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Best Golf Courses in Scotland

St Andrews

Looking to play the best golf courses in Scotland? picks out the top courses to play in Scotland.

If you know the history of golf, then you know it has a lot to do with Scotland. In America, the game has been played for several generations: in Scotland, the game has been played for several hundred years.

Some think that golf originated in Scotland in the 15th century. Accordingly, you shouldn’t be surprised, in reading the list below, if you find some courses that have just a little bit of history to them.

We’ve included the famous courses and a couple of resort/hotel venues for those planning their trip to the north of the United Kingdom.

Our top picks for the best golf courses in Scotland are:

1. The Old Course at St Andrews

St Andrews

Known as the Home of Golf, the oldest golf course in the world dates back to an establishment date of 1552. To put things into perspective, that’s during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Architects that have worked on the course over the centuries include Daw Anderson and Old Tom Morris, the latter of which made the World Golf Hall of Fame 68 years after his death.

Today, the Old Course plays as an 18-hole par-72 venue. The total yardage is 7,305 yards and the course enjoys is one that almost every golfer in the world wants to tick off the bucket list.

Also known as The Grand Old Lady, this is actually a public course, making it far more accessible to golfers traveling to Scotland in the hope of crossing the famous Swilken Bridge on the final hole.

Located in the heart of St Andrews, the drive from Edinburgh is just over 90 minutes with the smaller city of Dundee much closer.

The Old Course hosts The Open Championship every five years, notching up a 30th in 2022, as well as the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

2. Royal Dornoch

Royal Dornoch

Legendary golf course designer Donald Ross was known for his architectural work on golf courses in the United States. However, he was born in Dornoch, Sutherland, and he is well remembered in Scotland for Royal Dornoch’s Championship Course.

The course is part of a two-course venue but the Royal Dornoch is generally considered the better of the two – and certainly one of the best golf courses in Scotland.

Established in 1877 towards the far north of Scotland, the links-style Championship Course is a par-70 affair at 6,748 yards and enjoys spectacular views across the North Sea, Dornoch Firth and Moray Firth.

RELATED: Must-play courses in England

3. Macdonald Cardrona

Macdonald Cardrona

Located in Cardrona, Peebles in the Scottish Borders, Dave Thomas designed a resort golf course at the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel.

It was designed as recently as 2001 and currently plays as a par-72 venue at total yardage of 7010.

This golf destination is about 40 minutes away from Edinburgh and is reputed as a championship-level course among the border hills and the River Tweed.

The venue was judged suitable to host both the 2004 and 2007 Euro Pro Tour and is a golf resort that has earned a strong reputation including “best value” among seven other Scottish golf resorts.

Book a stay at Macdonald Cardrona.

4. Castle Stuart Golf Links

Castle Stuart Golf Links

Inverness in northern Scotland has a Gilbert Hanse golf course, one that was founded in 2009. Unlike most courses in this list, this is a modern course.

The Castle Stuart Golf Links golf course is a par-72 affair at a total length of 7,009 yards and boast some of the most amazing scenery imaginable.

Beautiful fairways and slick greens come as standard at this links-style course that has made a very strong impression quickly since being launched little more than a decade ago.

RELATED: Our top golf courses in Northern Ireland

5. Gleneagles Hotel Golf Course

The golf course at the Gleneagles Hotel, The King’s Course, is located in Auchterarder, Perthshire and is about the same distance from Glasgow, Dundee, and Edinburgh.

The hotel itself is a 5-star property with Gleneagles ranked 100th in Golf Digest’s 2022 review of their best golf courses worldwide and was host to the 2014 Ryder Cup and 2019 Solheim Cup among other major tournaments.

A relatively short course that James Braid designed just after World War I, the course at the Gleneagles Hotel is just 6,790 yards. Not surprisingly, par is a stroke less than most 18-hole venues in Scotland at 71.

Expect dips, obscuring trees, tricky mounds, and bumps along the way at this golfing venue, one that is a bit more of a thinking golfer’s course.