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Top 100 Golf Courses of Scotland 2012

27 January, 2012

Top 100 Golf Courses of Scotland – 2012

26th January 2012

Top 100 Golf Courses updates its Scottish golf course rankings

Top 100 Golf Courses, the most informed and dedicated ranking website, proudly presents its 2012 golf course rankings for Scotland.

In the summer of 2009, we extended our original Scottish golf course rankings from 75 to 100, creating the first ever Top 100 Caledonian chart. Since then, we’ve visited dozens of courses that lie to the north of Hadrian’s Wall to ensure that we present only the very best golf courses in the land.

We don’t just blindly accept what other golf publications tell us – we follow up leads from a select number of golfers with a wide breadth of experience, then we actually play their recommended courses to check out just how good they really are.

And where we lead, others follow; only last summer, one of the top golf magazines published its first ever Scottish Top 100 – we wonder from where they might have got that idea?

There are approximately 600 courses in Scotland and we rank 235 of them, not only in our Top 100 chart, but also via the fifteen Scottish district listings which we’ve also expanded during the last few months – nearly 150 courses are now showcased on their own individual page.

And so to the new Tartan Top 100…

St Andrews (Old) heads the list, moving up two places to take the top spot from the Ailsa at Turnberry. The Old Lady is not universally accepted as the best in the business but doubters need only take a look at the many favourable comments on its review page to see why many consider the Home of Golf to be a worthy No.1.

Much of the movement within the upper echelons of the chart is confined to courses moving up or down one or two places so a climb of four places to 12 by the new Scottish Open venue at Castle Stuart is relatively significant, as is the jump made by St Andrews Duke’s from 36 to 27.

Further down the listing, three private courses have all made a substantial improvement on their previous placement in the rankings. Dornoch’s Skibo Castle - Carnegie Club (up nineteen) and two of the three Dirleton courses, Renaissance Club (up thirteen) and Archerfield (Fidra) (up nine), occupy positions 34 to 36.

In the bottom half of the chart, there are a number of upwardly mobile movers. The links course at Bogside in Irvine rises twenty-two places to 60, the much underrated layout at Nairn Dunbar advances nineteen spots to 68 and the 18 holes at East Lothian’s Craigielaw climb twenty one positions to 79.

Of course, there’s bound to be a number of casualties as courses drop down the new chart and half a dozen tracks take spectacular tumbles into the lower reaches: St Andrews (Kittocks) (sinks seventeen to 72), Blairgowrie (Lansdowne) (slumps fifteen to 73), Royal Burgess (descends sixteen to 80), Prestwick St Nicholas (drops sixteen to 87), Bruntsfield Links (down fifteen to 85) and Shiskine on the Isle of Arran (down sixteen to 93).

There are seven new entries in our latest listings, the highest of which – at number 69 – is the unique seaside track at Golspie, one of the most charming hidden gems that our Scottish reviewing team played last year. The Open Final Qualifier at Musselburgh leaps in at 84, followed closely at position 86 by the cracking wee moorland layout at Auchterarder.

A parkland course that’s often overlooked, Glasgow Golf Club’s Killermont, is another new entrant at 89, as is Newburgh-on-Ythan’s “course of two halves” at number 99. Two exciting new 18-hole layouts that only opened in 2010, Rowallan Castle (94) and Earl of Mar (100) complete the list of new entries.

Incidentally, for those that like to know what made way for the new courses, the following seven layouts were replaced by the new golfing kids on the block: Edzell (Old), Cardrona, Whitekirk, Ratho Park, Carnoustie (Burnside), Musselburgh (Old) and Gullane (No.3) – all fine courses in their own right but just not good enough to make the final Scottish Top 100 cut this time, unfortunately.

Perhaps one or more of these tracks will bounce back next time, or will the likes of St Andrews (Eden), Askernish, Grantown-on-Spey, Ranfurly Castle or the redesigned Taymouth Castle course stake a claim for a place in the next Tartan Ton?

Trump International Golf Links at Balmedie opens this year and – if the publicity photos are anything to go by – many suspect that it might make even more of an impact than Mark Parsinen’s brilliant Kingsbarns and Castle Stuart courses did when they first opened.

Just how high in the next chart this Martin Hawtree design will debut is anybody’s guess right now but rest assured, we will provide full coverage of the course at the earliest opportunity.

We genuinely welcome criticism, both good and bad at Top 100 Golf Courses… As a matter of fact, it’s positively encouraged. Are there any Scottish courses too high or too low in the standings? Is there an imposter or two lurking that shouldn’t be there or have we missed a course that really deserves to be in the Top 100 chart? Please let us know what you think.

Top 100 doesn’t claim to be “definitive” but we are the most “informed” golf course ranking operation in the golf industry. If you’ve played any of our featured courses in Scotland, we’d be delighted to hear what you think, so why not contribute to the process and send us a course review or two?

Jim McCann
Editor and Scottish Correspondent

Rank Move Course
1 Up 2 St Andrews (Old)
2 No Change Muirfield
3 Up 2 Royal Dornoch (Championship)
4 Down 3 Turnberry (Ailsa)
5 Up 1 Carnoustie (Championship)
6 Down 2 Kingsbarns
7 Up 1 Royal Troon (Old)
8 Down 1 Loch Lomond
9 No Change North Berwick (West)
10 No Change Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie)
11 Up 1 Cruden Bay
12 Up 4 Castle Stuart
13 No Change Nairn (Championship)
14 No Change Gleneagles (King’s)
15 No Change Western Gailes
16 Down 5 Machrihanish (Championship)
17 No Change Prestwick
18 Up 1 St Andrews (Castle)
19 Down 1 Gullane (No.1)
20 Up 2 Blairgowrie (Rosemount)
21 No Change Dundonald
22 Down 2 St Andrews (New)
23 Up 1 Machrie
24 Up 1 Machrihanish Dunes
25 Up 5 Gleneagles (Queen’s)
26 Down 3 Panmure
27 Up 9 Duke’s St Andrews
28 Up 1 Southerness
29 Down 1 Ladybank
30 Up 5 Brora
31 Down 5 Montrose (Medal)
32 Down 5 Moray (Old)
33 No Change Spey Valley
34 Up 19 Skibo Castle - Carnegie Club
35 Up 13 Renaissance Club
36 Up 9 Archerfield (Fidra)
37 Up 10 Boat of Garten
38 Down 4 Lundin
39 Down 8 Downfield
40 Down 8 Dunbar
41 Up 9 Glasgow (Gailes)
42 Up 2 Turnberry (Kintyre)
43 Down 3 Monifieth (Medal)
44 Up 2 Archerfield (Dirleton)
45 Down 4 Murcar Links
46 Down 8 Leven Links
47 Down 8 Gleneagles (PGA Centenary)
48 Up 8 Gullane (No.2)
49 Down 6 Scotscraig
50 Down 13 Roxburghe
51 No Change Kilmarnock (Barassie)
52 Down 2 Crail (Balcomie)
53 Up 4 St Andrews (Torrance)
54 Down 12 St Andrews (Jubilee)
55 Down 1 Dalmahoy (East)
56 Up 5 West Kilbride
57 Down 8 Tain
58 Up 5 Carrick
59 Up 1 Fraserburgh (Corbie Hill)
60 Up 22 Irvine
61 Up 14 Kilspindie
62 Down 3 Letham Grange (Old)
63 Up 10 Belleisle
64 Up 2 Lanark
65 Up 3 Fortrose & Rosemarkie
66 Up 1 Glen
67 Down 5 Elie
68 Up 19 Nairn Dunbar
69 NEW ENTRY Golspie
70 Up 10 Longniddry
71 Down 6 Luffness New
72 Down 17 St Andrews (Kittocks)
73 Down 15 Blairgowrie (Lansdowne)
74 Up 16 Meldrum House
75 Down 1 Duff House Royal
76 Down 4 Portpatrick (Dunskey)
77 Up 4 East Renfrewshire
78 Up 14 Stranraer
79 Up 21 Craigielaw
80 Down 16 Royal Burgess
81 Up 8 Newmachar (Hawkshill)
82 Up 14 Kilmacolm
83 Down 14 Royal Musselburgh
84 NEW ENTRY Musselburgh
85 Down 15 Bruntsfield Links
86 NEW ENTRY Auchterarder
87 Down 16 Prestwick St Nicholas
88 Down 3 Mortonhall
89 NEW ENTRY Glasgow (Killermont)
90 Down 6 Duddingston
91 Down 13 Crail (Craighead)
92 Up 6 Forfar
93 Down 16 Shiskine
94 NEW ENTRY Rowallan Castle
95 Down 12 Pitlochry
96 Down 2 Inverness
97 Down 11 Peterhead (Old)
98 Down 3 Powfoot
99 NEW ENTRY Newburgh-on-Ythan
100 NEW ENTRY Earl of Mar

To see the detailed list of Scotland’s Top 100 Golf Courses click here.


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