Scotland

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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.

Scotland is the spiritual Home of Golf, but also much more than that, as Tom Doak poignantly declares: "Everything you need to learn about golf course architecture is in Scotland."

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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

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 and many make the pilgrimage to this natural links at some point in their lives.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

North Berwick (West)

7th Scotland Ranking

The West Links at North Berwick Golf Club is an immensely enjoyable golf course, located on the Firth of Forth with stunning sea views across to Craigleith Island and Bass Rock.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Trump International Golf Links - Scotland

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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses reviewed
1 Jim McCann Courses Reviewed 98
2 Ed Battye Courses Reviewed 72
3 Jim Robertson Courses Reviewed 64
4 David Worley Courses Reviewed 58
5 Martin Jordan Courses Reviewed 58
6 Kevin Henley Courses Reviewed 53
7 Dan Hare Courses Reviewed 49
8 Andy Courses Reviewed 37
9 Mark White Courses Reviewed 34
10 Shaun Courses Reviewed 29