In conjunction with Visit Scotland, we have put together a list of the top 10 golf courses in Scotland as rated by Leadingcourses.com’s users. The Home of Golf has a multitude of world renowned golf destinations. From Carnoustie, the venue for the 147th British Open to Gleneagles (host venue of the 2014 Ryder Cup), to the slightly lesser known Thurso Golf Club (the most northerly Scotish mainland course) to St. Medan (the most Southern of Scotish mainland golf destinations), Scotland really is a golfer’s dream.
So let’s see what courses are rated in the top 10 for Leadingcourses.com users. The golf courses are ordered by overall rating given by real golfers on Leadingcourses.com. So, the number 1* – in this case Loch Lomond Golf Club – has the highest rating of all when we wrote this post.
*: this ranking is based on all reviews of golfers on Leadingcourses.com, so this ranking does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Leadingcourses.com.
Loch Lomond Golf Club Loch Lomond Golf Club on Leadingcourses.com
Loch Lomond is renowned as one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. The course hugs the banks of the stunning Scottish loch and offers a truly unique parkland challenge with spectacular views of wild mountainous backdrops set alongside magnificent views of the loch.
Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish and opened in 1993, Loch Lomond is consistently ranked the best inland course in Great Britain.
“What can one say about Loch Lomond other than it is always a special treat to go there. From the moment you drive through the gate you are struck be a sense of tranquility.” – John G Clarke, Leadingcourses.com member.
Royal Dornoch Golf ClubRoyal Dornoch Golf Club on Leadingcourses.com
Dornoch golf club, formed in 1877, has now been a Royal club for over 100 years! Royal Dornoch always aims to exceed the expectations of frequent visitors and loyal members. However, this is done in a relaxed, informal environment, with an emphasis on traditional highland hospitality.
The responsibility for actually designing the Championship course fell to the legendary Old Tom Morris, who used the unique links-land features to create a magical golfing experience.
“Royal Dornoch is one of those ‘must play’ courses for every golfer. Located just an hour north of Inverness this Old Tom Morris design should be on, (or ticked off) your (golf)bucket list. The warm welcome and the simple beauty of the course makes this a worthwhile trip.” – Leonard, Leadingcourses.com Gold Member
Trump Turnberry ResortTrump Turnberry Resort on Leadingcourses.com
Trump Turnberry is one of the world’s finest golfing destinations. Home of the Championship Ailsa course, it has proudly hosted four Open Championships. Recently transformed into a true masterpiece by renowned golf architect, Martin Ebert, the Ailsa provides golfers with an exceptional coastal golf experience. The Ailsa also boasts the world’s most impressive halfway house, located within it’s iconic light house.
“The drive off the 9th on the Ailsa Course is one the most spectacular and beautiful drives one can imagine. Go all the way to the Championship tee to maximise the effect. A true test of your imagination as many shots require some contemplation before execution. A real treat!” – Joris A, Leadingcourses.com Bronze Member
Castle Stuart Golf LinksCastle Stuart Golf Links on Leadingcourses.com
History and diversity make Scottish golf courses famous throughout the world. As Turnberry is to Ayrshire and Gleneagles is to Perthshire, Castle Stuart has been conceived to be for the Highlands, a beacon reaching out to golfers throughout the world. The centrepiece for this Scottish destination golf resort is Castle Stuart Golf Links, a championship links course overlooking the Moray Firth and well-known landmarks that are synonymous with Inverness and the Black Isle – Kessock Bridge and Chanonry Lighthouse perhaps the most notable.
“Played Castle Stuart in the most beautiful conditions. It is definitely a second shot golf course which makes it for both high and low handicappers fun to play. Architect worked with optical illusions that makes you think every hole is like the end of the world. Greens are in great condition and very undulated. – Vanbree, Leadingcourses.com Member.
Royal Aberdeen Golf ClubRoyal Aberdeen Golf Club on Leadingcourses.com
In the league table of golf course antiquity, the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club stands at number six and by rights should be known to a much wider audience around the world than it already is. Here, at the Balgownie links only a mile from the centre of the city of Aberdeen, is history indeed, a club founded as the Society of Golfers at Aberdeen in 1780 and one of the most testing and spectacular of all the great links courses of Scotland.
Today’s layout that winds its way between the great sand hills with many elevated tees and panoramic views is once again largely from the imagination and genius of James Braid. Royal Aberdeen has several claims to fame not the least of them that it was here, in 1783, that the rule that allows only five minutes to look for a lost golf ball was established.
“Practice your bunker game. One of the par 3’s has a green surrounded by no less than 18 pot bunkers. The clubhouse is top and super classic. The view of the city is not nice but the view of the sea… super.” – Rvdboom, Leadingcourses.com Bronze Member.
Prestwick Golf ClubPrestwick Golf Club on Leadingcourses.com
Prestwick Golf Club extends a warm welcome to all golfers from around the world wishing to come and enjoy its testing traditional Links. The birthplace of the Open Championship, the clubhouse displays many artefacts and items of memorabilia relating to the early days of golf in Scotland.
The club is relaxed and friendly and looks forward to hosting golfers from all around the world.
“Playing Prestwick GC is more than golf, its a trip back through history.
Prestwick was formed in 1851 and held the first 12 Open Championships starting in 1860, and went on to hold a total of 24 before it was decided that the facility couldn’t handle the large crowds.” – AuthenticGolf, Leadingcourses.com Gold Member.
Kingsbarns Golf LinksKingsbarns Golf Links on Leadingcourses.com
Kingsbarns Golf Links is situated 7 miles from St Andrews along 1.8 miles of picturesque North Sea coastline, where each hole embraces the sea. In addition to enjoying the course which is frequently included in the Worldwide Top 100 ranked courses, the lifelong memories of comfort, friendly and attentive service complete your “Kingsbarns Experience”.
Co-host of the annual European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship together with the Old Course at St Andrews and Carnoustie Golf Links and in 2017 The Ricoh Women’s British Open was contested at Kingsbarns.
“Worked on this course ahead of the Dunhill Links championship. Simply breathtaking, stunning views of the sea and every hole different. One of the fairest links courses I’ve seen, but a good test for all levels. You would think this course has been here for many hundreds of years as it has been carved out of the natural surroundings perfectly. In my top 3.” – Jakewebber94, Leadingcourses.com Bronze Member
North Berwick Golf ClubNorth Berwick Golf Club on Leadingcourses.com
The famous West Course at North Berwick is one of the earliest courses laid out on the eastern seaboard of Scotland where the sea had receded and left in its wake sandy wastes broken and divided by channels into which the tides ebbed and flowed and where, over the centuries, a new ecology developed. This is where classic links land had its beginnings reclaimed from the sea over centuries.
North Berwick is a classic example of that early pattern and remains one of Scotland’s most remarkable courses. The classic links layout along the south shore of the Firth of Forth is magnified by additional elements of blind shots, great ridges across fairways and even walls that have to be negotiated on more than one occasion in the round. Charming and completely memorable.
“My favourite hole is also the quirkiest of the course. The famous par 4 13th hole called Pit. A stone wall is guarding the green. Quite a unique hole it is! The 16th hole features one of the craziest Biarritz style greens I’ve seen in my life.” – Flopic7, Leadingcourses.com Gold Member
West Lothian Golf ClubWest Lothian Golf Club on Leadingcourses.com
The West Lothian Golf Club is a championship course which along with the clubhouse offers fantastic panoramic views over the Forth Valley. Currently open to new members the course welcomes visitors and golf societies.
Western Gailes Golf ClubWestern Gailes Golf Club on Leadingcourses.com
Western Gailes is one of a group of great links courses that shine so brightly in a beautiful stretch of Ayrshire golfing country which stretches from Irvine to Prestwick, and with but a short interruption south from Ayre to Turnberry this region of coastal Scotland could be considered one of the hottest golf destinations on the planet.
The quality of this great links, originally laid out by the club’s greenkeeper Fred Morris in 1897, is reflected in the number of high profile events that have been contested there: the Curtis Cup, the PGA Championship, the Seniors’ Amateur Championship, the Scottish Amateur and Boys’ Championships among them. It has also been a regular venue for the final qualifying for the Open Championship. This is pure unspoiled and traditional Scottish links with wonderful greens and crisp turf on the fairways.
“Set on a superb sea-side strip of original links land, Western Gailes is a true classic golf experience. Men only, very private club where you feel fortunate to be able to play. Different to many links, the first 4 holes go out, followed by 9 holes in and then back home the last 5 holes. You are right next to the beach and see the sea on every single hole, which offers beautiful views all the way to Ilsa Craig, just off the coast from Turnberry. The most spectacular holes are the 6th, a sweeping par 5 which can be reached with tailwind and the 7th a short par 3 with 6! bunkers.” – Joris A, Leadingcourses.com Bronze User.
Honourable Mentions: With the obvious inclusion of Carnoustie and Gleneagles in the introduction, Scotland is home to a great number of Grade A courses. Other notable omissions from this top 10 list include; Muirfield Golf Club, The Renaissance Club, Trump International Golf Links, Cruden Bay Golf Club and the 117 hole complex, home to seven golf courses and the oldest golf shop in the world it is of course the Home of Golf St. Andrew’s Links.