3 Famous Golf Courses In Scotland For Everyone’s Bucket List
There’s much to love about Scotland. From its delicious, world renowned whiskies to its breathtaking, rolling green hills. But the best part of all is that, as the home of golf, there’s definitely no shortage of famous golf courses in Scotland for you to dabble.
Whether you enjoy a quick round to pass time until to the local distillery opens, or you’re on a mission to hone your pro-skills as a you jet set your way around the world, Scotland’s golf courses are a must for any bucket list.
But what are the must do courses that should be on every golfer’s itinerary?
Below is a guide to the top 3 and arguably most famous courses that will have you grabbing your favourite set of clubs in no time.
1. Old Course at St Andrews
As one of the oldest golf courses in the world, St Andrews would also have to be up there as the most famous.
Considered the ‘home of golf’, St Andrew’s history dates back well into the 15th century. A testament to its age is perhaps the most iconic feature of this course, the Swilken Bridge. Dating back some 700 years, this bridge plays the important role of spaning the first and 18th holes. Everyone who plays the 18th hole crosses this world renowned icon.
The 17th hole, the ‘Road Hole’, is also a unique feature considered the most famous golf hole in the world. This par-4 will challenge you in ways you had not thought possible, with an abundance of hazards including a tarmac roadway and an old stone wall over the back of the green.
If your skills are up to scratch, famous events held here include the The British Open which is played at St Andrews approximately every 5 years and attracts a prize of close to 1 million pounds.
Closed on Sundays to allow the course to rest, the Old Course offers a unique opportunity to feel first-hand the evolution of this great sport.
2. Carnoustie Golf Links
Also a famous venue in the British Championship rotation, Canoustie Golf Links dates right back to the 16th century.
Originally a course of 10 holes, Allan Robertson and Old Tom Morris are credited with its design officially opening it up proper in 1842. The opening of the Coastal Railway just 4 years prior opened up access to the ancient links to keen golfers from as far as Edinbrough. This quickly saw the course extended again by Old Tom Morris in 1867 to the 18 holes which had by then become the standard.
As one of the toughest courses in the world, this infamous course often attracts the unfortunate nickname of “Car-Nasty” due to its high level of difficulty and challenging winds and weather. Its unpredictable weather also led to the coining of the Psychological phrase “The Carnoustie Effect” referring to “that degree of mental and psychic shock experienced on collision with reality by those whose expectations are founded on false assumptions”.
This was certainly the effect experienced first-hand by a young 19-year-old Sergio García of Spain, who scored an 89 and 83 in the first two rounds of the 1999 open, literally sending him in tears into his mothers arms!
So if you consider yourself a professional and are looking for a green on which to cement such a title, this could well be the course for you.
3. Kingsbarns Golf Links
Ranked number 8 in the top 100 golf courses in the world (outside of the United States) by ‘Golf Monthly’, this par 72, 18 hole course is situated on the Fife coast not far from St Andrews.
However, it hasn’t always been the course it is now. Originally founded in 1973, the Kingsbarn Golfing Society called the links home until 1850. At this point, farming land was deemed more valuable than land kept for golf, and so was ploughed up by the Cambo Estate tenant farmer.
As a result, the only course in 70 years to be built on famous links land, Kingsbarn Golf Links is now situated on a 1.8 mile stretch of picturesque coastline embracing the North Sea.
This means that every hole comes with the added, but possibly welcome, distraction of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
With the rich history Scotland’s famous golfing scene brings to the mix, you’re sure to find a course from above that wets the appetite.
For those seeking the quirky, quaint and almost spiritual connection the ‘home of golf’ offers, St Andrews is not one to miss. If it’s a psychological challenge to try your true golfing prowess that you’re after then undoubtedly Carnoustie won’t disappoint. Or if you’re looking for a more contemporary option with undoubtedly the most picturesque scenery in the world then paying Kingsbarn a visit may be by far your best option.
But really the best option of all would be taking in all three. With a few mere miles between these greats, any golfer worth their salt will agree that these are certainly the 3 famous golf courses in Scotland for everyone’s bucket list.