The Independent Golfer
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Descriptions of 111
Scotland Golf Courses
 

"Unless otherwise stated, the descriptions below were written after my personal play of the course. For the remainder, I have included comments submitted by the club or its members." – The Independent Golfer

 
  (Page 1. Courses A through D) Forward(2) (3) (4)
 
 

Inverness Hub

Abernethy Golf Course
South of Inverness
9 holes, par 33
link to course website

 
Abernethy golf course, Scotland
I have not played it and can thus make no recommendation. Abernethy is described on its website as a traditional Highland golf course, built on natural moorland, and surrounded by majestic pine trees. On most days, it is possible to "walk on", without a reserved tee time. Families are welcome and handicap certificates are not required. For those without clubs they have a few sets for hire. Situated in the Cairngorms National Park, Abernethy golf course is home to many wildlife species.
 

 

Inverness Hub
Dornoch Hub

Aigas Golf Course
North of Inverness
9 holes, par 33
link to course website

 
Aigas Golf Course, Scotland
This small, family-run course was installed in 1993 in a pastoral setting in Glen Affrac along the left bank of the Beauly River. This area is noted for the natural beauty of its hills which are covered with pine plantation and some old-growth forests. The course is well maintained with wide, forgiving fairways, mid-sized greens and evenly mown rough that does not carry too stiff a penalty for the errant shot. It is a short course but offers some interesting challenge, especially its #6 hole whose green is located at the mouth of an impressive river gorge.
 

 

Inverness Hub
Dornoch Hub

Alness Golf Club
North of Inverness
18 holes, par 67
link to course website


 
Alness golf course, Scotland

This very inviting little course was recently expanded from nine to eighteen holes. The new side includes a delightful series of holes that step down a lush valley with a forested large stream on your right and green fern banks on your left.

The first four holes are relatively straight forward and allow you to warm up for what comes later. Thereafter, each hole presents a different challenge, a different vista and, in the end, total to a delightful golf experience.
 

 

Ayr Hub

Ardeer Golf Course
In Ayrshire
18 holes, par 72, 6409 yards
link to course website

 
 

I have not played this course and so cannot offer a personal description. The club describes its course as follows:

"Ardeer Golf Club is an exceptionally pleasant, rolling and well-appointed parkland course with hundreds of small, blossoming trees routed along the fairways and a babbling burn crossing in front of the greens. In playing the course, it is a lot more demanding than it appears. The 9th and 11th greens have recently been improved and are both exceptional holes playing across the 'babblin' burn
."

 
 

Fife Hub

Balbirnie Park Golf Course
In the Kingdom of Fife
18 holes, par 71, 6210 yards
link to course website

 
 

I have not played this course and so cannot offer a personal description. The club describes its course as follows:

“Based in the Kingdom of Fife and located just a few minutes drive from the world famous home of golf at St. Andrews. Balbirnie Park is a fine example of the best in traditional parkland design – the natural contours being the inspiration behind the layout.”

 
 

Oban Hub

Ballachulish Golf Course
Northeast of Oban
9 holes, par 34
link to course website

 
Dragons Tooth Golf Course, Scotland

Across Scotland there are a number of nine-hole courses that have recently been put in by farmers and their families. They have replaced sheep with golfers. Dragon’s Tooth in one of the finest examples of these to be found. The course was opened in the Spring of 2002 and shows a clear attention to detail in everything from the tidy clubhouse to the slate tee signs and direction signs to well-manicured paths from green to next tee. The fairways are well maintained and the greens superb and, according to the owners, are built to USGA standards.

Dragon’s Tooth is located just across a two-lane road from beautiful Loch Linnhe and is nestled in the midst of spectacular highland peaks. Just behind the course Dragon’s Tooth Craig looms, obviously giving the course its name. The holes stretch over rolling land, each with only a slight gain or loss of elevation. The architect did a nice job of taking advantage of existing large trees and water courses.
 
 

Ayr Hub

Belleisle Golf Club
In Ayrshire
18 holes, par 71, 6431 yards
link to course website

 
 

Though Belleisle is a municipal course, it stands up with many of the better, privately owned courses in Scotland, especially when it hosts some of the Scottish Professional events. It is truly a championship parkland/heathland course that is laid out in a beautifully wooded area. It sports a stately old clubhouse that doubles as a hotel and restaurant.

The course presents a variety of challenges with only two 4-par holes under 400 yards and many holes that follow or intersect the Curtecan Burn that winds through the layout. Though these long par-4's dominate, you will need your best short game to manage the large, undulating greens that often feature multiple levels and are guarded by numerous sand bunkers.

A favorite hole is the 6th, appropriately called "The Lang Drap". The views it offers of the bay and, on a clear day, the Isle of Arran, are as beautiful as the hole is intimidating. It is a 429 yard, par-4 that takes you down hill to a quite small green guarded by two enormous sand bunkers. Get on this one in two and you will have hit two wonderful shots.

 
 

Inverness Hub

Boat of Garten Golf Club
South of Inverness.
18 holes, par 70
link to course website


 
boat of Garten golf course, Scotland If you want to play golf in the grandeur and magnificence of the Scottish Highlands, and have your game tested in the process, “The Boat” is for you. Carved along hillsides and through valleys covered with silver birch, ash and fields of heather, the course offers numerous incomparable views of the high Cairgorm mountains. “The Boat” carries the signature characteristics of its designer James Braid, including raised greens (you have to see the 18th to believe it) and dogleg fairways which many credit him with inventing. The course is nestled in a small tourist area known as Strathspey which is enjoyed by Scots seeking a highland experience. In addition to excellent golf the Boat of Garten area offers bird watching, walking through tranquil woods, climbing or skiing, cycling on excellent quiet roads or traveling on a scenic steam railway, which incidentally passes to the side of the golf course.
 

 

Dornoch Hub
Inverness Hub

Bonar Bridge – Ardgay Golf Club
West of Dornoch
9 holes, par 34
no website

 
Bonar Bridge golf course, Scotland Started in 1904, this delightful little course is a perfect example of the advantages of playing the best wee courses of the north. It is inexpensive, offers a very good test of golf and rambles through beautiful expanses of heather and scots pine forests, offering wonderful views of Loch Migdale and surrounding mountains. The members have build a small but neat clubhouse but the office is typically unmanned and depends on an “honesty box” to receive your green fee for the day.
 

 

Oban Hub
Southwest Hub

Brodick Golf Club
South of Oban on the Island of Arran
18 hole; par 65
link to course website

 
Brodick golf course, Scotland Brodick. which was first laid out in 1897, is the best 18-hole course on the island of Arran It offers an interesting variety of play. Though dominated by links-style holes that run along Brodick Bay, a few holes extend up the Glen Rosa into thickly forested hills. The course’s one par-five demands an accurate tee shot or you will be locked out of getting to the green in three. One of Brodick’s holes is the only par-3 I have ever encountered that is actually a dogleg left! It requires an accurate draw around a large growth of trees in order to reach the green.
 

 

Dornoch Hub

Brora Golf Club
North of Dornoch
18 holes, par 69
link to course website

 
Brora Golf course, Scotland Designed by James Braid in 1923, this is one of the most traditional links courses you will ever play. The course layout has hardly been altered since Braid’s time. It rambles over undulating links land next to the sea, out nine holes toward the north-east and then back nine to the small but well-appointed clubhouse. Rolling, undulating fairways, approaches to the greens that accept bumped and run balls, sweeping views of sea, rough of wispy grass and gorse bushes, winding burns of peat-colored water, mountains and sky uninterrupted by trees or buildings, this course has it all.

Brora is so traditional that sheep still graze on it. They help by keeping the rough somewhat eaten back, lending to the course’s feeling of openness and helping the golfer find arrant balls. Electrical wires carrying a small direct current surround each green about 18 inches above the ground to keep the sheep off. A local rule reads that these electric fences “…should be treated as immovable obstructions. Relief should be taken in accordance with Rule 24-2.  A ball striking any part of the fence may be replayed.” Further, to be safe, another local rule states that, “Animal droppings on the course may be treated as casual water.” This is more a curiosity than a problem. Don’t be put off. The sheep typically keep out of the way. (They learned long ago that they don’t like electrical shocks.) The greens keeper turns the electricity off during the day and most animal droppings are confined to the more remote parts of the course.

The important feature of this course is the spectacular links play if affords. A tee shot struck on the proper line runs on, seeking the green far ahead. Well-aimed blind shots over grass-topped hummocks to receptive swales pull the ball into good positions for approaching the green. Bunkers are strategically placed and have an uncanny ability to attract even slightly errant shots. If the wind is blowing in your face, it will soon be at your back. If you can bump a 6 iron from 130 yards out so that it hits 30 yards in front of the green, you may be rewarded to see your ball roll onto the green and track toward the hole, leaving you a makeable birdie putt. Like many of the best links courses, Brora is deceivingly long. The card reads only 5872 yards but it is par 69 with only one par 5. The length is made up with five par-4’s between 412 and 447.

Bottom line, don’t pass up the opportunity to play golf the way it was intended to be played in a setting that has not changed much since Old Tom’s time. Brora is a tradition that you need to experience.
 

 

Ayr Hub

Brunston Castle Golf Course
Ayrshire
18 hole; par 72, 6681 yards
link to course website

 
brunston castle for scotland golf

This recently re-designed layout by Donald Steele leads you through a broad and very scenic valley, split by a lovely river locally called the “Waters of Girvan” and dotted with great old trees and, yes, the ruins of a medieval castle. The course has a generally open feeling with broad, well-manicured fairways and large greens that accept approach shots well. It was clearly designed to offer play that is more pleasurable than frustrating.

That said, the course starts you out with a bang, featuring 392 yards with nothing but trouble on the left. The par-5 6th requires a lay-up or, for the long hitters, a daring shot to carry the pond strategically located in the middle of the fairway. And, speaking of ponds, the17th par-3 defends its greed with water on three sides.

 
 

Northeast Hub

Buckpool Golf Club
In Scotland's Northeast
18 hole; par 70
link to course website

 
Buckpool for Scotland Golf Buckpool is located near the sea and offers some impressive views along the coast of the Moray Firth and across to the Back Isle and on to Caithness beyond. Yet Buckpool plays more like an inland than a links course. It is situated on a bluff and separated from the sea by an aged fishing village, the roofs of which offer an interesting view from the #11 tee. This is a wonderful example of a Scottish home course that gives delight to locals and a welcome diversion to guests. Like many home courses in Scotland, the seemingly short length is more than made up for by a few holes of considerable length and judicious placement of bunkers on the shorter ones, all of which combine to create a quite challenging test of golf.
 
 

Fife Hub

Burntisland Golf House Club
In the Kingdom of Fife
18 hole; par 70
link to course website

 
Burntisland golf course, Scotland

Though there is evidence of golf being played in the village of Burntisland (pronounced burnt-eyeland) since 1668, the current course had its beginnings in the late 19th century when the high ground above the town was purchased by a group of businessmen golfers. They employed Willie Park Jr., a British Open Champ, to design the layout and hoped vacationers coming across the Firth of Forth on the ferry from Edinburgh would join local golfers and make the course profitable. Like a number of courses across Scotland, the original layout had an odd number of holes but was standardized to 18 holes on the advice of Old Tom Morris who had set this standard at his home course in St. Andrews. The Burntisland course that has evolved since, starting with the help ofJames Braid in 1922, is a delightful track that winds over rolling hills, through forested glades, past old, water-filled quarries and across abandoned railroad embankments.

Burntisland presents a number of risk-reward holes that offer the bold golfer the opportunity to score well and the more timid to avoid high scores. Members are rightly proud of their course’s stunning views of the near shore and, across the Firth, of the Edinburgh skyline in the distance.

 
 

Northeast Hub

Carnoustie – Buddon Links Golf Course
In the Northeast
18 hole; par 66, 5420 yards
link to course website

 
Carnoustie for Scotland Golf

I have not played this course and so cannot offer a personal description. The club describes its course as follows:

"Buddon Links is a relatively new golf course having been opened in 1979. It was designed by Peter Allis and Davis Thomas although there have been significant changes since.
As would be expected given its location, it is an excellent example of links golf. Although shorter than the Burnside it still packs a pretty hefty punch around the turn with the 7th, 9th, 11th & 12th holes all testing the players accuracy and control.
The Buddon Links is a fine complement to the Championship course and it is worth a player considering 18 holes over the Buddon Links as an introduction to links golf prior to tackling the more demanding Championship course."

 
 

Northeast Hub

Carnoustie – Burnside Golf Course
In the Northeast
18 hole; par 68, 6020 yards
link to course website

 
Carnoustie for Scotland Golf

I have not played this course and so cannot offer a personal description. The club describes its course as follows:

The Burnside is often overshadowed by it’s illustrious neighbor but it oozes character and from the back tees is a splendid test of golf.
Many of the short holes would grace any links course anywhere with the 5th and 14th in particular providing dramatic challenges for the player who strives to gain his par 3.
The finish is also strong with the 17th proving to be one of the hardest par 4’s that can be found anywhere in golf and many a score has been ruined by the out of bounds fence at the 18th.

 
 

Northeast Hub

Carnoustie – Championship Golf Course
In the Northeast
18 hole; par 72, 6941 yards
link to course website

 

Carnoustie for Golf in Scotland
Carnoustie's 18th Hole with the Barry Burn in the foreground

Golf at Carnoustoe, Scotland
Carnoustie's 13th Hole

Carnoustie, a classic links course, will be the site of the 2007 British Open. By Open standards, it is a monster of a course that beats you up and makes you want to come back for more. Many believe it is the toughest links course in the world. The course, itself, is relatively flat and laid out is a large oval that works you around a central, waste area -- the hollow of the oval. Even within a side of the oval, the holes work out, back, and across so that there is really no dominate direction along which you move. The result is that, no matter what the direction of the wind on the day you play, you will have a balanced number of up-wind, down-wind and even cross-wind holes that will test your sensitivity to the conditions.

Carnoustie's fairways are of the classic links type, undulating and fast with scattered bunkers at all the strategic locations. They are bordered by rough that is punishing but not devastating. If you ball wanders off the fairway you may find it but you will probably not be able to get a full club on it to advance it as you would like.

This is an old course, the links land being a place for golf since the 1500's. The present course was laid out in 1850 and later improved by the legendary Old Tom Morris, and still later by James Braid.

Like St. Andrews, Carnoustie is a Muni course, owned by the town and open to all who wish to play. As a result, it is much easier to obtain a starting time here than at other of the Open venue courses.

You will especially enjoy playing the final three holes through which winds the Barry Burn, the agent of the Frenchman Jean Van de Velde's downfall in the 1999 Open Championship. Also of note is the 5-par, 14th hole that features the famous Spectacles, two bunkers set side-by-side in the middle of the fairway 80 yards from the green---just where you'd like your second shot to land. Lay up or try to carry the Spectacles? Every player that tackles Carnoustie must answer that question for himself.

 
 

Inverness Hub

Carrbridge Golf Club
South of Inverness
9 hole; par 34
link to course website

 
Carrbridge Golf Course, Scotland This 9-holer is typical of the many vacation-destination courses scattered through the Highlands that offer recreation to the local golfers and a bit of a challenge to visitors on holiday in the lovely valley of the River Spey.
 

 

Fife Hub

Charleton Golf Course
In the Kingdom of Fife
18 holes, par 72
link to course website

 
Charleton Golf Course, Fife, Scotland

I have not played this course and so cannot offer a personal description. The club describes its course as follows:

18 hole, par 72, SSS 70, as well as 9 hole Pitch & Putt, Driving Range, Club House with Restaurant & Bar and ride on golf buggies. 15 minutes from St. Andrews in the Kingdom of Fife. Charleton Golf Club, set in stunning parkland with spectacular panoramic views over the Firth of Forth, is acclaimed to be the most attractive golf course in Fife, with the most testing greens!. Ride on buggies are available during the Summer Season.

Charleton Golf Club is the perfect course for Visitors, whether you are a single golfer or a large group, the friendly staff will make sure you have a day out to remember. An affordable all day menu is available, along with a vast array of beers and soft drinks, with a recently installed pool room. (the perfect place to get your opponent back after the Golf !)

 
 

Fife Hub

Crail Golfing Society – Balcomie Links
In the Kingdom of Fife
18 holes, par 69, 5922 yards
link to course website

 
Crail Golf Course, Scotland

The Balcomie Links, over which the Crail Golfing Society plays, offers some of the best links golf anywhere in Scotland. The Society, which has clear claim to being the 7th oldest golf club in the world, being founded in 1786, moved to the Balcomie area in 1859. With the help of Old Tom Morris, they eventually fashioned a golf course that will give you everything you want in a links golfing experience.

The length is deceptive. Don’t be put off by its 5402 yards. You will need every shot in your bag to score well here. The Balcomie’s dominate quality is, beyond a doubt, its greens. Each one is quite different from the other yet all are characterized by pronounced mounds, subtle curves and oh-so-slight breaks that must be read well for success. While some are saucer shaped and accept an approach shot well, others slope away from the golfer or fall sideways down to cleverly placed bunkers that wait to ensnare your innocently intended ball.

Yes, the greens make the course, but they are not all that make the course attractive. The setting is simply magnificent, running as it does always within sight and many times within ball flight of the North Sea. Here, the sea and land come together in majestic harmony that can’t fail to fill you with exhilaration. The fairways are truly “linksey”, allowing well-aimed balls to run well along the grassy landing areas and clever approaches to land short but run on to the hole. They do have their fairway bunkers, small but devilishly placed to trap the errant shot.

Though the Balcomie generally forces you to attend to controlling the ball’s roll as well as its flight, two holes present challenging decisions as to how much of the tidelands you should try to fly with your drive in order to get your ball rolling as far as possible around the dog-leg and toward the hole. Unlike most seaside, links courses in Scotland, the tidelands that border these holes on Balcomie are out of bounds. Why? In years past, some members noticed that, for competitions, other members rather strenuously preferred certain starting times and that their preferences varied from week to week. Finally, it occurred to the club leadership that their fellow members were timing their starts with the tide so that they could play when the tide was out, exposing the firm and level sand and offering the opportunity to recover from errant shots. Others, playing later or earlier in club competitions, would see their miss-hit shots plunk into the incoming sea. The club leadership, never happy to have some members advantaged over others, eliminated the effects of the tide by declaring the beach out of bounds.

This course is a favorite of all who play it. If you are in Fife, don’t miss playing Crail’s Balcomie Links.

 
 

Fife Hub

Crail Golfing Society – Craighead Links
In the Kingdom of Fife
18 holes, par 74, 6728 yards
link to course website


 
Crail Golf course, Scotland

In 1997 the Crail Golfing Society added the Craighead course using farming land adjacent to its venerable Balcomie Links. The site offers an awe-inspiring 270 degree sweep of ocean and coastal views stretching from St. Andrews, Dundee and Carnoustie in the north around to Muirfield and Edinburgh to the west. Variations on these views are visible from every point on the course and the North Sea is always present. You will not find a more magnificent site for a golf course in all of Scotland.

Three distinguishing qualities characterize this course. First, the greens are truly memorable. They are shaped and contoured to make them both interesting and challenging. Some are saucer shaped, some are raised, all have undulations, humps, and depressions that call for a keen eye and an imaginative plan. Second the bunkers are masterfully formed and placed. Both along the fairways and around the greens, you will find bunkers waiting at strategic locations that guide your play and punish your mistakes. In both its greens and its bunkers, the Craighead faithfully mimics its older sister links courses.

The fairways are not characteristically “linksey.” Though most angle left or right and all run well, as most links fairways do, they are generously wide through most of their length. They are also generally level or evenly canted. Only occasionally do valleys, ridges or mounds appear. At the side of each fairway is a uniform cut of 10 yards of evenly mown rough that will slow your ball’s roll and interfere with a clean next stroke without presenting unduly harsh penalties. This is all fair and appropriate. Beyond the mowed rough is the “heavy”, thick grass that can grow knee high and swallow your ball so that, even if you find it, you will be lucky to get it back into play.

To heighten the links feel, the course has been strategically planted with gorse bushes clustered through the heavy rough. Further, the designer retained many of the ancient dykes (stone walls) that have marked the land for centuries. Together, these qualities all serve to visually break up the expanse of tall grass and thus add character to the course without interfering with play.

 
 

Northeast Hub

Cruden Bay Golf Course
In the Northeast
18 hole; par 70, 6395
link to course website

 
Cruden Bay for Scotland Golf

I have not played this course and so cannot offer a personal description. The club describes its course as follows:

Cruden Bay Golf Course, one of the finest examples of classic links lay in Scotland, 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.

It is claimed that golf was played in the village of Cruden Bay as early as 1791. The original course, on the present site, was commissioned by the Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR) following the expansion of the railways at the end of the 19th century, designed by Old Tom Morris of St Andrews, and opened in 1899.
Cruden Bay offers an internationally famous golfing experience - old fashioned links golf at its best - on one of the best links courses in Scotland, and last year was placed at No 52 in the world by "Golf Magazine".

 
 

Northeast Hub

Downfield Golf Course
In the Northeast
18 hole; par 73, 6803 yards
link to course website

 
Downfield for Scotland Golf

I have not played this course and so cannot offer a personal description. The club describes its course as follows:

Downfield is recognized as one of the finest inland course in the United Kingdom. It has played host to many events over its long history. In the past tournaments like the S.P.G.A. Masters, Scottish Boys Stroke Play, P.G.A. Scottish Open, Scottish Amateur, British Girls Home Internationals, but it was the great honor of being a Final Qualifying venue for the Open Championship at Carnoustie in 1999, that has put Downfield Golf Club rightly, near the top of the tree as a golfing destination. Downfield has is hosting Final Open Qualifying in July 2007.
Set in beautiful parkland, Dundee's premier course is a challenge to every golfer teeing off at the wonderful 1st hole and moving round the rolling contours of the course. The wildlife on the course is breathtaking with foxes, squirrels, deer, water fowl, ducks and buzzards, as well as many other interesting species scampering around. With over 100 species of tree within the perimeter it is no wonder people remember their visit long after they have gone away.

 
 

Fife Hub

Drumoig Hotel Golf Resort
In the Kingdom of Fife
18 holes, par 72
link to course website

 
Drumoig for Scotland Golf

I have not played this course and so cannot offer a personal description. The club describes its course as follows:

“The 18th hole championship style, Par 72 golf course offers many challenging features. The course is set on 200 acres of rough terrain, which weaves through a natural bird and wildlife haven. Water comes into play on 3 holes, with two greens nestling in the old whinstone quarries. Each hole offers an array of unique features. The course is always manicured to the highest standard. In its ten year history Drumoig has continued to strengthen in maturity and reputation.”

 
 

Northeast Hub

Duff House Royal Golf Course
In the Northeast
18 hole; par 68, 6161 yards
link to course website

 
Duff House Royal for Scotland Golf

I have not played this course and so cannot offer a personal description. The club describes its course as follows:

The original Duff House Golf Club was formally constituted on 1st March 1910 to a plan by the late James Braid. The brilliant Golf Architect Dr. Alistair Mackenzie (who later went on to design the World famous "Augusta National") redesigned the course in 1923.
The course is a flat, beautifully manicured parkland course with little rough. The large "Mackenzie" two-tiered greens, many well positioned bunkers and trees make the course a severe but fair challenge to golfers of all abilities.

The Course is bounded by the River Deveron, which proves to be a hazard for those who wander off the tee at the 7th, 16th and 17th holes. Practice ground, pitching area and putting green are available to visitors. The professional has a well-stocked shop and private tuition is available by appointment.
The clubhouse has a large comfortable bar and lounge area, offering commanding views over the first and eighteenth holes with the Hill of Doune and the River Deveron as a backdrop. Full catering facilities are available and visitors are most welcome.

 
 

Oban Hub
Southwest Hub

Dunaverty Golf Club
South of Oban near Campbletown
18 holes, par 71
link to course website


 
Dunaverty Golf Course, Scotland

This interesting course, played within sight of Ireland on clear days, offers you the opportunity to work on your short game in a links-style setting. Few holes require a driver off the tee but most demand accurate tee shots into appropriate landing areas and then good approaches to tricky greens.

While most of the course’ land is owned by the golf club, the six holes to the west of the burn are built on the land of a farmer who retains his right to graze his stock there when he needs to. Though he is a member of the club, he repeatedly turns down offers to sell it this land. He does advise the greenskeeper when he wants to turn out the stock near the holes so that small fences can be set up to protect the greens.
 

 

Ayr Hub

Dundonald Golf Course
In Ayrshire
18 holes, par 72, 7300 yards
link to course website

 
 

I have not played this course and so cannot offer a personal description. The club describes its course as follows:

"The newest addition to Loch Lomond Golf Club is Dundonald. Designed by Kyle Phillips, one of the game's top architects, it has been recognized as one of the best new courses in the world (Robb Report 2004). Situated by the sea near the legendary town of Troon, Dundonald's soil and climate conditions make the course suitable for year-round play."

 
 

Fife Hub

Dunfermline, Pitfirrane Golf Course
In the Kingdom of Fife
18 holes, par 67
link to course website

 
 

I have not played this course and so cannot offer a personal description. The club describes its course as follows:
The Dunfermline Golf Club was founded in 1887 and is much traveled. The present club is no less than the club's 4th home! Happily though, the days of wandering are over and the club has been settled here at Pitfirrane since 1953. This is no bad thing for the estate provides both a wonderfully historic clubhouse and a very fine golfing landscape.

The course architect was J. R. Stutt and he made an excellent job of it. Five par 5's and five par 3's is quite an unusual combination but it gives the course great variation in length from hole to hole and it must be said that the par 3's are all exquisite. A number of fine dog-legs also add interest. They mostly favor a fade and the 6th and 7th are lovely examples.

This mature and gently undulating parkland layout is indeed a fine test of golf and one of which the members can be justly proud.

 
 

Dornoch Hub

Durness Golf Club
Far northwest of Scottish mainland
9 holes, par 35
link to course website

 
Durness Golf Course, Scotland

This remarkable course offers links golf as it must have been played 150 years ago. It is the most northern course on the Scottish mainland and rambles over ancient, grass-covered hills and dunes onto which the sheep are turned for eight weeks every Spring. They keep the rough down, thus contributing to the wide-open feeling of the course, though they are also a real headache for the greens keeper!

Sited on the Faraid Head peninsula within a short boat ride of Cape Wrath, Durness has all the wild, beautiful and natural feeling of the remote north-western highlands. Great varieties of sea birds are evident everywhere. Golfers are cautioned not to disturb the anglers that might be fishing on Loch Lanlish near the #6 fairway.

Durness is quite unusual in many ways. For one, it offers different teeing areas for the first and second rounds. In some places, the differences are minor but in others, not only the distance but the angle toward the green changes, thus creating a completely different hole and giving you what amounts to an 18-hole experience. Durness is unusual in another way. For some reason, this is one of the few courses in the highlands that has not named its holes.

This is not an easy course. The winds are often a dominating consideration in how you play. The course record is only one under par 69! Yet it is a fun course to play, offering a number of different challenges and calling for judicious decision-making. It will test all your skills. If you mention Durness to any golfer in Scotland, whether they have played it or not, they will remark about the picturesque and demanding 9th/18th hole that requires you to hit your tee shot across the Atlantic Ocean, all carry. The first time around, the tee for this hole is only 108 from the green, but, for the “back nine,” you are asked to hit it 155 yards.

For all its unusual features and challenges, Durness is a must to play.
 
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