The Best Golf Courses in Scotland

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Every golfer has their own dream list of golf courses to play, but Go&Golf Ambassador Rob McAllan took this one further and put his words into action.

Having completed his quest to play the top 100 golf courses in Scotland, he’s now aiming to play every Open Championship course (he’s currently at 11/14).

With a resume like that, It’s fair to say he knows a thing or two about golf in Scotland! So, we thought we’d take the opportunity to get him to share some of his most memorable experiences to date.

If you’re looking to play some of the best courses in Scotland (if not the world) we’re sure you’ll find Rob’s recommendations extremely useful.

You can also check him out on Instagram (@golfingscottishtop100) and keep track on his progress.

The best golf courses in Scotland

We asked Rob to name his favourite course in Scotland. But, he told us it was an almost impossible question to succinctly answer and stand firm with, due to the multitude of factors!

Looking through all the Scottish courses I have played, my mind wanders between quite a few. There is no clear winner and that is testament to our great game; the variety in courses and playing conditions is what keeps us coming back.


He said, “If I am really pushed, I would have a predictable list: The Old Course, Royal Dornoch, The Ailsa, Carnoustie and Prestwick.

However, there is a second list of favourites that are slightly more hidden and I think this is where I find the charm, the likes of Kilspindie, Askernish, Ladybank, Downfield, Crail Old, Elie and Brora.”

So, in our list below to the best golf courses in Scotland, we’ve pulled out all the courses that were memorable for Rob for one reason or another!

However, if you’re after a list of the top 100 golf courses in Scotland, scroll down to the bottom of the article.

1. The Old Course at St Andrews

St Andrews Links

📌 Location: W Sands Rd, St Andrews KY16 9XL | 💷 Green fees: from £135

If Scotland is the home of golf, St Andrews really is the golfing Mecca. And the Old Course at St Andrews is the birthplace of the sport!

Probably the most famous golfing town in the world, St Andrews is full of golfing history and home to some of the best courses in the country, if not the world.

The Old Course is probably the main reason most of you will go to St Andrews. If you’re only visiting St Andrews once, there’s no way around it – you have to play The Old Course. 

Iconic and steeped in history, you can walk in the footsteps of your heroes and attempt to recreate some of famous shots from past Open Championships.

Despite being probably the most famous golf course in the world, The Old Course remains widely accessible. If it needs anything else, there are also some other fantastic golf courses in St Andrews which make it a well worth trip!

2. Royal Dornoch

Royal Dornoch Golf Club

📌 Location: Golf Rd, Dornoch IV25 3LW | 💷 Green fees: from £115

Much has been written about Royal Dornoch and the layout of the championship course and I would say that the links is as described, absolutely first class.

The real beauty for me was the bunkering around the greens; the strategic nature of what was required for each approach left me debating where a loose shot would go, with the penalties for anything short of good being obvious.

I am fortunate to be a friend of a member and played as a guest, we enjoyed great hospitality in the clubhouse before setting off, with a fine meal and a beer to calm the nerves.

The setting is lovely as you get views up and down the coast; we played in the spring and the gorse was in full bloom, which added to the beauty. The course was in excellent condition and the greens were first class.

3. Trump Turnberry (Ailsa) 

Trump Turnberry Resort

📌 Location: Turnberry, Girvan KA26 9LS | 💷 Green fees: from £175

Located on the spectacular Ayrshire coastline in Scotland, there are two golf courses on offer at Trump Turnberry

However, it’s the Ailsa course that is the stand out option having it’s own place in golfing history. It has played host to four Open Championships including the famous “Duel in the Sun”.

Despite the course having undergone some changes since it last hosted The Open Championship, they have only improved the layout. And with breathtaking views, the course has also consistently ranked inside the world’s top 20, telling you everything you need to know about how special this layout is!

Alongside the Ailsa, the newly revamped King Robert the Bruce and world first class accommodation and restaurants make this one of the best golf resorts in the UK.

4. Prestwick Golf Club

Prestwick golf club

📌 Location: 2-4 Links Rd, Prestwick KA9 1QH | 💷 Green fees: from £120

I played the course mid-week at the end of the winter season. I actually had the course to myself; the starter turned up just for me and gave a great welcome, showing me around and talking me through all 18 holes, as we sat in a grand hall with a roaring fire.

Out on the course, things were a lot less friendly with temperatures near freezing, however the sun was shining and I was soon on my way.

The course is somewhat changed from the original lay out that saw the first 13 Opens, it eventually had 24 Opens played over it. The original course had 12 holes and six of these greens are still in use today. Three holes are still laid out exactly as they were – the 2nd, the 4th and the 5th – which are now the 17th, 3rd and 13th respectively. Tom Morris was responsible for taking the course up to its modern 18 holes in 1882.

The course is kept in great condition and from the opening tee shot, which is tight along the railway track, I was on for a challenge. I love the history of golf and to be playing the links where the Open started was an excellent feeling.

The course isn’t up to the modern tour events in terms of the additional space required for crowds and media villages but with an overall length from the tips of 6908 yards, it is a stern test. The 1st, 3rd, 5th, 15th, 16th and 17th are all tremendous and I feel they alone are worth the green fee. The fees are steep but the course is a must play if you love the history of the sport.

The course retains the quirk of the past, something many modern layouts fail to grasp. No two rounds at Prestwick would be the same; somewhere, somehow, you would always be challenged to a shot you had never played before. A good imagination would help you around the course.

 From the moment I walked into the clubhouse to see the famous Red Moroccan Leather Belt and Claret Jug, to the moment I signed the scorecard, I was enchanted. A must play in any golfer’s life time.

️5. Askernish Golf Club

Askernish Golf Course

📌 Location: Askernish, Isle of South Uist HS8 5SY | 💷 Green fees: from £30

By the location alone, this course gets some accolades. Askernish sits out in the ocean on the West coast of South Uist and is as remote as one can feel on a golf course.

The course was originally laid out by Old Tom Morris in 1891 but fell into disrepair. As a fan of golf history and after reading a few novels based around the Morris clan, I had to play this course.

The project was basically to re-establish the course as it was. Gordon Irvine and Martin Ebert, together with a large amount of local support, spent a couple of years bringing it back to life from 2006 to 2008. I would say efforts were made to keep this course as it would have been.

The tee boxes are tiny, the fairways are covered in rabbit burrows and the greens are slow, there are cows grazing on the course and electric fences guarding the greens. Despite all this, it was delightful.

I played in a strong southerly wind and had my work cut out at several south facing holes. I felt like I had stepped back in time. I really enjoyed the layout and thoroughly enjoyed the green complexes, some of which would be impossible with closely mown putting surfaces.

It takes commitment and time to get to South Uist – there are a few nearby courses, one on Harris and one on Benbecula, I believe. The trip is well worth it – it isn’t about the quality of the golf, it was about the adventure and it was one I cannot wait to repeat.

The stand out hole was the par 3 11th, across a gully, 197 yards to the middle of the green. I had to resort to hitting a driver as I didn’t know if I could make it in the strong wind, leaving it short wasn’t an option. I was pin high and mightily relieved.

6. Carnoustie (Championship)

Carnoustie Golf Links

📌 Location: Links Parade, Carnoustie DD7 7JE | 💷 Green fees: from £198

I grew up in the Angus area and as a teenager had a terrible experience around Carnoustie, shooting around 110 off the medal tees, whilst playing off 15.

I’ve had the pleasure to play it again a few times and the course never fails to ask some great questions of my game and indeed my strategic nuance. Every hole seems to throw up a conundrum and due to the nature of links golf with changing winds, it never feels like I have cracked it the course.

I can only liken the course to chess, the need to be in the right spot from the tee has never been greater, to allow you to get at the pin, the fairways bunkers and the lie of the land mean that although small, they are actually able to swallow balls from a large area.

As with any Open course, the condition is fantastic. The turf here, as at nearby Panmure, is unusual in that is slightly peaty, not the sandy links soil of others. The course always surprises me in its compactness – on the television, it looks so open and grand, however in real life, it feels so very tight, especially in the height of summer with the wind up.

The closing holes of 15,16, 17 and 18 are fantastically difficult and anyone walking off in par through this stretch can stand tall. I wouldn’t hesitate to drop everything for a game here but I would stress that the best thing you can do is practice hard for the week leading up to your tee time.

7. Durness Golf Club

📌 Location: Balnakeil, Durness IV27 4PX | 💷 Green fees: from £40

I am biased here as I spent all my Easter holidays as a child visiting Durness and even made it up a few times for their men’s open. The course is a nine holer but has eighteen tees to offer up a little variation.

The course has the most stunning views I can think of on a golf course, with Balnakeil Bay to the north of the course and the Kyle of Durness to the south. Durness Golf Club is maintained by a lone greenkeeper who does an excellent job and in recent years, I would say the course has improved.

The course is the most northerly on the British mainland and certainly an effort to get to, however with the recent popularity of the North Coast 500 route, I am sure the course is seeing more and more visitors. The course is a blast with the rugged terrain and difficult conditions only being magnified by the usual winds.

The signature hole would have to be the 9/18th, with the shot playing out over a gully, with the ocean banging at the rocks below. Indeed, I once played the course in terrible rain and my best friend managed to let go of a nine iron, which flew high and wide in to the sea below. We had to wait for two high tides to pass before searching for it amongst the seaweed and rock pools. I found it and he will be eternally in my debt.

I have played a lot of match play around the course and it is ideal with plenty of risk and reward shots. The 6th hole which curves around Loch Lanlish offers a fantastic opportunity to go at the green in two, with the green tucked tightly at right angles at the end of the water. I would recommend anyone passing through the highlands to play this course.

Much like Askernish, the experience is the adventure, the remoteness, the feeling of being up against the elements. I don’t want people to come here expecting a top class facility as this isn’t possible in this remote setting; what they will find is a simple course in a wonderful setting with enough quirk and charm to offer up some great fun.

I must also mention the local membership which have always provided a great welcome. In fact, the 18th hole challenge of nearest the pin after the men’s open, where everyone enjoys a drink and then heads down to the tee, is an absolute blast of great fun. It’s amazing what can be done when a membership is united in the common goal of having a good day out for all.

8. Elgin Golf Club

Elgin Golf Club

📌 Location: Birnie Rd, Elgin IV30 8SX | 💷 Green fees: from £50

I played Elgin Golf Club with my best mate, and due to my poor planning, we’d played another round in the morning.

We were very early for our afternoon tee time and couldn’t get out as the tee was fully booked. So we had a practice, we had lunch in the clubhouse and we hung around the place, seeing all that was going on. I am not sure if we were lucky on the day but the mixture of the friendly members and the welcoming staff made me wish that more clubs were like this.

The course is a good fair test and was in top condition when we played. The clubhouse had a good newsletter detailing what they were up to, what the green keepers were working on and what the membership were achieving. The bar man had great chat and sorted us out with beers and food.

I left Elgin wishing more clubs had the same approach: a bustling membership of mixed abilities a busy clubhouse, a friendly team. However I know it is a challenge, the economics of running your average club is getting harder and harder. The approach here was excellent though and I wish them well, they are definitely making the best of their lot.

9. Kilspindie Golf Club

Kilspindie Golf Club

📌 Location: Aberlady, Longniddry EH32 0QD | 💷 Green fees: from £90

Kilspindie Golf Club is a traditional Scottish links course located on the East Lothian coast, close by to Craigielaw Golf Club. Both are excellent golf courses close to Edinburgh (about a 35 minutes drive)! 

Founded in 1867, Kilspindie’s original 9-hole course was designed by Ben Sayers and was later extended to 18 holes by Willie Park Jr.

The course is characterised by its natural dunes, pot bunkers, and sea views that provide a challenging and memorable golfing experience. It measures just over 6,000 yards from the back tees, making it a relatively short course, but the narrow fairways and challenging green complexes require precise shot-making skills.

On an outstanding coast line of big courses this one stands out as THE definition of a little gem.


The course features in both the top 100 GB&I Links courses and the Next 100 list. 

10. Ladybank Golf Club

Ladybank Golf Club

📌 Location: Annsmuir, Ladybank, Cupar KY15 7RA | 💷 Green fees: from £65

Ladybank Golf Club is located in Fife, Scotland, less than 20 miles from St. Andrews. For that reason, the club is often overshadowed by the main jewels in the county. But it really shouldn’t be overlooked!

Designed by Old Tom Morris in 1879 before it was later revised to a 18-hole layout. In a county that’s famous worldwide for its link, another reason it’s probably overlooked is that fact it’s an inland parkland-heathland style course. It features tree-lined fairways, strategic bunkering, and challenging greens. 

The club is however renowned for its immaculate presentation and you won’t be disappointed if you add this to your itinerary on a golf trip to Fife.

11. Crail Golfing Society (Balcomie Links)

crail golfing society - balcomie

📌 Location: Crail, Anstruther KY10 3XN | 💷 Green fees: from £60

Crail Golfing Society is situated in the picturesque fishing village of Crail on the East coast of Fife. 

The Balcomie Links course dates back to the 19th century and was designed by Old Tom Morris. It offers dramatic coastal views, challenging links bunkers, ​​long par 3’s and approaches over rocky bays.

Alongside the Balcomie Links, the club has a second course, Craighead Links course. Together they make Crail a true gem of Scottish links golf and is a must-play for any golfer visiting the area.

12. Brora Golf Club

Brora Golf Club

📌 Location: 43 Golf Rd, Brora KW9 6QS | 💷 Green fees: from £50

Another course the features in the GB & Ireland Top 100 list, Brora Golf Club is located in the Scottish Highlands, just north of Inverness. 

The course was laid out by James Braid and is known for its natural beauty and challenging links layout. 

The links winds through rolling dunes, heather, and gorse, and offering stunning views of the North Sea. The club is a traditional Scottish links course that requires strategic shot-making and one of the ultimate classic links golf experiences.

List of The Top 100 Golf Courses in Scotland

  1. St Andrews (Old)
  2. Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)
  3. Muirfield
  4. Royal Dornoch (Championship)
  5. Kingsbarns
  6. Trump International Links
  7. Carnoustie (Championship)
  8. North Berwick
  9. Loch Lomond
  10. Cruden Bay
  11. Castle Stuart
  12. Royal Troon
  13. Skibo Castle
  14. Gleneagles (Kings)
  15. Nairn
  16. Pretwick
  17. Machrihanish
  18. The Machrie
  19. Western Gailes
  20. Royal Aberdeen
  21. Gullane (No. 1)
  22. Machrihanish Dunes
  23. Moray (Old)
  24. Gleneagles (Queens)
  25. Southerness
  26. Blairgowrie (Rosemount)
  27. Boat of Garten
  28. St Andrews (New)
  29. The Renaissance Club
  30. St Andrews (Castle)
  31. Brora
  32. Elie
  33. Fraserburgh
  34. Lundin Links
  35. Archerfield (Fidra)
  36. Murcar
  37. Dundonald
  38. Glasgow Gailes
  39. Dunbar
  40. Luffness
  41. Gullane (No. 2)
  42. Panmure
  43. St Andrews (The Dukes)
  44. Scotscraig
  45. Monifieth (Medal)
  46. Grantown-on-Spey
  47. Peterhead
  48. Blairgowrie (Lansdowne)
  49. Lanark
  50. Fortrose and Rosemarkie
  51. Turnberry (King Robert The Bruce)
  52. Crail (Balcomie)
  53. Shiskine
  54. Leven Links
  55. Montrose (Medal)
  56. Golspie
  57. Archerfield (Dirleton)
  58. Gleneagles (PGA Centenary)
  59. Kilspindie
  60. Prestwick St Nicholas
  61. West Kilbride
  62. Nairn Dunbar
  63. Ladybank
  64. Bruntsfield Links
  65. Portpatrick (Dunskey)
  66. Askernish
  67. Spey Valley
  68. Tain
  69. Stranraer
  70. Carnoustie (Burnside)
  71. Downfield
  72. Glenbervie
  73. St Andrews (Jubliee)
  74. Irvine
  75. Pitlochry
  76. Meldrum House
  77. Duff House Royal
  78. Cawder (Championship)
  79. Longniddry
  80. Powfoot
  81. Edzell (Old)
  82. Kilmarnock (Barassie)
  83. Forfar
  84. Letham Grange
  85. Fairmont St Andrews
  86. Newmachar
  87. Newburgh-on-Ythan
  88. East Renfrewshire
  89. Elgin
  90. The Glen
  91. Rowallan Castle
  92. The Carrick
  93. Fairmont St Andrews (Kittocks)
  94. The Roxburghe
  95. St Andrews (Eden)
  96. Royal Musselburgh
  97. Kilmacolm
  98. Royal Burgess
  99. Royal Troon (Portland)
  100. Dalmahoy (East)

Map of the top 100 golf courses in Scotland