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Top Regions To Play Golf in Scotland

July 26, 2016

The Old Course in St. Andrews is such a dominant golf magnet for Scotland that some golfers overlook the other great places to play because of their, understandable, unbridled fascination and preoccupation with the home of golf.

For the casual observer of Scotland and those who haven’t traveled there, it’s often difficult to decipher and remember what courses are in what regions. When iconic layouts like Royal Dornoch, Muirfield and North Berwick are mentioned, most golfers instantly know they’re in Scotland, but they just don’t know where.

Here’s a brief primer on Scotland’s top golf regions:

St. Andrews/County of Fife – After you play the Old Course and have a few pints at the Jigger Inn and Dunvegan Hotel Lounge and take a picture on the Swilcan Bridge, other courses to play are Kingsbarns Golf Links, St. Andrews Links courses The Castle, Jubilee and New, Dukes Course, Torrance and Kittocks courses at Fairmont St. Andrews and Crail’s Craighead and Balcomie courses. Carnoustie, which is about a 40-minute drive from St. Andrews, is often included in a St. Andrews itinerary.

Southwest/Ayrshire – Dominated by great links courses, stunning ocean views and world-renowned golf courses, this region is a hugely popular golf vacation destination. In Ayrshire there are more than 40 golf courses highlighted by Trump Turnberry Resort’s Ailsa Course, Royal Troon Golf Club and Prestwick Golf Club. The Kintrye Peninsula is home to Machrihanish Golf Course and Machrihanish Dunes. In the village of Irvine, the big draws  are Western Gailes and Dundonald Links.

East Lothian-It proclaims itself as “Scotland’s Golf Coast” and it delivers with an impressive menu of big name courses. Enhancing its appeal are the manageable driving distances between the courses and its location with easy access to both St. Andrews and Edinburgh. Courses to play include Muirfield, West Links at North Berwick Golf Club, Gullane Golf Club, Dunbar Golf Club and Musselburgh Links, The Old Course.

Northwest/Scottish Highlands – Featuring diverse terrain and a selection of nearly 50 golf courses, this region offers an eclectic selection of layouts. Many of the area’s best courses are located in and around Inverness and Moray. Most notable courses in the Scottish Highlands are Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Castle Stuart Golf Links, Nairn Golf Club and Askernish Golf Club.

Northeast/Aberdeenshire – Ruggedly beautiful, this region is home to celebrated layouts like Trump International Golf Links Scotland, Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Cruden Bay Golf Club and Mucar Golf Course.

Perthshire-It’s home to Gleneagles Resort, site of the 2014 Ryder Cup Matches. If you enjoy inland courses dominated by lush countryside, hills and rivers, this region offers sedate settings with more than 30 golf courses in the region. Top places to tee up include: Gleneagles PGA Centenary, Gleneagles King’s and Gleneagles Queen’s courses.