The Absolute Best Golf Courses to Play on Your Next Trip to Scotland

A gorgeously photographed new book tees off on the best links in the greatest golf nation on the planet.

Iain Lowe Photography

Scotland, Home of Golf is a collaboration between me, my son Chris, and golf historian / illustrator David Joy. In the book, we set out to showcase the very best 14 championship links courses in Scotland – embracing the most historical, the oldest, the newest, even the most difficult. Our presentation had to match the quality of the subjects. 

Hence, endless course visits to ensure the highest possible quality photography from the ground and using drones in order to create a visual feast that presents the architecture and drama as well as the beauty of the location. Hand-drawn illustrations of noted players, legends of the game and the stories that surround them add to the lore of the featured links courses.

Many thousands of golfers have had their plans to visit Scotland delayed, while more still have vivid memories of previous visits. The intent of the book is to bring a small part of Scotland to all of them until they can return. 

The Old Course St Andrews 

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An absolute must on any itinerary. It is the pinnacle of golf history (six centuries of it), the scene of victories for the greatest names in golf… Morris, Braid, Jones, Player, Nicklaus, Watson, Woods and many more. The course is a uniquely laid-out routing, shaped by nature not man.

Carnoustie

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One hour north of St Andrews is Carnoustie, arguably the toughest and maybe best golf design in Scotland. This is the real deal where you definitely need your “A” game. A detailed examination awaits visitors and members alike. The bunkering is both visually and physically challenging, their sod walls sit above ground-level, intimidating, menacing and daring you to take them on. The routing continually changes direction, leaving little opportunity to become comfortable with the impact of the ever-present wind.

Turnberry

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Although the original layout for Turnberry dates back to 1883, it was not until 1977 that it hosted the first of its four Open Championships. Tom Watson was triumphant over Jack Nicklaus in what became known as the “Duel in the Sun.” In 2014, the course underwent an extensive re-modeling with new tees and greens placed much closer to the beach and rugged clifftop.

Kingsbarns Golf Links

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Although a mere youngster in these parts, Kingsbarns Golf Links has in just 20 years experienced a meteoric rise into the World’s Top Fifty courses. It totally captures the spirit of links golf with the dramatic North Sea frequently part of the playing strategy. With various tees or greens (sometimes both) sitting right on the water’s edge, it can be difficult to avoid the distraction of the surrounding beauty and drama.

Royal Dornoch

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Royal Dornoch, the most northerly course in our book, has embraced golf since the early 17th century. King Edward VII, a frequent visitor and player of this links course, granted it a Royal Charter in 1906. This is a course that had little international recognition until in 1964 American golf writer Herbert Warren Wind wrote an article for the New Yorker that extolled the importance of this northerly links course for golfers. Royal Dornoch is ranked as one of the top 10 courses in the world.

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Scotland, Home of Golf is available to purchase for $45.00 through Amazon.

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