Searching for any green fee under £50 anywhere is difficult nowadays, except Scotland. Home to golf and 597 golf courses Scotland is fortunate to have always kept to the belief that golf is for anybody, of any class which is reflected in the affordability of golf across the country. Ru and Graylyn discuss the best golf experiences in Scotland which naturally takes them to all corners of the country. The regions are broken down here together with the courses mentioned clearly indicating that great golf in Scotland has reached everyone and everywhere. It’s a cultural thing..
Machrihanish Golf Club (£45*)
On the far west coast of Scotland is the Kintyre Peninsula home to Machrihanish, where the sky is big, the sunsets are dramatic and the air has warmed by the Gulf Stream. This area is relatively inaccessible making it far less commercialised providing an authentic golf experience. The golf course influenced by a man who some might of heard of, Old Tom Morris which like many of his designs has blind shots, the requirement of creative golf and the over arching feeling of fun links golf. A must play, even just for the plane ride.
Coastline of the Kintyre Peninsula West of Scotland
Southerness Golf Club (£50)
Definitely a golf course not known to many, perched on the sea border with England this links golf course in the south offers a fine test of links golf. A championship venue, host to many national events, Southerness with it’s gorse and heathland fairway boundaries and firm links terrain is the ideal stop for golfers making the trip north from England. Consider Southerness as your first point of call to Scotland and it certainly will not disappoint.
Gullane #2 & #3 (£48/£31)
With golf history dating back over 350 years and with three courses on site Gullane is a hot spot for vsiting golfers. The popular option of the #1 Course which will form the majority of the composite layout combined with the #2 Course for the 2015 Scottish Open are supported by the #3 Course, known for having the best greens of the three courses. The region of East Lothian is littered with many other great courses under £50 with some arguing it could be the best all round golf destination in Scotland.
An example of this is the Glen Golf Club (£49) neighbour of the frequently visited North Berwick West links offering stunning views of the Bass Rock.
The Glen Golf Club
Askernish Golf Club (£35 Day Ticket)
Lost and found. Scotland’s equivalent of the Australian Outback or the Amazon, isolated on South Uist, part of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides on the far and remote west. The next stop left of the picture below the United States of America and to the right the most authentic links experience as any in Scotland. Just 12 holes then, legend has it that Tom Morris visited in 1891 (imagine the logistical challenges then) to simply provide instruction on teeing areas and green sites for construction. Through neglect the golf course vanished, only to be rediscovered in the early twenty-first century and reopened in 2008.
‘Beautiful raw, golf distilled to it’s origins. A golfing nirvana.’
Askernish Golf Club (Image courtesy of Jamie Gibson Photography)
Brora Golf Club (£49)
Only 30 minutes from Royal Dornoch, Brora is another authentic golf experience. Dodge the electric fencing which protect the putting surfaces from grazing sheep and cattle of this 18 hole James Braid layout. Visiting Dornoch is going to involve a long drive so what is an extra half an hour in the grand scheme of things. Visit Scotland’s time machine Brora and feel the aura of the links.
Fraserburgh Golf Club (£45)
James Braid left his mark at this little known golf club which is the 7th Oldest in the World formed in 1777. More will be discussed about this amazing links but listen back to Scotland’s Hidden Gems Episode 22 as Ian Andrew and Robert Thompson rave about the course.
Stonehaven Golf Club (£32)
Set up on cliffs south of Aberdeen, the short 18 hole golf course is not one of the Championship golf courses here in Scotland but co-host Graylyn reminisces about how he came close to playing with a member. Ru Macdonald describes it as a ‘poor man’s Old Head’ and perfect for spouses who are novice golfers. Stonehaven is also home to Scotland’s eighth wonder of the world Dunnottar Castle which over the years has been home to William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots and the movie Hamlet staring Mel Gibson. Easily accessible leaving Aberdeen heading south to St Andrews, a stop at Stonehaven is worth it it for this stunning Scottish castle if not the quirky golf.
Dunnotar Castle, Stonehaven
Blairgowrie Rosemount (£45*)
A James Braid and Alister Mackenzie influenced parkland course home to the Junior Ryder Cup this year. Based in Perthshire in the heart of Scotland this is not Scottish golf as you would expect to see it or play it. That aside for the architecture alone it is worth a visit.
Crail Balcomie Golfing Society (£40*)
Great golf near St Andrews can be affordable too. International voices of visiting golfers are often heard on the popular links golf courses but to ensure you meet some locals visit Crail. A fun, shorter links layout with great views throughout.
Kingarrock Hickory Golf (£25)
Visiting The Home of Golf on a pilgrimage to the origins of golf should send more to Kingarrock, the home of hickory golf. Kingarrock will re-establish the thrill of the game 100 years ago with hickory shafts and softer golf balls. The more gentle sport will be rekindled in the most beautiful of Scottish settings. As the world’s best golf courses become obsolete in the modern era this all-round golf experience should be an afternoon trip more golf travellers should make. Call it an education in golf.
* denotes green fees during off season
Budget should not stop you from experiencing Scotland and the wonderful golf that is on offer. The above and attached podcast episode clearly illustrates that golf can be played over incredible golf courses for relatively small cost. If not now, then when?
For more Scotland golf travel information subscribe to the podcast.
You can read excellent Scottish golf course reviews including some of the above mentioned written by our co host Graylyn Loomis on his fantastic new website.