Even though the origins of the game are unclear, most historians accept that modern-day golf originated in Scotland during the middle ages.
Various early versions of golf existed throughout Europe, where the objective was to put a ball inside a hole a few hundred yards away with the least number of strokes. In Scotland, the game was first played on linksland, a specific kind of coastal land with a wind-sculpted terrain, near present-day Edinburgh. The first documentation of golf in Scotland was in 1457 when King James II banned the sport because it was leading to a neglect of military practices. However, people mostly ignored the ban.
Golf gained the royal popularity when King James IV of Scotland became the first monarch to play golf. In the modern world, everyone who has even yielded a golf club has a wish to visit the Scottish golf courses. Scotland is not only famous for its golf courses located at spectacular locations, but also for the taste of Scottish hospitality at the clubhouses, also known as the 19th hole.
When golfers from all over the world consider a visit to Scottish golf courses, the immediate names that come to mind are the historic layouts of St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Dornoch, and Muirfield. Then on the list would be Troon, Prestwick, Turnberry, Kingsbarn, and Castle Stuart, not necessarily in that order. Scotland has over 600 golf courses, packed into a small country.
When someone is making a trip of a lifetime across the Atlantic, it is natural to wish to tick the iconic golfing destinations off your list. But if you are looking for an alternative golf tour experience at a much more serene and quieter location, there are many hidden gems with stunning views and unsurpassable quality. Many companies provide tailor-made luxury golf tours of Scotland. These Scotland golf packages are made to satisfy every golfer’s requirements and their budget. So next time you are planning a golfing tour to the land where the game was born, look out for these names.
Nairn Golf Course
Nairn is a small town situated on the edge of Moray Firth, 16 miles away from Inverness. Nairn is home to a championship links course which hosted the Walker Cup in 1999 and is one of the finest courses located in the highlands. The course has an interesting variety, with stunning views of the water throughout the course. It is a must-play for anyone planning to visit Dornoch or Castle Stuart.
The Balcomie Links at Crail Golf Club
Many visitors notice Crail along the coastline when they are at the 12th tee at Kingsbarns Links. But sadly most of them do not think of coming over to the 7th oldest golf club of the world. Crail golfing society has two spectacular courses. Balcomie Links is the older of the two and can boast of stunning vistas of the Firth of Forth.
The 12 hole course at Shiskine located on the Isle of Arran will make you want to forget everything about conventional golf. You will be blown away by the beautiful scenery around you as much as the design of the course. Tucked away in a small coastal village of Blackwater foot, the course overlooks the Mull of Kintyre. It was designed by Willie Fernie who is well known for designing Royal Troon and Turnberry. The layout climbs over Durmadoon point to the top of the cliff and then slopes down along the coastline.
Brora Golf Club
Brora is a classic links course that might be a little out of the way but is worth it as a phenomenal course. It is located a bit far north, about 16 miles from Dornoch. The small village of Brora is a wonderful experience in itself. The course is said to be one of James Braid’s finest and has been preserved in its original condition which gives you a sense of stepping back into time when the game was just invented.
Glen Golf Course, North Berwick
The county of East Lothian is one of the most famous golfing destinations in the world. Therefore it is quite surprising that there are still a few hidden gems along this glorious golfing coastline. Glen is a perfect example of an extraordinary course existing in the shadows of a famous one. The reference is meant for the North Berwick golf course. Glen might not be a very long course, but it certainly makes up for that with exhilarating views of the Bass Rock with Firth of Forth in the backdrop.
Boat of Garten
The course is dubbed as the Gleneagles of the north. With a backdrop of the Cairngorms mountains, Boat of Garten is situated right in Scotland’s most popular winter sports destination. A series of holes spread across a gorgeous undulating terrain with the mountains in the background might just give you the sense of playing in paradise.
Just a Few of the Hidden Gem of Scotland Golf Courses
Although these are only a few of the hidden gems amongst Scotland’s golf courses, they deserve to be included in your itinerary as much as the well-known ones. Each of these golf courses is beautifully located, challenging, and is worthy of ranking amongst the best golf courses in the world that offer a true taste of golf.