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Top 25 Golf Courses in the Highlands 2015

07 July, 2015

Top 25 Golf Courses in Northern Scotland 2015

North of Scotland Best in Region rankings updated

Our North Scotland region really should be called “Highlands & Islands” as it covers a vast, mainly mountainous area in the north of Scotland that includes the Western Isles, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands. Organised golf in this massive region is administered on the mainland by the North District Golf Association, and it oversees the activities of sixty member clubs that are subdivided into nine county groups.

With around a third of all courses in the North configured as 9-hole layouts, there are plenty of little village and island courses worth exploring and we feature two of them in the lower reaches of our newly updated Top 25 chart. Traigh (at number 24) and Durness (at number 25) may never get close to the top of our regional ranking table but we can thoroughly recommend a visit to either course if you’d appreciate playing golf in the wonderfully scenic, more remote parts of the country.

It’s true to say that golf in the Highlands enjoys something of a high profile image these days, with several top ranked courses hosting prestigious competitions in recent years: The Championship course at Nairn held the 33rd edition of Curtis Cup matches in 2012, nearby Castle Stuart was the venue for the Scottish Open from 2011 to 2013 and Spey Valley in Aviemore has been home to a European Challenge Tour event since 2009.

All three courses feature prominently in our new regional standings but none have managed to unseat the Championship 18-hole layout at Royal Dornoch from the number 1 position in our chart. In fairness, shifting it from the top spot is a near impossible task, considering the lofty position it occupies within our World Top 100 standings. The most northerly Royal golf club in Britain is truly a magical place to play a game that’s been an integral part of the town since the early 17th century, well over two hundred and fifty years before competitive golf was formally established in 1877.

Looking at the top ten places in the Highlands chart, only one course changes position from the last edition and that’s Nairn Dunbar, which moves up three places to number 9. Sadly, it’s often overlooked by golfers who visit its big name neighbour but never think to play this championship layout just a couple of miles away. As an indication of its quality, the course will co-host the British Boys Championship in 2017.

Further down the listings, several courses make modest two-place upward moves. The first of these is Moray (New), which Sir Henry Cotton redesigned in the late 1970s, and it now climbs to number 16. Forres, a Willie Park Jnr design from 1912 that was later upgraded by James Braid, occupies the number 18 position and the links course at Hopeman- only extended to an 18-hole layout in 1987 – moves up to number 20.

We’re very grateful to all the club champions and professionals in this region who contributed to our re-ranking process. To view more details of the courses in our North Scotland Top 25 rankings, click the link. If you’ve played extensively across this region and would like to help shape the next edition of the chart then please drop Editor-in-Chief Keith Baxter an email at ke[email protected].

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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