Top Links of Scotland

Top Links Golf in Scotland

In the excellent book, True Links by esteemed authors George Peper and Malcolm Campbell, the writers claim that of the 30,000+ golf courses in the world there are only 246 true links.

Golf Empire founder, Ed Battye, has played the majority* of these links courses in Scotland and below he lists them in order of his personal preference. Many of the courses also have a golf course review.

You can see the equivalent for England and Wales plus now you can see our Top 100 Links Golf Courses of Great Britain.

St. Andrews (Old Course) - 5.0

St. Andrews Links (Old) Golf Club

"There’s very little that hasn’t been written about the golfing mecca that is St. Andrews. Golfers (and indeed non-golfers) flock to this corner of Fife from all over the World to savour the delights of the ‘Grey Auld Toun’ and for most it is mainly to play, or at least see and walk, The Old Course; the spiritual home of golf and where it all began for our beloved game."

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Askernish - 4.9

Askernish Golf Club

"We’d already driven for over six hours and covered more than 350 miles before boarding a ferry in Oban sailing to Lochboisdale. The Lord of the Isles took a further five and a half hours before it eventually docked a little after seven that evening. We were tired and hungry, in need of food and sleep."

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North Berwick - 4.9

North Berwick Golf Club

"If Muirfield is regarded as the King of East Lothian then North Berwick is undoubtedly Queen. Sometimes words cannot accurately describe a course and do it total justice, you just have to go and experience it for yourself in order to get a proper flavour of the place. The West Links at North Berwick is one of those."

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Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie) - 4.9

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club

"Oh my word! The Balgownie Links at Royal Aberdeen is something else. It’s different gravy - an unbelievably good golf course. Not only is it the best in Aberdeenshire it’s one of the best you will play. Period."

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Cruden Bay (Championship) - 4.8

Cruden Bay Golf Club

"Cruden Bay is a golf course that dances to its own beat. It’s gripping, riveting, absorbing and most importantly its individuality shines through. Cruden Bay is one of very few courses that has a real personality."

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Muirfield - 4.7

Muirfield Golf Club

"Muirfield is one of the most historically important golfing venues in the world. Not only has it staged The Open Championship on 15 occasions but it is also home to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers."

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Western Gailes - 4.7

Western Gailes Golf Club

"Western Gailes is a thing of true beauty. Something extra special. Near perfection at times. It’s a classy links course that only a fusion of nature and time is able to create and where man merely offers a guiding hand. This is close to being as good as it gets at times."

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Royal Troon (Old) - 4.7

Royal Troon Golf Club

"Playing Royal Troon less than a fortnight after Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson had produced what is arguably the greatest golfing duel in history, and certainly the best final day of an Open Championship, was a special occasion."

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Carnoustie (Championship) - 4.7

Carnoustie Golf Club

"I recently took advantage of the 3-round ticket that the Carnoustie Golf Links offers. For the sum of £200 this entitled me to one round on each of the three courses (Championship, Burnside & Buddon)."

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Prestwick - 4.6

Prestwick Golf Club

"Prestwick has been on my hit list of golf courses to play for quite some time and I’m ashamed to say it has taken me far too long to visit this iconic links. From everything I’d read and heard I was expecting it to be ‘my type’ of golf."

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Trump International - 4.6

Trump International Golf Links

"The first thing to state is that Trump International Golf Links is undoubtedly an exceptionally good golf course. The second thing to say from the off is that it’s categorically not the “World's Greatest Golf Course” as the owner makes out and their website brashly proclaims."

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Machrihanish - 4.5

Machrihanish Golf Club

"Playing at The Machrihanish Golf Club is perhaps not as romantic a prospect as it was several years ago. None-the-less it’s a fabulous golfing experience."

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Brora - 4.5

Brora Golf Club

"Over breakfast at the guest house in Dornoch where we were staying conversation is struck up with a fellow guest; an American from Chicago and a member at Royal Dornoch."

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Moray (Old) - 4.5

Moray Golf Club

"The members of Moray Golf Club, founded in 1889, must rightly be very proud of their two fine links courses laid out on some fabulous tight and sandy golfing terrain to the south of the Moray Firth."

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Nairn - 4.5

Nairn Golf Club

"Expectations were high as we arrived on the first tee at The Nairn Golf Club, a stalwart of golf in the Highlands and a darling of all the Top 100 Great Britain & Ireland course rankings."

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Panmure - 4.5

Panmure Golf Club

"Panmure is a classy and historic golf club with a wonderful natural links course located near Carnoustie, Angus, in the East of Scotland."

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Southerness

Southerness Golf Club

"Except for the undeniable beauty of the 12th hole there’s nothing truly outstanding at Southerness. Please note that this isn’t meant with negative connotations though because everything about this true links course is of a consistently high standard."

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Machrihanish Dunes - 4.4

Machrihanish Dunes Golf Club

"Located within touching distance of the Atlantic Ocean on the Kintyre Peninsula Machrihanish Dunes is the first true links course to open on Scotland’s west coast in over one hundred years."

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Murcar - 4.4

Murcar Links Golf Club

"Murcar is a championships links in the very finest Scottish tradition. It was originally established in 1909 by neighbouring Royal Aberdeen professional, Archie Simpson, and later refined by James Braid some twenty years later with only minor alterations since."

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St. Andrews (New) - 4.4

St. Andrews Links (Old) Golf Club

"There’s very little that hasn’t been written about the golfing mecca that is St. Andrews. Golfers (and indeed non-golfers) flock to this corner of Fife from all over the World to savour the delights of the ‘Grey Auld Toun’ and for most it is mainly to play, or at least see and walk, The Old Course; the spiritual home of golf and where it all began for our beloved game."

Read the full review

Dundonald Links - 4.4

Dundonald Links Golf Club

"In an area steeped in history and tradition Dundonald Links has, in the space of just over ten years, commanded the respect of golfers who flock to this part of Scotland to tackle Open Championship venues and other prestigious links courses."

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St. Andrews (Jubilee) - 4.4

St. Andrews Links (Old) Golf Club

"There’s very little that hasn’t been written about the golfing mecca that is St. Andrews. Golfers (and indeed non-golfers) flock to this corner of Fife from all over the World to savour the delights of the ‘Grey Auld Toun’ and for most it is mainly to play, or at least see and walk, The Old Course; the spiritual home of golf and where it all began for our beloved game."

Read the full review

Carnoustie (Burnside) - 4.4

Carnoustie Golf Club

"I recently took advantage of the 3-round ticket that the Carnoustie Golf Links offers. For the sum of £200 this entitled me to one round on each of the three courses (Championship, Burnside & Buddon)."

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Gailes Links - 4.4

Gailes Links Golf Club

"The Gailes Links at Irvine belongs to Glasgow Golf Club, a club steeped in history and the 9th oldest in the world. Golf has been played over this fine links since 1892 and until 2016 it is the only Scottish final qualifying course for The Open."

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Prestwick St. Nicholas - 4.3

Dunbar - 4.3

Fortrose & Rosemarkie - 4.2

Irvine - 4.1

Kilmarnock (Barrasie) - 4.1

West Kilbride - 4.1

Lundin - 4.1

Monifieth (Medal) - 4.1

Arbroath - 4.1

Leven Links - 4.0

St. Andrews (Eden) - 4.0

Trump Turnberry (Kintyre) - 4.0

Moray (New) - 4.0

Tain - 4.0

Peterhead - 4.0

Cruden Bay (St. Olaf) - 4.0

Crail (Balcomie) - 3.9

Inverallochy - 3.9

Newburgh-on-Ythan - 3.9

Kilspindie - 3.9

Craigielaw - 3.8

Gullane (No. 3) - 3.8

Shiskine - 3.8

Troon Darley - 3.8

Wigtownshire County - 3.8

Royal Troon (Portland) - 3.8

Nairn Dunbar - 3.7

Carnosutie (Buddon) - 3.7

Hopeman - 3.6

Kings Links - 3.6

Monifieth (Ashludie) - 3.6

Isle of Harris - 3.6

Traigh - 3.6

Troon Lochgreen - 3.6

St. Andrews (Strathtyrum) - 3.5

Royal Dornoch (Struie) - 3.5

Musselburgh Old - 3.5

Balnagask - 3.0

Montrose (Broomfield) - 2.8

Isle of Skye - 2.8

Winterfield - 2.8

St. Andrews (Balgove) - 3.7

 

*The below golf courses have not been played and therefore there is no review for them at present:

Arbroath, Balangask (Nigg Bay), Castle Stuart, Colonsay, Cullen, Dunaverty, Durness, Kingsbarns, Kings Links, Luffness New, The Machrie, Reay, Renaissance, Royal Aberdeen, Spey Bay, Strathlene Buckie, Skibo Castle, Tarbat & Trump International.