Golf in Scotland dates back to the 15th century and today the country boasts some of the world’s finest courses.
With a total of 587 courses Scotland has more places to play golf per head of capita than any other country on on the plant, so there’s no lack of choice for people looking to play a round.
But not all courses are created equal, with location, layout, course architect, length and numerous other variables combining to make every 18-hole journey a unique adventure.
And the best courses are a destination in their own right – in 2019, pre-pandemic, 47 per cent of overnight visitors to Scotland from overseas played golf.
Golf tourism is worth £286million each year to the country’s economy and is expected to continue to grow exponentially in the future.
Most visitors to the ‘Home of Golf’ will have bucket list of places they are keen to play, with a number of key courses likely to play a part in their sporting pilgrimage.
Here are some of the most prestigious – the 10 best golf courses in Scotland, as rated by global golf site www.top100golfcourses.com.
1. Trump Turnberry
Its owner may be divisive but there's not doubting the quality of the Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry. Named after Ailsa Craig, the small island off the stunning Ayrshire coast where the course is located, it's one of the most picturesque settings for golf in Scotland. As well as being number one in Scotland, it's ranked second in the United Kingdom and eighth in the world. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
2. St Andrews
Arguably the most famous golf course in the world, golf has been played on the site of St Andrews Old Course since at least 1552. Today, it remains a stern challenge for both amateurs and professionals - it will host its 30th Open Championship in 2022. It's ranked second in Scotland, third in the United Kingdom and ninth in the world. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
3. Royal Dornoch
Ranked third in Scotland, and 12th worldwide, the Championship Course at Royal Dornoch is a Highland links course on the north shore of the Dornoch Firth. Overlooking pure white sandy beaches, it's a golfing experience unlikely to be forgotten. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
Home to to one of the oldest clubs in golf, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers who can trace their history back to 1744, Muirfield is ranked fourth in Scotland and 14th globally. The East Lothian course has been host to 11 Amateur Championships and 16 Open Championships. Photo: Canva/Getty Images