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Fairways dunes and beach at Kingsbards Golf Links

5 Must-Play Modern Courses in Scotland

May 25, 2018

While Scotland is peppered with centuries-old, historic courses, some of its modern courses have evolved as must-plays as well. The 2019 Solheim Cup will be played at Gleneagles’ PGA Centenary Course, a modern classic designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1993.

When organizing a list of courses for your itinerary, the following layouts absolutely deserve consideration:

Castle Stuart Golf Links

Opened in 2009, this Gil Hanse designed gem is set on the shores of the Moray Firth between Inverness and Nairn. Typically, golf vacationers playing Royal Dornoch and Nairn also include Castle Stuart on their itinerary. It’s a wonderland of beautiful mounding, rugged looking waste bunkers and an art deco inspired clubhouse that offers stunning panoramas. Better still, several holes are played along the water’s edge.

Kingsbarns Golf Links

Set just outside St. Andrews, Scotland this innovative but classic design is truly one of the world’s most outstanding seaside golf experiences. A testament to modern design techniques, American designer Kyle Phillips created the dunes and rolling land movement at Kingsbarns with earth scrapers and bulldozers in 2000. Wide fairways, fantastic greens with great movement and the smell of the sea air and the sound of the waves on the rocks and beach dominate this amazing golf experience.

Trump International Golf Links

Populated with some of the most fantastic dunes you’ll ever see on a golf course, this Martin Hawtree design built in 2012 in Aberdeen is a supreme challenge. The course stretches along three miles of North Sea coastline offering inspirational panoramas. Notable features include at least five tee boxes on each hole, bent and fescue greens, no golf carts and 10 acres grass pathways connecting holes.

Loch Lomond Golf Club

Beautiful and playable, the course, located near Glasgow, is set between mountains and the historic lake. Designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf, the course opened in 1997. Golfers get a real sense of seclusion on this layout with each hole isolated from the next with the exception of the second and fourth greens which are linked. There are 46 different varieties of trees and Loch Lomond has been awarded full Audubon status.

Renaissance Club

Situated in the East Lothian region about two miles east of Gullane near Muirfield, this Tom Doak design debuted in 2008. Innovative designer Doak also designed well-received, high-profile layouts like Pacific Dunes at Bandon Dunes in Oregon and Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand. At Renaissance, Doak routed it through 300 acres of pine forest. Some of the trees are, shall we say, very noticeable as Doak left them in fairway and greenside positions that must be strategized with care.