- Top 100 Golf Courses of Scotland 2022
Top 100 Golf Courses of Scotland 2022
Top 100 Golf Courses of Scotland 2022
This is the fifth and final biennial revision for nations in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland for 2022. Now that this exercise has finished, we’re in a position to update and publish a combined “chart of charts” for the top 100 courses in Britain and Ireland. For now, we concentrate on the best one hundred golfing layouts located across the “Home of Golf” in Bonnie Scotland.
The Old course at St Andrews took over the top spot in Caledonia back in 2012 and it held onto that place until last time around in 2020, when it dropped one slot to the runner-up position. Well, playing second fiddle didn’t last for long as it’s once again regained its Scottish No. 1 status – and in good time for hosting the 150th edition of the Open this July.
Recent reviewer comments include: “this course is a must visit for any golfer in the world… it’s super-special, it’s intimate but intimidating at the same time… if you are a serious golfer it will make you feel complete, if you are a casual golfer it will make you into a serious one… those who love architecture and have not been there should plan accordingly.”
The only other significant upward move in the top half of the table comes from the course at Panmure Golf Club in Barry, which improves its position by five to number 32. Old Tom Morris laid out the course for the club in the 1890s then James Braid subsequently made modifications in the early 1920s so the current configuration of the layout dates back around 100 years.
“Panmure is a must play if visiting Carnoustie,” wrote a reviewer a few months ago. “The course is right next door so please do yourself a favour if visiting when you’re travelling through the region.” Another reviewer called it “a wonderful mix of links and heathland with glorious purple heather animating the course… course conditioning and presentation was flawless.”
In the bottom half of the table, the Balcomie course at Crail Golfing Society rises six places to number 61. It too is a late 19th century Old Tom Morris design and nothing much has changed here since he extended the layout to eighteen holes in 1898. Featuring six par threes and three par fives from the back tees, the course measures a little under 5,900 yards.
Some recent review comments include: “it is a relatively short course on the ocean and a lot of fun… golf is a thrilling game in a setting like this… it is a jewel in the same line as Elie, Kilspindie, Brora, Golspie and many more courses in Scotland… some quirky holes which might not be to everyone’s liking, just don’t take it too seriously and you will have fun.”
The links at Tain Golf Club is yet another Old Tom Morris track and it once held a position in the top half of our Scottish Top 100 (listed as high as #49 in 2010) but it’s gradually fallen from favour over the years… until now. The club has carried out a number of recent course improvements – removing swathes of gorse in particular – and it now rises six spots to number 82.
Our correspondent Javier Pintos played here last year and had this to say: “it is a sort of ‘Baby Carnoustie’ because of the challenge with some touches of Royal Lytham (bumps on the fairway and penal pot bunkers). This course can be overlooked due to more famous neighbours but the challenge and strategy needed here are what I expect from a golf course.”
The 18-hole Knights course at Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course outside Oldmeldrum (up seven to #88) flies under the radar of many. It’s a parkland layout that was designed by Graeme Webster – who’s also worked of late in Norway and Ireland – and it opened for play just over 20 years ago. Practice facilities at Meldrum House are among the best in the country.
The highest of our four new entries arrives at number 17 and it’s the latest addition to the links scene in the Kingdom of Fife at Dumbarnie Links on Largo Bay. Already a multi-award winner soon after it opened in 2020, the course quickly displayed its championship-hosting capabilities by staging the Women’s Scottish Open last year.
Review comments have been universally positive: “a great advert for a modern-day course promoting shot making and strategy… big on playability, scenic to the point of distraction, expansively well routed… a collection of 18 visually stunning holes… the difficulty/challenge is found in the green complexes with fast sloping greens and tight lies on the surrounds.”
The other three newcomers appear at the foot of the chart: Gullane (No.3) (#97) is actually a re-entry as it was listed in 2008 and 2010 whilst both Cathkin Braes (#99) and the Championship course at Cawder (#100) make their debut in the national listings.
Dropping out to make way for these new courses are Stranraer (#94), Alyth (#98), Auchterarder (#99) and Mar Hall (#100). A few courses narrowly missed out on a Scottish Top 100 listing, including the likes of Arbroath, Carnoustie (Burnside) and Royal Troon (Portland) so maybe next time for those that failed to make the final cut…