BEST COURSES IN SCOTLAND

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By Fred G

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  1. Hi All, im often in scotland and have been playing a few different courses. Been lucky enough to play all the st andrews courses, Trump Alisa course and a few others.. Any Gems or other courses people would recommend for when im next up? Thanks

  2. Ron T

    Ron T
    Grapevine, TX

    Fred -

    I was privileged last summer to travel to the U.K. and play golf, then ended the trip attending The Open Championship. I played Dunbar in East Lothian since I couldn't get on Gullane or Berwick... but it was a blast. I also played Nairn up in the Highlands, and Auchterarder muni near Perth... it was an overall blast with some historical courses that weren't as high on the list of must-plays.

    I hope to get back and get more courses in soon!
  3. Dale V

    Dale V
    Surprise AZ

    A couple of obvious ones are Carnoustie, Kingsbarns but Dunbarnie Links is getting high praise and is one of the courses being played at the Team Titleist International this summer.
  4. Scott C.

    Scott C.
    Irvine, CA

    I am a fan of Royal Dornoch, but that's a drive up north for sure.
  5. Tyler_S

    Tyler_S
    Cypress, TX

    I hear the Links at Dundonald is a good one too.

    I just got back from Dublin and Scotland. I played the Old Course but I hear the 2 Fairmont courses (Kittocks and Torence) are good courses and reasonable. I actually had times to play but weather prevented me so, the consolation prize was a round at the Old Course....
  6. So many great courses in Scotland to choose but obviously the championship courses are superb
    If you get the chance to play Muirfield grab it as thats fantastic
    So many smaller courses that people overlook
    If you think you are playing well try Carnoustie and see how that can destroy a bad shot
    The weather is also a key factor on Scottish courses
    Also remember it isn't target golf you need some different shots in your game
  7. Jon C

    Jon C
    Lehigh Valley, PA

    Did anyone have any experience on smaller or lesser known tracks? Headed to the TTI and going to likely drive the Fife coast and have found a few, but wondering if anyone knew of personal experienced courses?
  8. Dale V

    Dale V
    Surprise AZ

    Jonathan C said:

    Did anyone have any experience on smaller or lesser known tracks? Headed to the TTI and going to likely drive the Fife coast and have found a few, but wondering if anyone knew of personal experienced courses?

    The two best near St. Andrews would be Carnoustie and Kingsbarns but I would recommend one of the two courses at Crail for a side trip that will not put you too far off your drive. The Fairmont courses are good and I like The Castle Course just on the east side of St. Andrews.
  9. Castle Course was my favorite in St Andrews, that isn’t called the Old Course. I honestly thought Carnoustie was one of the best courses I’ve ever played. My wife loved it too.
  10. I have been lucky enough to make the trip a couple times. I highly recommend Western Gailes, Prestwick and of course Troon. All very close to one another, as good as it gets!
  11. Gregory V

    Gregory V
    Tonawanda, NY

    Jonathan C said:

    Did anyone have any experience on smaller or lesser known tracks? Headed to the TTI and going to likely drive the Fife coast and have found a few, but wondering if anyone knew of personal experienced courses?

    Tom Coyne wrote two excellent books about playing golf in Ireland, and in Scotland. Pick up "A Course Called Scotland" and check out his list of lesser played gems.
  12. Jonathan C said:

    Did anyone have any experience on smaller or lesser known tracks? Headed to the TTI and going to likely drive the Fife coast and have found a few, but wondering if anyone knew of personal experienced courses?

    This is good advice. Coyne can do a much better job describing the experience of golfing on these courses better than we can!

    Spent two weeks golfing in Scotland in '19 - one week based in Dornoch and another week in St Andrews. Up north in the Highlands, Dornoch is an obvious bet - it's a long drive to get there but a world class course in a charming village. Lesser known Brora was a fantastic experience: beautiful views of the ocean, spectacular shots, and plenty of charming Scottish quirk. Sheep and cows still roam the fairways, it's all part of the experience. Castle Stuart if you're inclined to splurge was worth it.

    In St Andrews, you can't really go wrong. The 'new' and Jubilee courses were excellent tests with brilliant designs - links golf at their best. We played the Castle Course but didn't love it - the greens are comically sloped to the point of ridicule. Beautiful course, but tricked up. Crail Golfing Society was fantastic (both courses). Kingsbarns is another splurgy one but well worth it.

    There's no shortage of great courses and recommendations on where to golf in Scotland. Part of the fun for me is discovering courses you've never heard of that you may love as much or more as the famous ones. Mix and match and enjoy the golfing culture and as you leave, you'll be daydreaming about spending a whole season in one town as a member of their course (for 500 pounds or less) and learning how to truly play links golf for months at a time. It's paradise for golf but we really enjoyed the people as well - Scotland is special.

  13. ACastro

    ACastro
    Arlington, Tx

    Jonathan C said:

    Did anyone have any experience on smaller or lesser known tracks? Headed to the TTI and going to likely drive the Fife coast and have found a few, but wondering if anyone knew of personal experienced courses?

    I just purchased this book. Thanks for the tip!!
  14. SinglePuttAl

    SinglePuttAl
    Arbroath, AE

    Evening. Here’s a couple within about 1/2 hour of St Andrews.
    Lundin Links
    leven Links
    Elie ( personal favourite )
    Dunbarnie ( expensive but V good )
    Scotscraig
  15. DennisB

    DennisB
    New Lowell, ON

    I played Invergordon Golf club back in 2015. That’s a nice track. You also get a free dram of whisky when you’re done.
  16. Jon C

    Jon C
    Lehigh Valley, PA

    oh wow that looks like ALOT of fun! it might be a little too far north for this one though
  17. Jerry M

    Jerry M
    Dallas, TX

    Fred,
    I am with Scott on this one. Royal Dornoch is a must play. It is a drive but it is worth it.! The remaining courses I would play if I went back would be Cruden Bay, North Berwick. Those 3 courses I would try to squeeze in 2 rounds each. Royal Aberdeen is a good links course...very close to Cruden Bay.

    Jonathan,
    I would look in to playing Cruden Bay, Royal Aberdeen, North Berwick, Carnoustie. Carnoustie gets a lot of play. You might try Nairn....it has hosted some good events British AM, Walker Cup. I know these are well known courses but they are all well worth playing. I have played all of these courses and I would definitely go back to them again.
  18. Glenn W

    Glenn W
    Bridlington

    Ladybank is a stunning course and just outside St Andrews
  19. Jon C

    Jon C
    Lehigh Valley, PA

    Thanks Glen, I got lucky enough to get an invite to Ladybank from a junior member there, it was a great and tough track as well. Man, the whole Scotland experience was just a walk in the clouds the whole time!
  20. There are so many fantastic golf courses in Scotland, all depends which region you are visiting and your budget, it's not the home of golf for nothing!

    You could start in Fife with some beautiful and obvious choices - Old Course and New in St Andrews, Kingsbarns, Dumbarnie, then there's courses like Leven Links and Crail which are excellent. You could go north from there toward the highlands stopping at Gleneagles in Perthshire, past Dundee to Carnoustie and then continue up to Trump International, Royal Aberdeen and then Cruden Bay.

    You could head West to Ayrshire with a truly spectacular stretch of golf courses, including Prestwick, Troon, Dundonald, Turnberry Ailsa, Western Gailes.

    You could head East to East Lothian and enjoy the phenomenal courses such as Muirfield, North Berwick (West), Gullane, Dunbar, Kilspindie, Renaissance and Archerfield.

    Or you could have some serious fund going to the islands and playing some truly unique golf courses such as Brora, Stromness and Askernish.

    Worth checking out A Course Called Scotland by Tom Coyne for some inspiration.

    The great thing about Scotland is that golf is revered and loved in so many places, have a dram and a beer after your round in the local pub, in some places you'll meet fellow golfers and then you can chat golf into the small hours! There really is nowhere better to enjoy golf than in Scotland (ok, I might be a bit biased living here!)
  21. Jim V.

    Jim V.
    St. Marys, GA

    Heading on my dream trip to Scotland in a couple of weeks. We are planning to play Royal Dornoch, Castle Stuart, Nairn Dunbar, Trump International, Cruden Bay, Panmure, Carnoustie, St. Andrews Old & New Courses, Dumbarnie, Leven and Kingsbarns. Much walking, but looking forward to it!
  22. Jim G

    Jim G
    Dallas, TX

    Headed to Royal Dornoch myself in a couple of weeks. When will you be there? The starter at Royal Dornoch, Graham Davey, is a friend. Good guy.
  23. Joseph R

    Joseph R
    Pacific North West

    Hey Jim V,
    Were you able to get on to St Andrews The Old Course? If so, how? I am trying to ascertain the most secure way to get to play The Old Course.
  24. JVieira

    JVieira
    Los Gatos, CA

    Military
    We were in St Andrews in beginning of May. We were able to get a time via the 48 hr ballot for a foursome. I've also heard that there are hotels in the town that have tee times for guests so you might be able to check out that option prior to booking your hotels? Good luck!
  25. Jonathan M

    Jonathan M
    Wyndmoor, PA

    Very jealous! Headed there next Spring.
  26. Royal Dornoch is a must. If you do go to Dornoch then I also recommend Castle Stuart which has recently been acquired by Cabot. Nairn is also in that area. The Old Course is the best experience in golf. I will say one of the most picturesque courses was the Castle Course at St. Andrews. Carnoustie is awesome and the most difficult course on the planet. Lastly Muirfield is a great course but the membership does live up to its reputation.
  27. Robert V

    Robert V
    Grand Haven, Mi

    I would agree that the Castle Course is most picturesque.
  28. Thanks everyone.. a lot of help.. royal dornoch is a certain and other courses around that area.. im back up in a month or so
  29. BColeman said:

    Royal Dornoch is a must. If you do go to Dornoch then I also recommend Castle Stuart which has recently been acquired by Cabot. Nairn is also in that area. The Old Course is the best experience in golf. I will say one of the most picturesque courses was the Castle Course at St. Andrews. Carnoustie is awesome and the most difficult course on the planet. Lastly Muirfield is a great course but the membership does live up to its reputation.

    I would also recommend Castle Stuart.
  30. We have our Team Titleist UK event at St. Andrews this week…playing the local courses as well as Dumbarnie. Should be an amazing time…Jim in the prior post mentioned some very cool places!
  31. Jim V.

    Jim V.
    St. Marys, GA

    Thanks! I'm not worthy to play such an array of wonderful courses, but I'm not complaining. The rain suit is packed!
  32. Richard Y

    Richard Y
    Worcester, Worcestershire

    I recently played Kingsbarns (won a fourball through Footjoy comp ), Fairmont Kittocks and also Gullane 2. The standard of Kingsbarns and Kittocks was on another level, Gullane was good but in that company, not quite the same standard.
  33. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    Military
    From a retired golf PGA pro I play with, who goes to Scotland a number times each year to play with friends who live in St Andrews. I have asked him that very question and he says: "stay in St Andrews, because the folks there are so friendly, great places to eat and there are so many great courses around there that are off the beaten paths that one will enjoy. You can always find a course to play in and around St Andrews". From someone who is very knowledgeable.
  34. T. D. P

    T. D. P
    Ashburn, VA

    You really can't go wrong. The Old was a spiritual experience. Played it at twilight. Amazing. Kingsbarns was the most fun, Carnoustie was the most difficult but still fun. I didn't love Cruden Bay, but still a great course. The jewel? Royal Dornoch, as many have said. Just might be this Yankee's favorite course in the world. It's just perfect. I recommend Highland Park scotch and the roast pheasant post round!
  35. Will be looking at royal dornoch for sure.. back up again soon
  36. Try Ladybank next time if you want a good parkland track for a change. I played all 3 Carnoustie courses in April. The Championship course is a real toughie in a cold wind with well placed bunkers but some really fantastic holes intersected by the Barry Burn. I’ve now played all the current Scottish Open venues & Carnoustie is, in my opinion, the best.
    Back up to Scotland in August to play Kilspindie, Craigielaw & North Berwick. Can’t get enough of Scottish links courses.
  37. Thanks am heading back up in September for a week so starting to get some courses booked in
  38. Jon C

    Jon C
    Lehigh Valley, PA

    was lucky enough to get invited up to Ladybank with a member while i was there, great course!
  39. Ian B

    Ian B
    Halifax, 0

    It’s such a tough call - others have said it “there are so many great links courses”. St Andrews is spiritual, Trump is amazing and my other favourites are Turnberry, Kingsbarns and North Berwick. However just back from a trip and would have to add Dumbarnie to this list - fantastic.
  40. Samuel U

    Samuel U
    Bangladesh

    Ian B said:

    It’s such a tough call - others have said it “there are so many great links courses”. St Andrews is spiritual, Trump is amazing and my other favourites are Turnberry, Kingsbarns and North Berwick. However just back from a trip and would have to add Dumbarnie to this list - fantastic.

    There are lots of courses available in Scotland. If you search you can get a big list of course. If you have sometime you can go with this one "North Berwick Golf Club - West Links" But "Trump Alisa course" is good one.
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