Top Links of Scotland

Top Links Golf in Scotland

In the excellent book, True Links by esteemed authors George Peper and Malcolm Campbell, the writers claim that of the 30,000+ golf courses in the world there are only 246 true links.

Golf Empire founder, Ed Battye, has played the majority* of these links courses in Scotland and below he lists them in order of his personal preference. Many of the courses also have a golf course review.

You can see the equivalent for England and Wales plus now you can see our Top 100 Links Golf Courses of Great Britain.

St. Andrews (Old Course)

St. Andrews Links (Old) Golf Club

"There’s very little that hasn’t been written about the golfing mecca that is St. Andrews. Golfers (and indeed non-golfers) flock to this corner of Fife from all over the World to savour the delights of the ‘Grey Auld Toun’ and for most it is mainly to play, or at least see and walk, The Old Course; the spiritual home of golf and where it all began for our beloved game."

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Askernish

Askernish Golf Club

"We’d already driven for over six hours and covered more than 350 miles before boarding a ferry in Oban sailing to Lochboisdale. The Lord of the Isles took a further five and a half hours before it eventually docked a little after seven that evening. We were tired and hungry, in need of food and sleep."

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Royal Dornoch (Championship)

Royal Dornoch Golf Club

"It’s Christmas Eve. Well, not quite, but it certainly feels like it. It’s the evening before we are due to play Royal Dornoch for the first time. We are in an eatery in the historic town debating just how good tomorrow could be as we embark on playing unquestionably one of the World’s greatest golf courses."

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Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)

Trump Turnberry Golf Club

"Not all golf courses are created equal and that can certainly be said about Trump Turnberry. For here you will find the most spectacular stretch of coastline on any golfing land that I have ever seen. The natural setting and scenic beauty of the iconic Ailsa course, an Open Championship venue four times over, is simply sublime."

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North Berwick

North Berwick Golf Club

"If Muirfield is regarded as the King of East Lothian then North Berwick is undoubtedly Queen. Sometimes words cannot accurately describe a course and do it total justice, you just have to go and experience it for yourself in order to get a proper flavour of the place. The West Links at North Berwick is one of those."

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Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie)

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club

"Oh my word! The Balgownie Links at Royal Aberdeen is something else. It’s different gravy - an unbelievably good golf course. Not only is it the best in Aberdeenshire it’s one of the best you will play. Period. It is the epitome of an authentic, genuine and pure links golf experience."

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Kingsbarns

Kingsbarns Golf Links

"The Kingdom of Fife has long been associated with world-class links golf. The region is the spiritual home of the game and Kingsbarns fits seamlessly into the modern day environment. Located just seven miles down the coast from St. Andrews it is in a prime location and the layered landscape that the holes are played over simply add to the visual feast on offer at this sensational layout."

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Cruden Bay (Championship)

Cruden Bay Golf Club

"Cruden Bay is a golf course that dances to its own beat. It’s gripping, riveting, absorbing and most importantly its individuality shines through. Cruden Bay is one of very few courses that has a real personality. It’s laid out over a unique, special and infinitely fascinating piece of land."

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Muirfield

Muirfield Golf Club

"Muirfield is one of the most historically important golfing venues in the world. Not only has it staged The Open Championship on 15 occasions but it is also home to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. The HCEG is one of the oldest and most influential clubs in golf."

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Western Gailes

Western Gailes Golf Club

"Western Gailes is a thing of true beauty. Something extra special. Near perfection at times. It’s a classy links course that only a fusion of nature and time is able to create and where man merely offers a guiding hand. This is close to being as good as it gets at times."

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Royal Troon (Old)

Royal Troon Golf Club

"Playing Royal Troon less than a fortnight after Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson had produced what is arguably the greatest golfing duel in history, and certainly the best final day of an Open Championship, was a special occasion. With the spectator grandstands still in place I really got a feel for the course that I’d witnessed on television just days previously."

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Carnoustie (Championship)

Carnoustie Golf Club

"I recently took advantage of the 3-round ticket that the Carnoustie Golf Links offers. For the sum of £200 this entitled me to one round on each of the three courses. The focal point of the trip was of course the main championship course, a notoriously testing links that has hosted The Open Championship on seven occasions."

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Prestwick

Prestwick Golf Club

"Prestwick has been on my hit list of golf courses to play for quite some time and I’m ashamed to say it has taken me far too long to visit this iconic links. From everything I’d read and heard I was expecting it to be ‘my type’ of golf. After several visits to Ayrshire without visiting this much-lauded venue I finally made it to the birthplace of The Open Championship."

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Trump International

Trump International Golf Links

"The first thing to state is that Trump International Golf Links is undoubtedly an exceptionally good golf course. The second thing to say from the off is that it’s categorically not the “World's Greatest Golf Course” as the owner makes out and their website brashly proclaims."

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Machrihanish

Machrihanish Golf Club

"Playing at The Machrihanish Golf Club is perhaps not as romantic a prospect as it was several years ago. None-the-less it’s a fabulous golfing experience. Located close to the bottom tip of the Kintyre Peninsula near Campbeltown its remoteness, and therefore its magical appeal, is not as obvious as it perhaps was decades ago."

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Brora

Brora Golf Club

"Over breakfast at the guest house in Dornoch where we were staying conversation is struck up with a fellow guest; an American from Chicago and a member at Royal Dornoch. When informed that we were heading to Brora for the day he says, “It’s a very special place, the course simply builds and builds and the back nine is truly outstanding.”"

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Moray (Old)

Moray Golf Club

"The members of Moray Golf Club, founded in 1889, must rightly be very proud of their two fine links courses laid out on some fabulous tight and sandy golfing terrain to the south of the Moray Firth. The Old is an unheralded classic links designed by Old Tom Morris with deep revetted bunkers, undulating gorse lined fairways and some excellent green complexes."

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Nairn

Nairn Golf Club

"Expectations were high as we arrived on the first tee at The Nairn Golf Club, a stalwart of golf in the Highlands and a darling of all the Top 100 Great Britain & Ireland course rankings. The love for Nairn, a traditional championship links founded in 1887, quickly becomes apparent as the opening seven holes flow gracefully along the southern edge of the Moray Firth."

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Panmure

Panmure Golf Club

"Panmure is a classy and historic golf club with a wonderful natural links course located near Carnoustie, Angus, in the East of Scotland. It is the sixteenth oldest golf club in the world dating back to 1845 and is one of the 26 clubs that originally helped purchase the Amateur Championship trophy first played for in 1885."

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Southerness

Southerness Golf Club

"Except for the undeniable beauty of the 12th hole there’s nothing truly outstanding at Southerness. Please note that this isn’t meant with negative connotations though because everything about this true links course is of a consistently high standard and is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s sleeping gems."

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Elie (Golf House Club)

Elie (Golf House) Golf Club

"There is something about Elie that puts you under a spell. It is a truly magical links that, after just one round, has won a place in my heart and mind forever. If ever the phrase ‘less is more’ applied to a course it would be here at The Golf House Club, Elie in Fife. The harmony between golf and nature is at its beautiful best here and a joy to experience."

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Machrihanish Dunes

Machrihanish Dunes Golf Club

"Located within touching distance of the Atlantic Ocean on the Kintyre Peninsula Machrihanish Dunes is the first true links course to open on Scotland’s west coast in over one hundred years. And if this is anything to go by let’s hope it isn’t another century before we get the next one."

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The Renaissance Club

Renaissance Golf Club

"I probably lack the savoir faire that The Renaissance Club expects from a golfer but regardless of this I recently seized an opportunity to peg it up behind the closed gates and allowed myself to be indulged for a day. Renaissance is geared towards a niche clientele, one that moves in entirely different circles to me."

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Gullane (No.1)

Gullane Golf Club

"No less than three courses, ranked by number reflecting their age, constitute Gullane Golf Club. It is here you will find an expansive oasis of links golf located in the small East Lothian town that the club is named after. The town itself is a perfect base for golfing in East Lothian with over 20 quality golf courses within easy reach."

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Murcar

Murcar Links Golf Club

"Murcar is a championships links in the very finest Scottish tradition. It was originally established in 1909 by neighbouring Royal Aberdeen professional, Archie Simpson, and later refined by James Braid some twenty years later with only minor alterations since."

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Luffness New

Luffness New Golf Club

"Luffness New serves up an uncomplicated yet delicious feast of pure and traditional links golf laid out naturally across unbelievably firm and fast turf, some of the best I’ve golfed on. Thanks to the gentle, but not insignificant undulations, I could play here for eternity."

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St. Andrews (New)

St. Andrews Links (Old) Golf Club

"There’s very little that hasn’t been written about the golfing mecca that is St. Andrews. Golfers (and indeed non-golfers) flock to this corner of Fife from all over the World to savour the delights of the ‘Grey Auld Toun’ and for most it is mainly to play, or at least see and walk, The Old Course; the spiritual home of golf and where it all began for our beloved game."

Read the full review

Dundonald Links

Dundonald Links Golf Club

"In an area steeped in history and tradition Dundonald Links has, in the space of just over ten years, commanded the respect of golfers who flock to this part of Scotland to tackle Open Championship venues and other prestigious links courses."

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Montrose (Medal)

Montrose Golf Links Golf Club

"Montrose, recognised as the fifth oldest course in the world, epitomises everything that is great and superior about links golf. It’s a golf course that has every ingredient required to create a classic true links experience."

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St. Andrews (Jubilee)

St. Andrews Links (Old) Golf Club

"There’s very little that hasn’t been written about the golfing mecca that is St. Andrews. Golfers (and indeed non-golfers) flock to this corner of Fife from all over the World to savour the delights of the ‘Grey Auld Toun’ and for most it is mainly to play, or at least see and walk, The Old Course; the spiritual home of golf and where it all began for our beloved game."

Read the full review

Fraserburgh

Fraserburgh Golf Club

"Fraserburgh Golf Club, the seventh oldest in the World, delivers no frills, classic links golf on a very impressive scale. Those planning a trip to North-East Scotland may rightly include Trump International, Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay and Murcar Links on their itinerary. However, without a visit to Fraserburgh their repertoire of quality links golf will not be complete."

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Carnoustie (Burnside)

Carnoustie Golf Club

"I recently took advantage of the 3-round ticket that the Carnoustie Golf Links offers. For the sum of £200 this entitled me to one round on each of the three courses. The focal point of the trip was of course the main championship course, a notoriously testing links that has hosted The Open Championship on seven occasions."

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Gailes Links

Gailes Links Golf Club

"The Gailes Links at Irvine belongs to Glasgow Golf Club, a club steeped in history and the 9th oldest in the world. Golf has been played over this fine links since 1892 and until 2016 it is the only Scottish final qualifying course for The Open."

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Gullane (No.2)

Gullane Golf Club

"No less than three courses, ranked by number reflecting their age, constitute Gullane Golf Club. It is here you will find an expansive oasis of links golf located in the small East Lothian town that the club is named after. The town itself is a perfect base for golfing in East Lothian with over 20 quality golf courses within easy reach."

Read the full review

Prestwick St. Nicholas

Dunbar

Fortrose & Rosemarkie

Leven Links

Lundin

Irvine

Kilmarnock (Barrasie)

West Kilbride

Monifieth (Medal)

Arbroath

St. Andrews (Eden)

Trump Turnberry (Kintyre)

Moray (New)

Tain

Peterhead

Cruden Bay (St. Olaf)

Crail (Balcomie)

Inverallochy

Newburgh-on-Ythan

Kilspindie

Craigielaw

Gullane (No. 3)

Shiskine

Troon Darley

Wigtownshire County

Royal Troon (Portland)

Nairn Dunbar

Hopeman

Kings Links

Monifieth (Ashludie)

Isle of Harris

Traigh

Troon Lochgreen

Carnosutie (Buddon)

St. Andrews (Strathtyrum)

Royal Dornoch (Struie)

Cullen

Musselburgh Old

Balnagask

Montrose (Broomfield)

Isle of Skye

Winterfield

St. Andrews (Balgove

 

*The following golf courses have not been played and therefore there is no review for them at present:

Castle Stuart, Colonsay, Dunaverty, Durness, The Machrie, Reay, Strathlene Buckie, Skibo Castle & Tarbat.


We would love to hear if you agree or disagree with our selections. You can do so in the comments box below or tweet us.


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