Ultimate Scotland

SCOTLAND GOLF COURSES

 

1. Trump Turnberry
2. Prestwick

3. Royal Troon

4. Dundonald

5. Castle Stuart

6. Royal Dornoch

7. Nairn
8. Moray
9. Cruden Bay
10. Trump International Golf Links, Aberdeen
11.  Royal Aberdeen
12.  Carnoustie
13.  St. Andrews
14.  Kingsbarns
15.  Crail
16.  Muirfield
17.  Gullane No. 1
18.  North Berwick
19.  Dunbar

Scotland, the Home of Golf with over 550 courses, remains one of our most popular destinations. The Open Championship has only been played at 14 venues, 7 of these are located in Scotland and are easily accessible for you to experience, including The Old Course, Ailsa, Royal Troon, Carnoustie and Muirfield.

IRISH LINKS is an authorized provider of teetimes to all 7 courses of St. Andrews Links Trust including The Old Course, The Castle Course, The New Course, Jubilee Course, Eden Course, Strathtyrom Course and the Balgrove Course.

SCOTLAND’S TOP 10 LINKS

 

1. Muirfield

2. St. Andrews (Old)

3. Trump Turnberry Resort (Ailsa)

4. Carnoustie (Championship)

5. Royal Dornoch

6. Trump International Golf Links, Scotland

7. Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie)

8. Kingsbarns

9. Castle Stuart

10. North Berwick

SCOTLAND GOLF COURSES

1. Trump Turnberry
The Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry has a historic past and despite multiple revamps—from Willie Fernie’s original design in 1901 to Martin Ebert’s renovations in 2016—it remains a top contender among Scottish courses. In fact, Ailsa took Golf Monthly’s top spot for best course in the UK and Ireland and stands at #22 in the world, according to Golf Digest—earned praise for a course that has hosted The Open four times. The new King Robert the Bruce course, formerly the Kintyre Course, was also designed by Ebert and opened in June 2017; it is expected to be just as renowned as its famed sister course.

2. Prestwick

Although Prestwick is no longer on the championship circuit, it still holds strong to its nickname of the Birthplace of The Open Championship. The course, designed by Old Tom Morris and later by Charles Hunter, has hosted The Open a total of 24 times, including its debut in 1860—second only to St. Andrews. The course has retained its classic links style and challenges with blind shots and tough angles. Over 150 years since its opening, Prestwick still attracts golfers from around the world and is considered by many to be the homeland of great golf.
 

3. Royal Troon

Royal Troon is the 10th Best Golf Course in Scotland, according to Golf Digest, and it’s no secret as to why: it is widely considered the most challenging course on the Championship route, featuring strong winds and deep rough. While Royal Troon spent many years overshadowed by its famous neighbor, Prestwick, it has begun to form an identity of its own and hosted The Open eight times—most recently in 2016. George Strath designed the original layout in 1878, which was later updated by Willie Fernie and James Braid. The club’s Portland Course, designed by Willie Fernie in 1896, offers a shorter and milder game, but most players are attracted to Royal Troon for its championship course.
 

4. Dundonald

Despite its newness to the golf scene—the course was opened in 2005—Dundonald has already proven itself a worthy course by being chosen as the venue for the 2017 Scottish Open. Following the original course’s destruction in WWII, Kyle Phillips redesigned the classic Ayrshire links course to entice with quick greens and hazardous terrain like raised sand dunes and deep bunkers. Many players welcome the new challenge of Dundonald, and its popularity is only expected to grow.
 

5. Castle Stuart
Castle Stuart, designed by Mark Parsinen and Gil Hanse, is considered the poster child of golf in the Scottish Highlands, and it gained immediate attention when Golf Magazine named it the Top New International Course at its opening in 2009. The course has since hosted three Scottish Opens and is routinely named in Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Golf Courses in the World. Castle Stuart’s location—overlooking the Moray Firth—and impressive modern design were so well received that the club recently announced plans to open a second championship course by 2019, to be designed by the Arnold Palmer Group.

6. Royal Dornoch
Royal Dornoch is a must-play in Scotland. Its championship course was ranked the #1 course in Scotland and #5 in the world by Golf Digest—and it shows no signs of slowing down. The original 18-hole layout was designed by Old Tom Morris in the late 19th century and has since been updated by John Taylor, John Sutherland, and George Duncan. The straightforward course is set within a natural terrain, but the raised plateaus against the wind offer a real challenge to players; the course truly lives up to its high praise.

11. Royal Aberdeen
Royal Aberdeen Golf Club may be one of the oldest in the world (founded in 1780), but it has not lost its appeal among golfers. Originally designed by Archie and Robert Simpson and later remodeled by James Braid, Royal Aberdeen boasts all of the features of a traditional links course. The course runs along the shores of the North Sea, exposing certain holes to the harsh wind and natural elements of the terrain. Ranked #11 on Golf Digest’s Best Courses in Scotland and host of the 2005 Senior British Open, 2011 Walker Cup, and 2014 Scottish Open, Royal Aberdeen remains today a top contender in golf.

12. Carnoustie
Carnoustie is, simply put, a challenge. Its championship course—seven-time host to The Open—is considered the most challenging on the Open circuit and one of the most difficult courses in the world. Even the pros have struggled with its daunting bunkers and burns, designed by Old Tom Morris and later James Braid. It is ranked #5 on Golf Digest’s Best Courses in Scotland and #26 in the world. The club is also home to the Burnside Course and the Buddon Links Course, but it is the famed championship course that steals the spotlight.

13. St. Andrews
Any golfer will recognize St. Andrews Links as one of the most legendary golf clubs in the world. The Home of Golf played a major role in the sport’s development and offers seven courses from which to choose: yet it is the Old Course that is the most renowned. The famous course serves as a backbone to modern golf, influencing many of the clubs that came after it, and most players either love or hate its signature blind shots and enormous greens. Although the course dates back approximately 600 years, Old Tom Morris and Alister MacKenzie are credited with its layout, which was updated by Martin Hawtree prior to the 2015 British Open. The Old Course was named the second-best course in Scotland and eighth in the world by Golf Digest, and it has hosted The Open 29 times, more than any other course in history.
 

14. Kingsbarns
Kingsbarns may be a young course—it opened in 2000—but it already falls under Scotland’s Top 10 Courses by Golf Digest. Kyle Phillips designed the course to follow the land’s natural layout and the impeccably-maintained course offers constant views of the North Sea. Kinsgbarns holds its own again its famous neighbors, St. Andrews and Carnoustie, and it offers a new spin to the traditional Scottish links experience.
 

15. Crail
If there is one feature to define the links of the world’s seventh-oldest golf club, it is the towering cliffs of Fife’s easterly tip. The Balcomie Links, designed by Old Tom Morris in the late 1800s, and Gil Hanse’s more recent Craighead Links utilize the natural layout of the environment to create challenging links courses. Players enjoy expansive sea views on both courses while advancing through each round, and with much versatility and exciting holes, Crail should not be overlooked.

​16. Muirfield
Designed by Old Tom Morris, Muirfield is a fairly straight-forward links but its layout is most notable for Harry Colt's interesting 1923 remodel: an outward loop of nine holes plays clockwise, and a second loop of nine plays within the first in the opposite direction. Shifting wind conditions force players to think through each shot, but most holes are well-defined and the course is maintained to high standards. Fifteen Open Championships have been held at Muirfield, and as the third-best course in Scotland and one of the Top 10 Courses in the World according to Golf Digest, Muirfield is a must for any player in Scotland.


17. Gullane No. 1
Gullane No. 1 has a long history of golf, yet its designer remains unknown. The course’s smooth greens play into the natural links turf and requires unusual uphill and downhill shots, with breathtaking views of nearby Muirfield and Edinburgh. Gullane No. 1 has been the venue of the Final Qualifying for The Open five times and was host of the 2015 Scottish Open. It ranked as Scotland’s 20th best course by Golf Digest.

18. North Berwick
The West Links Course at North Berwick is—as many of its neighbors on Scotland’s Golf Coast—steeped in history and surrounded by stunning views. North Berwick is an enjoyable course that challenges with its varying topography and natural hazards, including burns, stonewalls, bunkers and hollows. Named the 6th best course in Scotland and 50th in the world by Golf Digest, North Berwick has been an influential benchmark for other courses around the world.

19. Dunbar
Dunbar has a similar history as its fellow Golf Coast clubs, with legends like Old Tom Morris, Ben Sayers and James Braid responsible for its layout. It’s located on a narrow strip of land along the coastline; the first few holes are played on parkland while the remaining holes are more links-like with threatening winds and panoramic views. Dunbar is no stranger to championship golf: it has been a final qualifying course for The Open, and the Scottish PGA and Ladies Home International Championship have also played here, among other tournaments.

7. Nairn
Nairn holds a riveted spot in Scotland’s top 20 courses but still remains a lesser-known club among its competitors. Expansive views of the Moray Firth complement each hole along the fast and narrow fairways, and its northern location makes for usually dry weather. The championship course was designed by Archie Simpson in 1887, extended by Old Tom Morris and later renovated by Ben Sayers and James Braid—it is a collaboration of some of golf’s finest designers, and it shows.

 

8. Moray
Moray consists of two 18-hole courses: the Old Course and the New Course. The Old Course was designed by Old Tom Morris in the late 1800s and is considered one of Scotland’s best links courses, featuring deep bunkers and quick greens. The Old Course is most noteworthy for its length, however, with seven par-4 holes stretching over 400 yards. The New Course, designed by Henry Cotton in the 1970s, is shorter and narrower, but is still just as challenging as its better-known sister course. The club has hosted a number of professional and amateur championships over the years.

 

9. Cruden Bay
The Championship Course at Cruden Bay was designed by Old Tom Morris and Archie Simpson in 1899 and remodeled twenty years later by Tom Simpson and Herbert Fowler, but little has changed since. The course is a true Scottish links, with high sand dunes, elevated tees, and uneven fairways that challenge every player. No two rounds are the same here, and the course’s unique personality and beautiful North Sea views make playing Cruden Bay an unforgettable experience. 


10. Trump International Golf Links, Aberdeen
Just five years old, the course at Trump International Golf Links has already received high praise among the golf community. Golf World Magazine ranked the course among the UK’s Top 10 even before its official opening; it holds the #1 spot for Golf Week’s Modern Courses in Great Britain and Ireland; and is named Scotland’s 7th-best course and #54 in the world by Golf Digest. Many expect the Martin Hawtree-designed course to host a major tournament in a matter of years.

1.800.824.6538   |   +1.203.363.0970   |   info@irish-links.com

 

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