Top 10 Courses: Scotland

Here are our top 10 courses in Scotland, the Home of Golf

1. ST. ANDREWS (OLD), St. Andrews

Six hundred years old and going strong. The Road Hole, Hell Bunker, Swilcan Burn, and Valley of Sin all await as the world’s most famed and fabled course prepares to host a record 30th Open Championship in 2022.

top 10 scotland
St. Andrews (Old) (photo by Iain Lowe)

2. MUIRFIELD, Gullane

The fairest and most straightforward test on the Open rotation, it can also be the fiercest when the thick rough is allowed to grow and the wind howls off the Firth of Forth.

3. TRUMP TURNBERRY (AILSA), Turnberry

Several recent renovations, most notably a reconfiguring of the 9th and 10th holes beside the iconic lighthouse, have enhanced both the charm and challenge of Scotland’s most dazzling course.

4. ROYAL DORNOCH (CHAMPIONSHIP), Dornoch

Imaginative routing, vexing plateau greens, and a magnificent setting make this gem of the northeast Highlands well worth the trip. Play it in the spring when the gorse is in full bloom.

5. CARNOUSTIE (CHAMPIONSHIP), Carnoustie

Even in calm conditions, this is a remorseless test, particularly off the tee, with meandering burns, out of bounds, and penal bunkers all competing for attention. Add a stiff breeze and it’s one of the toughest tests in the world.

6. KINGSBARNS, Kingsbarns

This two-tiered 21st-century triumph from Kyle Phillips and Mark Parsinen, just 20 minutes from St. Andrews, has been on the must-play list since the day it opened two decades ago.

7. NORTH BERWICK (WEST), North Berwick

It’s impossible not to have fun on this stretch of linksland hard by the Firth of Forth, where a veritable museum of hole templates and architectural gambits awaits.

8. CASTLE STUART, Inverness

Gil Hanse was given an extraordinary piece of land beside the Moray Firth and rose to the occasion with an ingenious routing of 18 holes that are as relentlessly engaging as the views.

9. ROYAL ABERDEEN (BALGOWNIE), Aberdeen

A classic out-and-back links running beside the North Sea, its majestic front nine is framed by mammoth dunes with the testing return on wind-whipped higher ground.

10. CRUDEN BAY (CHAMPIONSHIP), Cruden Bay

One of the game’s great walks and a certified charmer, it winds in a figure eight past a tiny harbor through huge sandhills and beside a stunning beach. Blind shots, huge drops, drivable fours, and back-to-back threes add to the joy.

What Scotland courses should be in the top 10? Let us know in the comments section.

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