Scotland is, of course, the home of golf. With more than 550 courses it offers golfers more tee options than anywhere else. The country boasts some of the finest courses in the world including several that regularly host the top competitions. To help you take your pick of the best, we’ve chosen five golf holidays in Scotland with a championship course on their doorstep.
A golf holiday in St Andrews
Top of any list of golf holidays in Scotland has to be the recognised home of golf as it’s played now. St Andrew’s needs no introduction. Although a round on the Old Course is by ballot only, you can play on the Links New Course (actually built in 1895) and take a guided tour of the legendary 1st, 17th and 18th of the Old Course.
When you’re not on the course, St Andrews offers plenty to do. Take the miles of golden sands on this stretch of the eastern Scottish coastline for a start. Keep it natural at the Eden Estuary, it’s something of a haven for wild birds and seals. Don’t miss St Andrews Botanic Gardens, home to one of the best rhododendron collections in Scotland. They bring out their best blooms between May and early July.
And if you like events, a golf holiday in St Andrews gives you the chance to take in several great festivals. Visit the Highland Games in Ceres and St Andrews, the Pittenweem Arts Festival and of course, the celebrations centered around St Andrews Day at the end of November.
Did you know? Stroke play was invented at St Andrews, home also to the world’s first 18-hole course.
A golf holiday in Gleneagles
Another must-include on golf holidays in Scotland is the country’s famous PGA Centenary Course at the legendary Gleneagles. In the heart of beautiful Perthshire, this course hosted the 2014 Ryder Cup and is famed the world-over for the spectacular vistas from all 18 holes.
If you need something more than the stunning views, no worries – you’re at the heart of Scotland’s adventure activities. Take your pick from canyoning, fling bungee jumping, tank driving or a more sedate but just as exhilarating balloon ride. Walkers are in paradise on holiday at Gleneagles where there’s a long list of excellent hikes through woodlands and glens, up mountains and along rivers.
This golf holiday offers the chance to soak up the best of Scottish culture too. Several Highland Games gatherings take place over the summer near Gleneagles and you can enjoy the Solas Festival, a 3-day event celebrating music and poetry around the Summer Solstice. And for international legends on the music scene, don’t miss the Perth Festival of the Arts with a star-studded line-up in May.
Did you know? Scotland has the most golf courses per head of population in the world.
A golf holiday at Castle Stuart Golf Links
It might be one of the newest golf courses in Scotland, but Castle Stuart Golf Links has packed in the championships in less than a decade. Three-time host to the Scottish Open, this course boasts a spectacular location overlooking the Moray Firth and Black Isle.
When you’re not teeing off in full sight of some of Moray Firth’s best-known landmarks, this golf holiday in Scotland offers some of the country’s top attractions. The enigmatic Loch Ness lies just on the doorstep. Whether you’re Nessie spotting or not, this long brooding loch showcases some of the best scenery in the area. The nearby Culloden visitor centre gives a fascinating insight into the site of the last pitched battle in Britain when Jacobite troops fought (and lost) against British government forces in 1746.
Urquhart Castle also offers plenty of bloody history over its 500 years as a medieval fortress along with great views of Loch Ness. And for something a little more palatable, don’t miss the whisky distilleries in and around Inverness. Some of the world’s best-known labels hail from here such as Cardhu and The Macallan. All distilleries offer guided tours with the chance to taste Scotland’s ‘water of life’.
Did you know? The first games of golf were played in the Kingdom of Fife back in the 15th century.
A golf holiday at Royal Troon
For followers of world-class golf championships, Royal Troon rings lots of bells. The course, built in 1878, has hosted the Open a total of nine times, most recently in 2016. This Scottish golf course situated on the coast in Ayrshire offers one of the most demanding courses in the country with unusual golfing challenges at every hole – the 8th is known as the Postage Stamp since it’s just 123 yards long.
Once you’re off the course, Troon has plenty to do for all the family. Troon sands sweep around the bay, backed by a lovely promenade and with stunning views across to the Isle of Arran. Don’t miss the nearby Barassie Beach and Troon South Beach, both with lots of sand castle building opportunities and glorious views.
Castle fans are in for a treat at Troon where several lie within easy reach – Dundonald, Caprington and Sundru are among the most famous. And if you’re looking for a taste of true Scottish culture, Troon ticks all the boxes. Scotland’s best-loved poet Robert Burns was born nearby and you can pay homage to the author of Aude Lang Syne and Address to a Haggis at several locations. One of the best is the Robert Burn’s Birthplace Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of the writer’s works.
Did you know? In 1783, Scotland introduced the rule allowing a maximum of five minutes to look for a lost ball.
A golf holiday at Royal Aberdeen
For the last but not least on our list of best golf holidays in Scotland we go northeast to the Royal Aberdeen golf course founded back in 1780. No stranger to hosting major championships (the most recent biggie was the Scottish Open in 2014), this golf course offers sea views at almost every turn as well as some challenging holes.
When you’ve put down your clubs, you’ll want to get out and about to explore Aberdeenshire, described by National Geographic as “one of the last great places on earth”. This is a land of open skies where the sun barely sets in summer and the Northern Lights sparkle in winter. Outdoor enthusiasts are in paradise with lots of walking opportunities – bag some Munros in the Cairngorms, stride the 41-mile Deeside Way or walk the beaches along the long, long sandy coastline.
This golf holiday also comes with some real foodie treats since Aberdeenshire is home to some of Scotland’s tastiest fare. Carnivores won’t want to miss prime Aberdeen Angus steak and fish lovers are spoilt for choice with freshwater salmon and trout, seafood and ‘silver darlings’, the local expression for herrings, all on the menu. Finish with some of the famed Dean’s traditional shortbread, washed down with a wee dram at one of the world famed distilleries at nearby Moray.
Did you know? Scotland, specifically Gleneagles, hosted the first match between professional golfers from Great Britain and the United States in 1921.
The perfect place to stay on golf holidays in Scotland
The best golf holidays come with perfect places to stay. Play on a championship course, discover the best local attractions and stay at the best Scotland has to offer. Take a look at our accommodation listings to find the perfect base for your golfing break. https://www.scottscastles.com/
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