Royal Aberdeen Golf Club
The club, formally set up in 1789, is the sixth oldest in the world. At 6,404 yards, a hidden chasm in front of the first green sets the mood of these stern long links. The ground is uneven but the landing areas are more level. After the 6th, the gorse closes in compounding the golfing challenge. Ranked #48 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Cruden Bay Golf Club
The original course was designed by Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews and opened in 1899; subsequent revisions were made by Tom Simpson in 1899. The course provides spectacular views of the ruins of Slains Castle, which provided inspiration for Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. Originally owned by the Great North of Scotland Railway Company, this traditional links offers an abundance of humps, hollows and greens tucked into unimaginable places. The finest sequence of holes is probably between the 4th hole, one of the finest par threes in golf and the par four, 7th hole. Cruden Bay creates unique challenges demanding the skills of power, placement and fine judgment upon the discerning golfer. Set against a backdrop of subtly contoured greens and magnificent panoramic views, a visit to Cruden Bay will be a most memorable one. Ranked #37 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Carnoustie Golf Links
Since the return of the British Open to Carnoustie in 2007, this links course has become an even more popular must play venue. Over 110 bunkers adorn this links, along with punishing rough, plenty of gorse, and the Jockie’s Burn and the Barry Burn. The first hole “Cup” is one of the strongest opening holes in all of Scotland, and the now famous finishing holes speak for themselves. This is a tough track with lots of character. Ranked #8 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Trump International Golf Links
Opened in July of 2012, the new Donald Trump course follows a classic layout of two out and back loops of nine holes. Designed by Martin Hawtree, this challenging yet playable par 72 7,423 yard layout provides a wonderful golf experience for every golfer. The green on the par-3 third is so perfectly positioned beside the beach that you will feel as if you are putting off of it. The tees on the par-5 fourth provide splendid views back to Aberdeen. Bring your sand wedge as there are 94 traditional pot bunkers lining the course.
Murcar Links Golf Club
Established in 1909, Murcar was originally designed by Archie Simpson with modifications later made by James Braid of Carnoustie and Gleneagles fame. The course is laid out on land adjacent to the Balgownie links, yet there is more variety of terrain at Murcar and many views of the sea. This links is indeed a Championship links of some renown, in the finest of Scottish tradition.
St. Andrews Old Course
Every golfers dream is to play this storied, historic Tom Morris course once in their lifetime. The moonscape setting, the huge double greens, the monstrous bunkers, the grand scale of the course, and the knowledge that you are walking in the footsteps of the greatest golfers in history are enough to distinguish it from all others. Ranked #2 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US. The Old Course will host The Open again in 2015.
St. Andrews New Course
Designed by Tom Morris in 1895, the New Course runs along side the Old in St. Andrews. A classic out-and-back design, the course features great banks of gorse that line the fairways and frame the greens. An astounding number of bunkers line the fairways and greens, and there are many large, undulating greens. Ranked #63 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US
St. Andrews Jubilee Course
The Jubilee Course at 6,800 yards is longer than the New Course and given its position, offers more ocean view. Originally opened as a twelve-hole course for women and children in 1897, the course was redesigned and extended to championship length in 1988 by Donald Steel. Many consider the Jubilee to be more challenging than the New. Ranked #92 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
St. Andrews Castle Course
Opened in the summer of 2008 and designed by architect David McLay Kidd (of Kingsbarns fame), the highly anticipated modern addition to the St. Andrews Links Trust, the Castle Course, provides a new and different golfing experience to those visiting the St. Andrews area. The course runs along the cliffs overlooking the sea and the historic town of St. Andrews below. There are five sets of tees per hole, and wide fairways and generous landing areas. The course provides blind shots, cliff carries, undulating greens and simply stunning vistas. You can see St. Andrews Bay from every hole and the city from most greens and/or tees. Our advice – take a caddy. Ranked #65 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Kingsbarns Golf Links
Located just six miles outside St. Andrews town, Kingsbarns is truly extraordinary. Designed by Kyle Phillips, Kingsbarns is simply put a breathtaking links. Many links sit behind waves of low-lying dunes, obscuring the water. But there isn’t a hole at Kingsbarns without the great expanse of the North Sea in sight. The signature par 3 plays from elevated tee to elevated green across an inlet from the sea. Truly a must see, must play course. Ranked #18 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Crail Golfing Society – Balcomie Links
Balcomie is a beautiful course, not too long and full of interest with magnificent views of the sea from every tee. Several of the fairways wind alongside golden sandy bays and rocky outcrops of the Firth shore. They come into play at the 2nd, 4th and Hell’s Hole – the 5th, where you must make up your mind whether to carry the beach or take the east way round. Balcomie provides a challenging and enjoyable round.
The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers – Muirfield
The original course was designed by Old Tom Morris and 16 holes built by hand and horse were opened on May 3rd, 1891 with two more added in December. Muirfield was the first course designed in two loops of nine holes, the first nine going round the perimeter of the property in a clockwise direction, the second nine contained inside the first, running anticlockwise. As never more than three successive holes run in the same direction, any wind affects the golfer from all points during a round. Most recent host to The Open in 2002, Muirfield will again host The Open in 2013. Ranked #3 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
North Berwick Golf Club – West Links
The West Links, originally six holes, was extended to 18 holes in 1877. By 1895 the course was lengthened, and today measures 6,420 yards. A true links course laid out on a raised-beach., laden with brown sand forming the undulating links land 10 to 30 feet above sea level. The course provides a challenging golf experience with blind holes, drives over walls and burns, shots over the bay and bunkers deep enough for the golfer to disappear from view. Many of the holes have been copied by designers all over the world, including the 376 yard 14th, “Perfection” and the 192 yard 15th “Redan”. Ranked #40 on Golf Digest’s list of 100 Greatest Courses outside the US.
Gullane Golf Club – No.1 Course
The eighteen holes of Gullane No.1 Course were established in 1884. The well maintained greens, links grasses, numerous bunkers and sea breezes make a unique challenge for the serious golfer. The 3rd hole was recently voted one of the top 500 holes in the world by Golf Magazine (USA). With every hole having its own distinct character, the Course is both memorable and enjoyable.
Dunbar Golf Club
Measuring just over 6,400 yards, the East Links at Dunbar Golf Club is another one of Scotland’s lesser-known links gems. The course is situated on the estuary of the Firth of Forth on the very land where Oliver Cromwell camped prior to the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. Laid out in 1857 and redesigned by Old Tom Morris around 1894, situated on a magnificent, narrow stretch of coastal terrain, Dunbar East Links presents a combination of links and inland turf and very much follows the natural contours of the coastline. Breathtaking is a word commonly used when speaking of golf courses but it really is not easy to imagine any stretch of holes with lovelier views than those offered at Dunbar. With the North Sea in view in all it glory along with the majestic coastline, the Isle of May, Bass Rock and the distant outline of Fife, golfers here are often distracted from the task at hand.
Scotscraig Golf Club
Established in 1817, Scotscraig is the 13th oldest club in the world and is located in the town of Tayport, which lies on the Tay Estuary near St.Andrews. Although the course is not directly by the sea, it has all the characteristics of a Scottish links course yet is surrounded by large fir trees.
Gleneagles Hotel – PGA Centenary Course
Opened in 1993, the Jack Nicklaus designed Centenary course (formerly known as the Monarch’s Course), will host the famed Ryder Cup in 2014. From the back tees, the course measures 7,088 yards, the longest inland course in Scotland. However, the tees are graded at each hole in five stages, including a challenging 6,558 yards from the white markers down to 5,072 from the red, providing a testing round for golfers of all skill levels. The views of the spectacular countryside, including the rugged Grampians, Ben Vorlich and the mountains above the Trossachs are stunning.
Gleneagles Hotel – Kings Course
James Braid’s plan for the King’s Course was to test even the best players’ shot-making skills over the eighteen holes. A stunning and challenging course with the springy moorland turf underfoot, the sweeping views from the tees all around, the rock-faced mountains to the north, the green hills to the south, and the peaks of the Trossachs and Ben Vorlich on the western horizon. There are six par 4’s in the 400 plus range and no par 5’s.
Gleneagles Hotel – Queens Course
Threading through high ridges on the north and west sides of the estate, the Queen’s offers lovely woodland settings, lochans and ditches as water hazards, as well as many moorland characteristics. At 3,192 yards long, the challenge of the first nine can be deceptive, with even some of the best players finding it a test to make par into a fresh southwesterly breeze.