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Top Scottish destinations for a golf weekend

Written by Fiona

June 03 2019

Scotland is widely acclaimed as the Home of Golf – and with so many amazing golf courses to choose from where should you start? This article reveals five of the best golf courses to visit in Scotland.

The history of golf in Scotland 

Golf was first recorded in the 15th century in Scotland and it’s claimed that the modern game of golf was first developed and established here.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is the world governing body for the game (except in America and Mexico). The Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association was founded in 1904 and the Scottish Golf Union (SGU) in 1920. They merged in 2015 into a new organisation called Scottish Golf.

What to wear for a golf trip to Scotland

Scotland is a beautiful country but the weather can be fickle. It’s a good idea to pack a few outfits for a range of different conditions. The main items in your suitcase should be golf trousers, golf t-shirts, golf jumpers, waterproof jackets, gloves, golf shoes and socks, as well, of course, as your irons and clubs. If you are heading to Scotland in the summer you might want to pack golf shorts, too, and also sun cream and a sun hat.

Top places to play golf in Scotland

Old Course at St Andrews.
Historic Old Course at St Andrews.

Old Course at St Andrews, Fife

To many golfers, the Old Course at St Andrews, an ancient links course dating to before 1574, is considered to be a site of pilgrimage.

Jack Nicklaus, Open Champion 1970, 1978, famously said: “I fell in love with it the first day I played it. There’s just no other golf course that is even remotely close.”

The greatest feature of the Old Course is that despite its grand status it remains a public golf course, open to all. It’s important to book ahead for this iconic and popular golf course.

Popular Gleneagles.

Gleneagles, Perthshire

The revered name of top golfer Jack Nicklaus pops up again and this time at Gleneagles. There are three championship golf courses at Gleneagles, which are regarded among the best in the world.

Which will you choose to play? There’s the PGA Centenary Course, created by Nicklaus as the venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup.

There’s the natural beauty of the Queen’s Course and much enjoyed by professionals and amateurs alike.

The King’s Course, opened in 1919, is described as a masterpiece of golf course design.

Royal Troon Golf Club, South Ayrshire

Founded in 1878, the Royal Troon Golf Club has gone on to host many major championships and the fairways have been graced by numerous famous golfers, including Nicklaus, Sarazen, Locke, Palmer and Watson.

The Old Course is said to be one of the greatest links courses in Scotland and provides a challenging test of golfing ability. With wind common and a deep rough interspersed with gorse and broom, it’s vital that you make an accurate shot.

For a shorter and more relaxed fame, there’s The Portland Course. It’s more sheltered and has a generous offering of Par 3s and Par 5s.

Plenty of choices for playing golf on the Isle of Arran. Credit: davidBt

7 courses on the Isle of Arran

The west coast island of Arran boasts no less than seven golf courses.

The courses offer a great way to see the island and its scenery.

There are 18-hole courses at Brodick, Lamlash and Whiting Bay and nine-hole courses at Corrie, Machrie and Lochranza. There’s even a unique 12-hole course at Shiskine.

There’s an Arran Golf Pass that allows you to play all the course on Arran for one fee. You will also need to check out the CalMac ferry timetable to reach Arran from the mainland.

5th hole at Royal Dornoch. Credit: John Haslam

Royal Dornoch Championship course, Sutherland

It’s well worth the trip to Dornoch, in Sutherland, although you should be aware it will be at least a four-hour drive form, Glasgow.

Golf is thought to have been played as early as 1616 at Dornoch, which makes it the world’s third oldest course.

Golf here is described as wild, remote, yet also beautiful. There’s a blaze of colour in early summer when the gorse flower. There is also a dazzling white beach that divides the links from the Dornoch Firth. Seeing and playing here is truly believing.

So which Scottish golfing destination will you to visit first? 

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