Scotland is the land of the legendary Loch Ness monster, the independence warrior William Wallace, great actors like Sean Connery and Ewan McGregor, and singers like Annie Lennox and Franz Ferdinand. Of course, it is the land where Old Tom Morris, one of the pioneers of golf, was born.
Morris is recognised for building the first golf courses as we know them now. In addition, he made the famous gutta-percha ball and was the forerunner of the first Open Championship. His legacy is present in around 70 courses where he left his mark. It is worth noting that the 18th hole of the Old Course at St Andrews has his name.
Scotland has more than 550 golf courses; the most famous of them are in the coastal areas. The variety of designs is wide, and depending on the region, you can enjoy classic courses or the typical link design.
Without a doubt, the best time of year to play golf is between May and September. And it is not just about the status of the courses: between these months there are more sunny days and much less rain than in the rest of the year.
We do have to know that playing on a golf course in Scotland involves living an exceptional experience. How much does it cost to play? The cheapest green fees start at 10 pounds at any municipal club, going from 180 pounds at the Old Course in St Andrews and can reach 400 pounds at the exclusive The Ailsa Golf Course at Trump Turnberry.
With our team of experts, we chose the best courses that you can play in Scotland. Here we go.
Golf has been played in St Andrews for around 500 years. Undoubtedly, it is a unique site in the Scottish northeast, with a magical design that captivates as few courses can. For locals and strangers, it is considered the cathedral of world golf. Over time, The Old Course had different modifications, and its extension was expanding.
Even the holes with their double greens. Those greens are an essential feature of the course, to the point that seven of them are shared with other holes. Only 1, 9, 17 and 18 have a single green.
The course is open every day of the week, except Sundays, when it is converted into a large park that the inhabitants of St Andrews can visit.
By making a reservation in advance, any golfer in the world can enjoy the same fairways walked by several of the world’s best golfers. That includes PGA Tour and European Tour stars as Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Severiano Ballesteros, and (of course) Old Tom Morris.
At first glance, we may think that the Old Course is easy to play. Even to believe that its wide fairways invite us to deflect the ball a little more than necessary. But it’s not like that. We must consider the presence of deep and intimidating bunkers. And also the wind always presents to turn our ball away from our goal.
The Open Championship (known as the British Open) was played 29 times on the Old Course. In 2022 the 30th edition will be held, which will also be the 150th of the most important golf event on the world calendar.
Carnoustie Golf Links is located in the Angus region. It is a complex with four courses, one of which is the historic Championship Course. This course has hosted the Open Championship eight times and the Senior Open Championship (2010 and 2016), and the British Women’s Open (2011).
Initially, it was a 10-hole course, which crossed the famous “Barry Burn” on several occasions. Then, thanks to a design by Allan Robertson and the assistance of Old Tom Morris, a new layout was inaugurated in 1842, which in 1867 was configured practically as we know it today.
The Championship Course is considered one of the most challenging venues for the Open Championship. Thus, it is a magnet for golfers of all levels, who want to test their game on its undulating and capricious fairways, despite the difficulty of its obstacles.
For many, this course has some of the most entertaining holes in British golf. Its design contemplates natural undulations and the characteristic deep bunkers. It is worth taking note of hole 3 of the course, one of the most famous par 5 in the world.
Again Old Tom Morris appears in our story. Between 1851 and 1864, he was responsible for the maintenance of the club. He designed and built the original 12 holes of the course. Finally, the design reached its current 18-hole configuration in 1882.
During a round of golf in Prestwick, it is unavoidable to cross the “Pow Burn” on several occasions. In this natural obstacle, fish and other wild species of the place are found.
Visitors to Prestwick can take the opportunity to play at the neighbouring Royal Troon Golf Club, located to the north of the course and also very close to the famous Turnberry links. Like several of Scotland’s top golf courses, Prestwick is a private club. However, during the week, there are time days available for visitors to play.