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Best Golf Courses in Scotland

Scotland is the home of Golf, and with over 550 golf courses, it remains a golfer's haven no matter which part of the country you are in. From the North East to the South West, from the Scottish Highlands to the Historic Heartlands and all of Central Scotland in between, there are limitless opportunities to golf to your heart's content on a Scottish golf break.

For the greatest of golf enthusiasts, there are the courses that are the most highly respected in the game, and while securing a tee-time on these courses might prove much more of a challenge than even the courses themselves, golfing them offers the opportunity to golf on the same greens as the game's greatest players. Read on for five of Scotland's top golf courses.

St Andrews golf courses

The most well-known of all courses in Scotland is St Andrews, the Home of Golf, a claim substantiated not only by the fact that the official rules of golf were created at St Andrews by the Royal and Ancient Club, but also by the fact that Tiger Woods has said that 'to win at St Andrews is the ultimate', making it clear the who's who of golf have all tried their luck at St Andrews.

In terms of professional golf championships, St Andrews hosts The Open Championship every 5 years and the Dunhill every autumn, in addition to top amateur events such as the Links Trophy for men, the St Rule Trophy for women, the Eden Trophy, Strathtyrum Tournament, Boys Open, Junior Ladies Open and the Rotary International, which are held on a yearly basis. The British Mid Amateur and the British Amateur have both been held in recent years, and especially ladies' golf has been a major attraction at St Andrews with the Ricoh Women's British Open in 2007 and the Curtis Cup in 2008.

As expected, bagging a tee time here will be the most difficult appointment you schedule during your golf break to Scotland, on any one of the seven courses, including the New Course, which is itself over 100 years old, the Jubilee Course, the Eden Course, the Strathtyrum Course, the Balgove Course, The Castle Course and the Old Course.

A day out on the Old Course requires you to bid in a ballot, and alternatives are given if your bid should be unsuccessful. See the St Andrews website for more details on the Ballot. The Old Course is easier to book in the Winter, and St Andrews offers a Winter Package with tee times still available in November and December of 2009, though it is advised to book as soon as possible as the tee times go very quickly.

Off the links, as the Home of Golf, it is no wonder that St Andrews should host the British Golf Museum, open year round, with affordable admission prices from £5.50 for adults, £2.90 for children 5-15 and £14 for families (further concs available). A visit to the museum opens up the world of golf for both golfers and non-enthusiasts alike, providing entertaining and surprising facts that bring the history of the game, and of Scotland itself to life. St Andrews is also home to Scotland's first university, the aptly named University of St Andrews, where Prince William completed his university education.

Carnoustie golf courses

Though nothing equals the clout held by St Andrews, just 25 miles away to the North West sits Carnoustie Golf Links, regarded as one of the fairest, yet sternest, most technically difficult tests of golf anywhere in the world. Carnoustie has hosted several Open Championships, including the most recent in 2007, and will be hosting the Seniors Open in 2010, the 2011 Ricoh Women's British Open, several amateur tournaments and the Carnoustie Country Classic, now in its eighth year. Tee times can be booked directly online in order for you to efficiently plan your Scottish golf break.

Muirfield Golf Club

Just over 20 miles from Edinburgh and right outside North Berwick is the Muirfield Golf Course, home of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers whose records date back to 1744. Though St Andrews claims to have been the spot where the sport's rules were created, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers wrote the original 13 Rules of Golf for the first competition played for the Silver Club at Leith Links, relocating several times and eventually settling for good at Muirfield in 1891. This course is the only to have hosted the Open, (15 times, the most recent in 2002), the Amateur, the Mid Amateur, the Ryder Cup, the Walker Cup and the Curtis Cup. Visitor Days are Tuesdays and Thursdays, and can be booked online on the Muirfield website.

Loch Lomond golf

Loch Lomond is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery Scotland has to offer, and the Loch Lomond Golf Club is host to one of the most exciting tournaments of the year, the Barclay's Scottish Open. The Loch Lomond Golf Club is just 25 minutes from Glasgow, which means easy international access, and Loch Lomond itself is home to some of the best accommodation in Scotland. The course itself is a 7,100 yard parkland golf course, and considered to be one of the top 100 golf courses in the world. In addition to fantastic golf, the Club also offers non-members half or full day Spa packages at the Spa in the Walled Garden, though golf for non-members might be a little trickier, as Loch Lomond Golf Club is the second most expensive and exclusive Golf Club in Britain, second only to the Queenwood Golf Club in Surrey, and boasts Prince Andrew as its international club captain.

Gleaneagles golf course

For a more attainable yet completely luxurious golf break experience, The Gleneagles Hotel is a 5- star luxury golf resort in Perthshire, with so much on offer, it is possible to fill an entire golf break itinerary right on the Hotel's grounds. Gleneagles has 850 acres of Perthshire countryside located in Auchterarder, in the heart of Scotland between Perth and Stirling, on which 3 championship courses are set: the PGA Centenary Course, which is the venue for the 40th Ryder Cup Matches in 2014, the famous King's Course and the secluded Queen's Course, in addition to the nine-hole Wee Course, perfect for a warm-up round or for the new golfers in the group. Gleneagles is home to several restaurants and cafes which are open to non-residents as well and also offers what has been voted many times over as the top Spa in Scotland – the Spa at ESPA, considered one of the most luxurious places in the world.

Turnberry golf

At the world famous Turnberry Hotel in Ayreshire, a gorgeous headland looking out across the Firth of Clyde makes for what is considered to be one of the most beautiful golfing experiences to be had at the Turnberry Golf Course. Built in 1901 on a stunning peninsula linking to land on the coast of South Ayrshire, Turnberry is considered to be one of the great championship links, with two championship courses Ailsa, the venue for the Open Championship 2009, and Kintyre Championship Course, while the 9-hole Arran course offers professionals and amateurs alike the opportunity to practice on a full range of links.

Roxburghe Golf Club

The Roxburghe Championship Golf Course in the Scottish Borders sits within the immense Roxburghe Estate which spans over 54,000 acres, 200 let houses and cottages, 55 farms, 2 grouse moors and pheasant shooting, salmon fishing on the River Tweed and mixed woodland among other assets. The links were commissioned by the Duke of Roxburghe, an avid golfer, and leading architect Dave Thomas created the championship course on the estate, which opened in 1997. There are deals to be had for groups of golfers, with great per person prices which include breakfast, a round of golf (18 holes) and lunch or afternoon tea, making for a full day for any golfer on a golf break in the Scottish Borders.

Royal Dornoch Golf Club

For a golf break in the Scottish Highlands, Dornoch Royal Golf Course offers championship links surrounded by the utmost traditional highland hospitality. Dornoch is steeped in tradition, having been a royal club for over a century, officially formed in 1877, and records show Dornoch has been hosting golfers since as far back as 1616. The Championship course was designed by legendary Old Tom Morris, and the links have been described both as 'magical' as well as 'fun' – and that by five times Open Champion Tom Watson. Both challenge and enjoyment being key to a to golf break experience, Dornoch's second course, Struie, allows golfers to enjoy the views of Dornoch Firsth, Struie Hill and mountains further to the west. That and the fact that it is easy to walk and both younger and more senior players find success on the course makes for an all-round great golf break experience in Dornoch, Scotland.

Golf courses in Blairgowrie, Perthshire

Just under 30 miles from the world famous Carnoustie Golf Club, Blairgowrie Golf club offers up 45 holes with a parkland setting, with every hole played through an avenue of trees on its Landsdowne Course, Rosemount Course and 9-hole Wee course. The Rosemount Golf Course is growing in popularity, as it is regarded as the premier inland course in Scotland. This means that starting times are limited, and early booking is required.

Pitlochry Golf Course - the first 3 holes of this 18-hole Perthshire golf course are a steep uphill struggle, but just past that third hole on Pitlochry, golfers are rewarded with breathtaking views of the Grampian Mountains and Ben-Y- Vrackie to the north and great views of the River Tummel Perthshire which make up for the struggle. Pitlochry Golf Course is located just 25 miles northwest of Blairgowrie Golf Course and a half an hour's drive from Perth, making a trip to Perthshire a prime 'hidden gem' golf location.

Fife golf courses

Known as the Home of Golf, St Andrews is far from 'hidden gem' status. The surrounding area of Fife, however, is rich with some of the best yet lesser-known golfing to be had in Scotland. While St Andrews has the Old Course, the New Course, the Duke's Course, there are several excellent courses not to be missed, such as the world's sixth oldest golf club, Lundin. Founded in 1868, Lundin Golf Course, with its excellent fairways and green, has often been selected as a final qualifying course for the Open Championship. The Tom Morris course with James Braid redesigns was founded in 1868, and is a Tom Morris course with James Braid redesigns.

Ladybank Golf Course in Ladybank, Fife is an 18 hole wooded heathland course with a green in absolutely top condition. The course is used as an Open qualifier and its narrow fairways command respect of any golfer on the green, while the diverse flora and fauna on and surrounding the course allow you to relax among the abundant woodland, grassland, Pines, red squirrels and other furry animals.

Scotscraig offers an intriguing mix of links and heathland, with the benefit of cool sea breezes due to its proximity to the coast. Located only 15 minutes from the Old Course at St Andrews, Scotscraig has played host to the Final Open Qualifying every five years when the Open is played at St Andrews.

Balbirnie Park Golf Club is situated in Markinch near Glenrothes just 20 miles south of St Andrews, with 140 acres of woodland course opened in 1983. The course has hosted PGA events yet is a good challenge for golfers of all abilities.

Lochgelly Golf Club is a parkland course that sits in the heart of Fife, considered by reputation as a must-play course for its great layout and stunning views of Ochil and Lomond Hills.

Leven Links Golf Course, a true sea side links, is located just 30 minutes from St Andrews by car and one hour from Edinburgh, making it the perfect day out no matter for a city break or golf break based out of the Home of Golf.

East Lothian golf courses

Across the Firth of Forth, occupying an exposed strip of links land, Dunbar Golf Club is often overlooked in East Lothian, with the focus on Gullane and Muirfield. Longniddry Golf Course, in Longniddry, East Lothian is an 18-hole Course that at 6219 yards long, is a long course of tournament quality, which has been used as a PGA Seniors venue. The course is only 15 miles from Edinburgh, making it an accessible Golf day out for an Edinburgh City Break.

Scottish Highlands golf courses

Smack dab in the heart of Cairngorms National Park is a golf course which vies for the title of Britain's most beautiful – the Boat of Garten. The 18-hole course is only a 10-minute drive from Aviemore, making it an accessible location and a must-golf spot for golfers from both near and far.

Nairn Golf Club in Nairn is an 18-hole course regularly used for National Competitions such as the Scottish professional championships and the Northern Open. With over 30 golf courses in a 30-mile radius and Royal Dornoch about an hour to the north, Nairn Golf Club in the Scottish Highlands is an excellent base to discover Scotland, and get in some great golfing on a Scottish golf break.

Moray Golf Club, located on northern coast in Lossiemouth, combines a challenging course with absolutely stunning views. Founded in 1889, the Old Course was laid out by Old Tom Morris, and the New Course was converted into 18 holes in 1979 by Sir Henry Cotton. Both courses are an absolute test for golfing skills.

Scottish Borders golf courses

Moving further south Roxburghe has quickly established itself as the leading course in the Scottish Borders and more recently opened Letham Grange Old Course was opened in 1987 and is rightly regarded as one of the toughest inland courses in the country although that is a title Dundee's Downfield could certainly compete for.

Glasgow golf courses

Along the coast Glasgow Gailes right outside the city is an excellent challenge for a golfer on a city break to Glasgow at this club, the 9th oldest golf club in the world.

Check out the dedicated golf section on the VisitScotland website for more information on golf breaks in Scotland, including accommodation and Golf Passes as well as sample itineraries for the perfect golf break.
Perthshire golf packages
East Lothian Golf packages
Fife Golf Packages
South Coast Scotland Golf
Southwest Scotland Golf

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