Gather your friends and head for the golf course over the coming weeks for some great value golf and even better times
By Christopher Doyle
With summer in full flow, there is no better time than right now to enjoy a brilliant trip away with your golfing society. Playing your local club is great, but why not put yourself in unfamiliar surroundings.
There are so many excellent golf courses in Scotland waiting to be put to the test. Here at Scottish Club Golfer, we have handpicked a list of some of our favourite courses that will suit everyone in your group one way or another.
Founded in 1891, Alloa Golf Club’s signature stretch of holes from 15 to 18 can really make or break your round with two long par-3s and a difficult par-4 and 5 to finish. Thankfully, the surroundings of the course are more pleasant with stunning views of Ochil Hills and Stirling in the distance.
The iconic Old Tom Morris originally designed Alyth Golf Club before James Braid expanded the course from nine to 18 holes. How good is it? Put it this way, In 2015, the club beat off some stiff competition to be named the ‘Best Course Under £50’ at The Scottish Golf Tourism Awards. So, if you want great value for money, put Alyth at the top of your list.
Cathcart Castle Golf Club is another James Braid gem, located in the south side of Glasgow. The parkland course is well known for its rapid changes in elevation that will require a tactical approach throughout your round. The third hole is one to remember, an inviting dogleg par-5 at the highest point on the course where you can see fine views of Loch Lomond.
Cowglen Golf Club, also on the south side of Glasgow, is known for its brilliantly well-kept and speedy greens that will require your very best short game on the day. On top of that, their practice facilities are straight out the top drawer and were granted Scottish Golf Development Centre status in 2013.
With fantastic views down the coast of East Lothian and across the Firth of Fife, look no further than Craigmillar Park Golf Club. The club are proud to host the first 72-hole Amateur Order of Merit every April - The Craigmillar Park Open - where previous winners include the likes of Sir Nick Faldo and Scotland’s Marc Warren.
If you don’t have time for a full 18 holes, Crichton Golf Club in Dumfries is the place to visit. The nine-hole course will still provide you with a fair test with its tight layout. Be careful you don’t stray left or right off the tee or you will for sure find yourself in some tree trouble.
Cullen Links Golf Club is a fabulous course located on the coast of Cullen Bay. A classic links, it enjoys tremendous sea views and is rightly regarded as one of the best places to play in the North East. After your round, spare some time to sample their locally distilled Scotch whisky that will go down a treat.
Drumoig, near St Andrews, enjoys a formidable reputation and deservedly so. The course is renowned for its tricky three-hole stretch at nine, ten and 11 that brings the water hazards to the fore. Likewise, the signature par-4, 18th hole will grab your attention, which has a beautiful backdrop of the club’s hotel.
Dumfries & Galloway Golf Club is situated in a delightful, picturesque setting on the edge of Dumfries with lovely views of the bustling town. Watch out for the difficult par-3 eighth, the start of the course’s own ‘Amen Corner’. The back to front sloping green protected by bunkers left and right means you should take a par and run to the next tee.
Dunbar Golf Club in East Lothian is just about everything you could ask for in a golf course. Its pedigree is second to none, as evidenced by the fact it was picked to host Local Qualifying for the Open Championship back in 2013. Interestingly, Dunbar also held the first PGA Championship on the European Tour before it moved to Wentworth where, nowadays, it is the tour’s flagship event.
Prestwick St Cuthbert Golf Club is held in high regard so it is no surprise it has been selected to host the Scottish Amateur Championships at the end of July. It is a truly challenging track with no fewer than nine doglegs with accuracy and position off the tee far more important than length.
Forfar Golf Club is both beautifully presented and carefully maintained against a backdrop of the Angus Glens that stays true to its natural heathland setting. It has received high praise from five-time Open Champion, Peter Thomson who said: “I have not played on better groomed fairways; the greens are especially pure.”
Gourock Golf Club boasts spectacular views over the River Clyde and the Argyllshire hills. None more so than the closing 18th hole where you can enjoy panoramic views from the elevated tee before taking out your driver and letting one rip.
If you are visiting the Cairngorm National Park, Grantown-on-Spey Golf Club is a must visit. Looking onto the Cairngorm Mountains, it is a peaceful yet charming setting to spend a day playing golf.
Arran is full of brilliant courses and Shiskine Golf Club is no exception. With an unusual 12 holes on offer, don’t let that put you off. Each hole is full of quality and its views can stretch as far as the Antrim Hills in Northern Ireland.
Why not take a trip up north to Aberdeen to experience the difficult test of Kintore Golf Club. Overlooking the scenic River Don, the recent changes to the course gives a unique feel to it allowing you to experience the contrast between the ‘old and new nines’.
Longniddry Golf Club is a regular inclusion in lists of Scotland’s top courses. Designed by Harry Colt, with no par-5s you would think it’s a short course. But its total of eight par-4s measuring over 400 yards ensures you are kept on your toes throughout the round.
Tom Watson played the brilliant Monifieth Golf Links in preparation for winning his first Open Championship, which says a lot about the quality of the course. Just 30 minutes from St. Andrews, it is the ideal option to extend your experience of links golf.
Dating back to 1774, Royal Musselburgh Golf Club oozes tradition, the sixth oldest golf club in the world. At the same time, the course embraces what the modern game has to offer. It has a 300-yard plus driving range, short game area and a six-hole short game course to fine-tune your game before heading to the first tee box.
If you are visiting Royal Birkdale for The Open next month, make sure you have enough time to fit in a round at the nearby Hesketh Golf Club. The holes surrounding the clubhouse are the core part of the course. The par-3 16th has even been described as the best short hole in Lancashire.
Down beside the Scottish border, you will find Bellingham Golf Club. Situated in the North Tyne Valley next to Hadrian’s Wall, the course utilises the abundance of natural features at its disposal. Measured over 6,000 yards, driving the ball well is vital in order for you to find some success round here.
Flanked by the River Gala, Torwoodlee Golf Club’s peaceful and scenic setting in the countryside is the main reason it is widely known as the best course in the Borders. Beware of the hills though; some shots will be blind and require your imagination to get to the greens.