With a legacy that dates back to the 15th century, Scotland’s passion for golf is almost as rich as its storied, medieval history. Although the first record of golf is connected to St. Andrews in cobblestoned Edinburgh, the entire country pays homage to its love of the game with courses, parks and prestigious clubs speckled across the lush, enchanting country. Whether you’re a novice putter or a scratch golfer, you’ll want to check out these four captivating courses with breathtaking backdrops.
Muirfield Golf Course
Located right outside the bustling city of Edinburgh, the world-famous Muirfield Golf Course is a favorite of many of the world’s greatest players. A quick hop, skip and taxi drive from the Edinburgh Castle and Royal Mile, this quiet country course sits adjacent to the scenic Gullane Beach and Bay that offers sweeping coastal views from many of the holes. Relax with a single-malt Scotch – over ice or neat, your call – in the historic clubhouse, which boasts 18th-century furnishings and a half-timbered main gable.
Royal Troon Championship Course
Drive around the southern end of the awe-inspiring Ayrshire coastline, and then drive the storied fairways of the Royal Troon Championship Golf Course. The course – designed by the same architects who constructed Augusta (home of the Masters) – is open to the public on weekends, where golfers will need to dust off their fairway woods to tackle the challenging 7,175-yard course. The course may be tough – with large mounds and ample sand traps – however, the views of the ever-changing sky and sparkling South Bay make your high score easier to swallow.
DID YOU KNOW? The Royal Troon Golf Club remains the first (and last) club in Great Britain to have been granted Royal status under the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
Tucked away in the small town of Auchterarder sits the five-star golf resort Gleneagles. The resort offers three 18-hole courses to choose from, ranging from the King’s Course to the PGA Centenary Course, which Jack Nicklaus, pro-golfer and the course’s designer, called, “the finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with.” Surrounded by the lush, rolling Ochil Hills and thick pine forests, you’ll quickly find yourself captivated by the landscape. After putting for birdie on 18, grab a pint in one of the hotel’s classic pubs, like the Century Bar or the Blue Bar, and or try your hand at the ancient art of falconry.
Old Course, St. Andrews
Sink your spikes into the birthplace of golf at the Old Course at St. Andrews, which has been welcoming the world’s best golfers for over 600 years. The game dates back to the 14th century, but it wasn’t until the Archbishop granted young men the “right to play golf” at St. Andrews in 1552 that the sport really took off. Visit the Road Hole, an infamous par 4 that will truly test your mettle, and try not to get caught in the Road Bunker sand trap. Your unforgettable round will have the beautiful backdrop of wide skies and tall grassy, seaside plains – the unforgettable, world-renowned landscape that reminds you where you are… in Scotland.