The Top 10 Best Golf Courses in Scotland
Scotland is considered the ‘Spiritual Home of Golf,’ with the sport being played in the country as far back at the 15th Century. Today Scotland is home to some of the world’s greatest golf courses, and attracts golfers from the world over. Here are Scotland’s Top 10 golf courses, as voted for in the ‘Caledonian List’ of 2015. The Caledonian List is based on votes by ever golf club and professional golfer in Scotland.
1) St Andrews Old Course
The Old Course at St Andrews is one of the oldest in the world, and is considered to be the ‘home of golf.’ Incredibly golf has been played at this spot since the early 15th Century. Bizarrely golf was banned in Scotland in 1457 by King James II, who had decided that young men would be better off practising archery. The ban was thankfully lifted in 1502 by King James IV, who was a keen golf fan himself.
2) Royal Dornoch, Championship Course
David Brice of Golf International referred to Royal Dornoch located in North East Scotland, as the ‘King of Scottish Links Courses.’ The Championship Course was #3 in the world in 2007 by Golf Digest for golf courses outside the United States. Despite being one of the best golf courses in Scotland, Royal Dornoch has never hosted any modern pro tournaments. One key bonus of Royal Dornoch’s northerly location, is the fact that daylight can break as early as 2.30am in mid summer ensuring an early start for the keenest of golf fans.
Muirfield located in East Lothian close to the capital city of Edinburgh, is considered one of the greatest golf courses in the world, and has hosted the British Open 16 times. It also holds the enviable reputation as being one of the oldest golf clubs in the world, and was established in 1744 as the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. Green fees are around £220 for one round, and £290 for two rounds on the day.
4) Trump Turnberry, Ailsa
Located on the Ayrshire coast around an hours drive from Glasgow, the Turnberry golf resort was purchased by a Mr Donald Trump in 2014. The Ailsa course at Turnberry has challenged some of golf’s greatest masters, and hosted the British Open on four occasions. Trump Turnberry features an upmarket golf resort in a scenic setting overlooking Ailsa Craig; an uninhabited island that formed from an extinct volcano.
5) Carnoustie Championship
The Carnoustie Championship course is rated as one of the top golf courses in the world, and hosted the British Open on 7 occasions. Carnoustie has an ancient history, with golfers playing the game in the course’s vicinity since 1527. Carnoustie is notorious as being the ‘toughest links course in the world,’ with its challenging layout and harsh winds blowing off the North Sea.
6) Kingsbarns Golf Links
Unlike the nearby Old Course of St Andrews, Kingsbarns is a new addition to the Scottish golf scene. Opened in the year 2000, Kingsbarns Golf Links has rapidly established itself as one of the greatest courses in Scotland, and beyond. Many sadly reckon that Kingsbarns may possibly be one of the last true links courses to be built along the Scottish coastline.
7) North Berwick Golf Club
North Berwick Golf Club established in 1832, is reckon to be the third oldest golf course in the world still using its original fairways. Situated a stone’s throw away from the capital city of Edinburgh, and in view of the imposing Bass Rock, golf has been played in the vicinity of North Berwick since the 16th Century. The West Course at North Berwick is often used as a qualifying course when the Open arrives at nearby Muirfield.
8) Castle Stuart Golf Links
Castle Stuart located near the small city of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, was recently ranked at #56 in ‘Top 100 Golf Courses of the World’ by Golf Magazine. Castle Stuart is a new addition to the Scottish golf scene; being opened in only 2009 it has hosted the Scottish Open on 3 occasions, and rapidly established itself as a golf resort of international significance.
9) Royal Aberdeen Golf Club
Established in 1780 and the 6th oldest golf club in the world, Royal Aberdeen is another golf course of considerable antiquity, further cementing Scotland’s reputation as the ‘spiritual home of golf.’ Royal Aberdeen has hosted a number of prestigious events, including the Walker Cup in 2011, and the Senior British Open Championship in 2005.
10) Trump International Golf Links, Balmedia
Located 8 miles north of the city of Aberdeen, Trump International Golf Links opened in 2012 surrounded by much controversy. Environmentalists and local home owners objected to the building of the course citing that the area was a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest,’ and that homes would have to be demolished for the course to be built. Despite the controversy, this upmarket Trump Golf resort has managed to establish itself as one of Scotland’s top golfing destinations, and is set to host the Scottish Open in 2017, 2019, and 2020.