Scotland

Golf has been part of the sporting landscape in Scotland since at least the 15th century when King James II banned the game by Act of Parliament in 1457 and there is mention of the game being played on a number of sites along the east side of the country during the 16th century, including Stirling (1505), Carnoustie (1527), Montrose (1562) and St Andrews (1574). Courses that developed at these locations, and many others that emerged along the eastern coastline, from Dornoch in the north to Dunbar in the south, still present a formidable challenge to golfers in the modern era.

By 1880, there were 42 courses in play around the country and that number doubled over the following decade at the start of a golf boom that would last for around 30 years. Incredibly, a further 200 courses emerged in the 20 years between 1890 and 1910 as the popularity of golf soared during a period of industrial growth. The next 70 years saw a slow and steady growth before the next golf boom of the 1980s and 90s, bringing the total number of golf courses in Scotland to around 500. That number has since risen to 578 at the end of 2016.

We updated Scotland's Top 100 in October 2017. Full details are here: Top 100 Golf Courses of Scotland

Top 100 Golf Courses - Scotland

St Andrews (Old)

1st Scotland Ranking

No other course has hosted more Opens than the Old Course at St Andrews. Its 29th Open and the 144th Open Championship returned “to the Home of Golf” in 2015.

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Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: No other course has hosted more Opens than the Old Course at St Andrews. Its 29th Open and the 144th Open Championship returned “to the Home of Golf” in 2015. Rating: 5.35 out of 6

Royal Dornoch (Championship)

2nd Scotland Ranking

Royal Dornoch Golf Club is spellbinding. It seems to mesmerise amateur and professional golfers from all over the world...

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Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Royal Dornoch Golf Club is spellbinding. It seems to mesmerise amateur and professional golfers from all over the world... Rating: 5.8470588235294 out of 6

Muirfield

3rd Scotland Ranking

Muirfield is the course of “The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers” (HCEG), the world’s oldest golf club – according to direct written evidence – formed in 1744.

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Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Muirfield is the course of “The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers” (HCEG), the world’s oldest golf club – according to direct written evidence – formed in 1744. Rating: 5.3934426229508 out of 6

Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)

4th Scotland Ranking

The Ailsa course at the Turnberry Resort is probably the most scenic Open Championship golf course. Located right next to the Firth of Clyde, with craggy rocks and superb views across to the Mull of Kintyre...

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Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: The Ailsa course at the Turnberry Resort is probably the most scenic Open Championship golf course. Located right next to the Firth of Clyde, with craggy rocks and superb views across to the Mull of Kintyre... Rating: 5.8157894736842 out of 6

Carnoustie (Championship)

5th Scotland Ranking

Carnoustie is a big natural seaside golf links and the Championship course is considered to be one of the most difficult in the British Isles.

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Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Carnoustie is a big natural seaside golf links and the Championship course is considered to be one of the most difficult in the British Isles. Rating: 5.5068493150685 out of 6

Kingsbarns

6th Scotland Ranking

One of the many delights of Kingsbarns Golf Links is that you can see the North Sea from virtually every part of the course.

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Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: One of the many delights of Kingsbarns Golf Links is that you can see the North Sea from virtually every part of the course. Rating: 5.4444444444444 out of 6

North Berwick (West)

7th Scotland Ranking

The West course at North Berwick Golf Club is extremely close to the origins of golf. It’s the third oldest course in the world still playing over its original fairways...

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Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: The West course at North Berwick Golf Club is extremely close to the origins of golf. It’s the third oldest course in the world still playing over its original fairways... Rating: 5.5882352941176 out of 6

Castle Stuart

8th Scotland Ranking

Castle Stuart golf links will offer some serious competition to both Royal Dornoch and Nairn when it comes to attracting visiting golfers to the Highlands...

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Description: Castle Stuart golf links will offer some serious competition to both Royal Dornoch and Nairn when it comes to attracting visiting golfers to the Highlands... Rating: 5.5952380952381 out of 6

Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie)

9th Scotland Ranking

The Balgownie at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club is a traditional out and back links course running along the shore of the North Sea and it has one of the finest first nine holes in golf.

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Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: The Balgownie at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club is a traditional out and back links course running along the shore of the North Sea and it has one of the finest first nine holes in golf. Rating: 5.625 out of 6

Trump International Golf Links, Aberdeen

10th Scotland Ranking

Occupying a three-mile stretch of North Sea coastline, Trump International Golf Links is the latest American-inspired, high profile course to open in Scotland since the start of the new millennium.

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Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Occupying a three-mile stretch of North Sea coastline, Trump International Golf Links is the latest American-inspired, high profile course to open in Scotland since the start of the new millennium. Rating: 5.1739130434783 out of 6