming to see a track that remains as it was originally designed and where the green staff strive to maintain the course’s high-quality condition for golfers to enjoy the best of their game. A revamped clubhouse provides some special views and is a great place to grab a post-round refreshment.
For more information call 01408 621417 or visit the Brora website.
Fortrose & Rosemarkie
The Lowdown: As the 15th oldest golf club in the world, Fortrose and Rosemarkie has heaps of history, but it is by no means stuck in the past. Offering luxurious and enjoyable golf, the course that was redesigned by James Braid in 1932 has been the recipient of several awards in recent years. Amongst others, the club was awarded the accolade of ‘Golf Club of the Year for Scotland 2019’ at the Luxury Travel Guide Lifestyle Awards. This alone proves that this track is still a wonderful golfing venue.
For more information call 01381 620529 or visit the Fortrose & Rosemarkie website.
The Lowdown: The traditional links course that overlooks Dornoch Firth is a beautiful track designed by the famous Old Tom Morris. With breathtaking views of mountains and sea, the area is a stimulating location for golf, and that is before the course layout is even taken into consideration. A variety of fabulous holes ensure that the entirety of an 18-hole round is compelling for all golfers, regardless of standard. The sheltered nature of Tain’s location means that golf can be played for the majority of the year.
For more information call 01862 892314 or visit the Tain website.
The Lowdown: Located on the Moray Firth, there is no shortage of awe-inspiring scenery and these amazing views are complimented perfectly by a stunning golf course. Widely perceived as one of the finest layouts in the Highlands, Nairn Dunbar is maintained to a high standard so that each golfer can experience the course as it was designed to be played. PGA and European Tour professional Russell Knox is an honorary member at the club and was junior captain during his time growing up.
For more information call 01667 452741 or visit the Nairn Dunbar website.
Boat of Garten
The Lowdown: Set into the spectacular Cairngorms National Park and close to the River Spey, the location of Boat of Garten is hard to beat. James Braid applied his expert touch to the design of the course, inevitably creating a masterpiece. It features well-kept greens and tree-lined fairways which make this an enjoyable challenge for beginners and experienced players. The clubhouse is welcoming and is a great place to grab a post-round drink to reflect on an exciting day on the links.
For more information call 01479 831282 or visit the Boat of Garden website.
The Lowdown: A glorious golfing venue. Golspie’s layout encompasses classic links, heathland and parkland in a way that only an architect of James Braid’s calibre could create. The course’s variety ensures that golfers are entertained and engaged with their game for the whole round. Aside from brilliant golf holes, the views of Dornoch Firth and the Ben Bhraggie backdrop make for a stunning setting and add to the blissful experience of walking the links.
For more information call 01408633266 or visit the Golspie website.
Golf courses in Scotland – Fife
The Lowdown: Leven Links is unmistakable thanks to the natural dunes that have formed on the land over the years. Fairways run through the middle of the dunes creating a unique feel for a golf hole. At the end of the track, the superb 18th requires some sensible club and shot selection to avoid the burn. With a traditional test of links golf that will challenge all golfers, and a host of stunning views, Leven Links is an appealing option when you head to this golf-rich region.
For more information call 01333 421390 or visit the Leven Links website.
The Lowdown: Co-host of the European Tour’s annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and the 2017 Women’s British Open, Kingsbarns is no stranger to high-quality golf. Kingsbarns is perfect for events of such magnitude as the layout and condition of the course are both exceptional. The course is designed in an entertaining way and that is partly why it is as famous as it is today. Kyle Phillips succeeded in transforming a stunning part of Scottish coastline into a true links classic.
For more information call 01334 460860 or visit the Kingsbarn website.
Golf courses in Scotland – Scottish Boarders
The Lowdown: A warm welcome will greet visitors who arrive to relish the challenge of Torwoodlee. Acres of rolling parkland await, as does some incredible golf, from the first tee to the last green. The Scottish Borders countryside surrounds golfers with scenic views and thriving wildlife, creating a tranquil and pleasant setting for golf. Having been around for more than 100 years, the club has built a strong reputation and is often said to be one of the most challenging in the area.
For more information call 01896 752260 or visit the Torwoodlee website.
The Lowdown: James Braid is responsible for the wonderful course at West Linton. The 18-hole track will pose a pleasant challenge to all golfers, regardless of skill level. During a round, there is plenty to keep the eyes occupied between shots. There are many picturesque views of the Scottish Borders countryside making this a brilliant setting for golf. From the clubhouse, visitors can survey the final three holes whilst grabbing a drink or bite to eat. A great golfing venue in the Scottish Borders area.
For more information call 01968 660970 or visit the West Linton website.
Golf courses in Scotland – Aberdeenshire
The Lowdown: Home to 27 holes of exciting seaside golf, Peterhead has undergone several major changes to get to where it is today. Their existing Old Course was first designed by Willie Park Jnr in 1892 as a 9-hole layout and extended to 18 by Archie Simpson 16 years later. The second course was built in the early 1920s with 18 holes before being reduced to nine in the 1940s, it has remained that way ever since. Fairways found amongst the dunes and sprawled across Craigewan links, Peterhead is a seaside spectacle.
For more information call 01779 472149 or visit the Peterhead website.