The game of golf was born in Scotland over 600 years ago. For many golf aficionados, a trip to Scotland is the game of a lifetime. To experience golf as it was invented, one must travel to Scotland. The hospitality at the “19th hole” is, of course, another big draw for many golfers. Here are five of the best golf courses in Scotland.
St. Andrews bills itself as the “home of golf”. The game has been played in this local since the 15th century, so they may very well be correct. Seven golf courses are available to the public. The links are located in the historic seaside and university town of the same name. St. Andrews is to the northeast of Edinburg on the isle’s east coast. The Old Course is at the heart of St. Andrews links, and the one most golfers want to swing a club at. “I fell in love with it the first day I played it. There’s just no other golf course that is even remotely close,” said 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus.
Royal Dornoch is on Scotland’s northeast coast, north of Inverness. Golf has been played in this seaside town since 1616, but the current club is a tad more recent, having opened in 1877. There are two courses at Royal Dornoch, the Championship and the Struie. According to a visitor, “It’s the timeless setting that makes Royal Dornoch such a pleasing place to play golf. It’s wild, isolated and, at the same time, absolutely beautiful; there’s the blaze of colour in early summer when the gorse is in flower. The pure white sandy beach divides the links from the Dornoch Firth and it all feels very humbling.” Definitely, a must when visiting golf courses in Scotland.
The Troon Golf Club was originally a neighborhood course, founded in 1878 by a few local golf enthusiasts. The location’s reputation grew and the Royal Troon became internationally renowned. The Old Course is known for being one of the more particularly challenging golf courses in Scotland. The inward half of the Royal Troon is widely considered the most demanding of any course on the Championship rotation. The Royal Troon site advises visitors that the Old Course is a challenging test of their golfing skills. “With the wind to contend with and deep rough interspersed with gorse and broom, accurate shot making is essential. Players should make their scores on the outward nine, as the prevailing north-westerly wind can make the back nine extremely difficult.”
Muirfield is one of the oldest golf clubs in existence. The club began in Leith in 1744 and later moved to Musselburgh in 1891. The final move was to its current location in Muirfield in East Lothian. Today the course is a renowned host to major international and national championships for both amateurs and professionals. The testing track has been designed with two loops of nine running in opposite directions. This unique layout ensures golfers that the wind is never blowing from the same direction on consecutive holes. Phil Mickelson describes his feelings about Muirfield: “I’ve always had an affinity for this golf course. It was always special to me. I fell in love with it when I was a junior. I fell in love with it as a kid.”
Gleneagles might be the most luxurious stop on this list of golf courses in Scotland. Get away from the windswept link courses with an escape to this glamorous resort. In addition to three professionally designed course, Gleneagles offers a five star hotel and Michelin rated dining. Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles is Scotland’s only restaurant with two Michelin stars. The Centenary course, used of the 2014 Ryder Cup, was designed by Jack Nicklaus. This centerpiece gives golfers a large parkland layout with soaring views of the adjacent mountains.
So, would you add any golf courses in Scotland to our list? Can’t get enough golf? Enjoy our list of the best golf courses in Europe.