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Best Golf Courses in the Scottish Highlands

from the Experts in Golf Holidays

⏱ 8 min read

Best Golf Courses in the Scottish Highlands

Golf in the Scottish Highlands

The beautifully rugged landscapes of Scotland's Highlands and islands with their mountains, lochs and seaways offer the ultimate escape – one of the last corners of Europe where you can discover genuine solitude. Legend and tradition run deep in the Highlands too, so it comes as no surprise that this wild, picturesque and endlessly charming corner of Scotland is also home to some of its best and most historic golf courses.

Royal Dornoch leads the way in the Scottish Highlands, with records showing that golf was played here as far back as 1616, and is a must-play course for any golf purist exploring Scotland's most northerly frontier. There are countless other historic layouts to enjoy as well, as well as more modern courses such as Castle Stuart, which opened for play in 2009 and was immediately deemed suitable to host The Scottish Open on The European Tour.

You see, owing to the majestic natural landscapes found in The Highlands, there's a world-class golf course around every corner in these parts. So if the sound of throwing your clubs in the boot of your car and hitting the road to take in sights including Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, the peaks of Coigach and Assynt, or some of Scotland's most spectacular stretches of coastline such as The Bay of Sannick near John O'Groats sounds good to you, stopping along the way of course to play any number of Scotland best golf courses, then The Scottish Highlands is the ideal choice for your next golf holiday.

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Royal Dornoch Golf Club

The journey that thousands of golfers a year make to Royal Dornoch is often described as a pilgrimage, given how far north and just how spectacular the course is, it is an accurate description.

Royal Dornoch was ranked 2nd on Golf Digest’s 2018 ‘World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses’, only surpassed by Royal County Down in Ireland. It is one of the most natural golf courses on the planet, it has both wildness and beauty in abundance.

More info on Royal Dornoch >>

Royal Dornoch facts
Location Sutherland, Scotland
Length 6,722 yards
Par 70
Designed by Old Tom Morris
Established 1877
Where to stay Royal Marine Hotel, Royal Golf Hotel

"Arguably one of the most underrated top-rated golf courses. I don't know anyone who has played here who hasn't put it amongst their Top 10 Courses they've played."
Gareth (UK & Ireland Team: Handicap 12)

Call 0800 043 6644 to speak to Gareth about playing this course.

Castle Stuart Golf Links

Having only opened in 2009, Castle Stuart is one of the younger courses to feature on this list, but it is certainly deserving of its place. The brilliant mind behind Kingsbarns, Mark Parsinen, has created yet another, brilliant late addition to the beautiful tapestry of golf courses Scotland has to offer.

Built on the banks of the Moray Firth, Castle Stuart has already hosted 4 Scottish Opens, its thrilling changes in elevation and ‘infinity greens’ make for exciting play.

More info on Castle Stuart Golf Links >>

Castle Stuart Golf Links facts
Location Inverness, Scotland
Length 7,009 yards
Par 72
Designed by Mark Parsinen, Gil Hanse
Established 2009
Hosted Scottish Open 4 times (2011, 2012, 2013, 2016)
Where to stay Kingsmills Hotel Inverness

"A modern day links course, which encompasses wide fairways that make it playable for nearly all levels of golfers and so was great when playing with my friends of a mixed ability. One thing that strikes you playing it is the fantastic views from nearly all the holes, plus a large percentage of them are next to the water."
Tom (UK & Ireland Team: Handicap 6)

Call 0800 043 6644 to speak to Tom about playing this course.

Nairn Golf Club (Championship Course)

Regularly featuring in the Top 100 Golf Courses in Scotland and The UK & Ireland, the fast-running fairways of Nairn Golf Club has been trodden by golfers for over a century. Providing visitors With a classic links golf experience, amazing views across the Moray Firth and fairways pitted with bunkers, a true test for all golfers.

The layout has been revised a number of times over the years but the classic links feel remains, you will find find firm, fast, narrow fairways at Nairn and plenty of undulation to really make you think about which club to use from the tee.

More info on Nairn Golf Club >>

Nairn Golf Club facts
Location Inverness, Scotland
Length 6,832 yards
Par 71
Designed by Archie Simpson, Old Tom Morris, James Braid
Established 1887
Where to stay Kingsmills Hotel Inverness

"The course requires thought and skill in equal balance. 7 tough holes out, a stop at The Bothy for a well earned rest and then a veritable feast of golf holes back in. Unusually for even the finest links courses, every hole at Nairn has a view of the water."
Gareth (UK & Ireland Team: Handicap 12)

Call 0800 043 6644 to speak to Gareth about playing this course.

Brora Golf Club

Traditional links course designed by James Braid and is considered to be one of his finest pieces of work with the likes of Tom Watson & Peter Thomson giving praise to the design.

This classic Highland Links serves up a gentle opening with short holes facing different directions requiring the visiting golfer to negotiate the prevailing winds, and considering the course's exposed position, it is often more than a gentle breeze.

More info on Brora Golf Club >>

Brora Golf Club facts
Location Sutherland, Scotland
Length 6,211 yards
Par 70
Designed by James Braid
Established 1891
Where to stay Royal Marine Hotel

"Whilst it's length might not be considered long by modern standards, the challenge is found in undulating greens and small pot bunkers which are on hand to funnel the ball away from the fast-running greens."
Tom (UK & Ireland Team: Handicap 6)

Call 0800 043 6644 to speak to Tom about playing this course.

Boat Of Garten Golf Club

Often described as a Highland gem, Boat of Garten is an enchanting layout set within the stunningly picturesque Cairngorm National Park landscape. Featuring silver birch tree-lined fairways, heather everywhere you look and the flowing River Spey this course is a beautiful place to enjoy a round of golf.

It may be considered to be on the short side but you will find it to be a fantastic, picturesque, undulating and challenging course. Showing off the clever use of land and natural surroundings whilst serving up plenty of birdie opportunities.

More info on Boat Of Garten Golf Club >>

Boat Of Garten Golf Club facts
Location Badenoch & Strathspey, Scotland
Length 5,876 yards
Par 70
Designed by James Braid
Established 1898
Where to stay Crerar Golf View Hotel

"The course is not the longest in the area and you probably will not need your driver too often but it can still be tricky to score well here."
Gareth (UK & Ireland Team: Handicap 12)

Call 0800 043 6644 to speak to Gareth about playing this course.

Spey Valley Championship Course

Traditional links course designed by James Braid and is considered to be one of his finest pieces of work with the likes of Tom Watson & Peter Thomson giving praise to the design.

This classic Highland Links serves up a gentle opening with short holes facing different directions requiring the visiting golfer to negotiate the prevailing winds, and considering the course's exposed position, it is often more than a gentle breeze.

More info on Spey Valley Championship Course >>

Spey Valley Championship Course facts
Location Aviemore, Scotland
Length 7,118 yards
Par 72
Designed by Dave Thomas
Established 2006
Where to stay Macdonald Highlands Hotel / Macdonald Aviemore Hotel

"The course at Spey Valley is certainly championship standard measuring over 7100 yards from the back tees. The Dave Thomas layout is a challenge for mixed handicaps. It's a stunning course with the purple heather dotted around, and the variety of room types and styles mean there is something to suit everyone."
Stefan (UK & Ireland Team: Handicap 5)

Call 0800 043 6644 to speak to Stefan about playing this course.

Nairn Dunbar Golf Club

A fine championship links course located on the other side of the River Nairn to the wonderful Nairn Golf Club. The course has hosted the Scottish Boys Strokeplay Champioships and is a very good test of golf for players of all abilities.

A large modern clubhouse provides panoramic views over the Moray Firth while the course comprises of Silver Birch, winding waterways, gorse bushes, and sand dunes, all the natural hazards you could wish for when playing golf in the Scottish Highlands.

More info on Nairn Dunbar Golf Club >>

Nairn Dunbar Golf Club facts
Location Nairnshire, Scotland
Length 6,765 yards
Par 72
Designed by Various locals, Ken Cotton
Established 1899
Where to stay Crerar Golf View Hotel, Kingsmills Hotel

"A great raised beach links course that serves up all the thrills of true links golf with plenty of undulations, deep pot bunkers and excellent green complexes."
Gareth (UK & Ireland Team: Handicap 12)

Call 0800 043 6644 to speak to Gareth about playing this course.

Golspie Golf Club

Situated at the base of Ben Bhraggie offering fantastic views over the Dornoch Firth, Golspie lets the golfer see many different aspects from heathland to links style.

Played along the coast at the beginning of the round, then into woodland it keeps the golfers eye alert, but also serves up magical views.

More info on Golspie Golf Club >>

Golspie Golf Club facts
Location Sutherland, Scotland
Length 6,021 yards
Par 69
Designed by James Braid
Established 1889
Where to stay Crerar Golf View Hotel, Kingsmills Hotel

"When playing Golspie you experience three distinct features, the ocean, woodland and heathland, the diverse terrain and variety offered along the coastline makes Golspie a delight to any visiting golfer."
Stefan (UK & Ireland Team: Handicap 5)

Call 0800 043 6644 to speak to Stefan about playing this course.

Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Links

Situated on Chanonry Point, a narrow peninsula just north of Inverness that extends out into Rosemarkie Bay lies the layout of Fortrose & Rosemarkie. The course is divided in two by a road that leads to Chanonry Lighthouse and has hosted two national competitions.

More info on Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Links >>

Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Links facts
Location Ross & Cromarty, Scotland
Length 5,342 yards
Par 71
Designed by James Braid
Established 1793
Where to stay Crerar Golf View Hotel, Kingsmills Hotel

"The course might seem to be lacking in length but it makes up for this with dense gorse, blind approaches, strategic bunkering and small subtle greens."
Gareth (UK & Ireland Team: Handicap 12)

Call 0800 043 6644 to speak to Gareth about playing this course.

Tain Golf Club

Tain is an Old Tom Morris design that benefits from magnificent views over the Dornoch Firth. The Glenmorangie Distillery is close to the course which offers a great opportunity to have a wee dram in the Clubhouse then go and see where it was made.

Water borders the course on one side with an imposing mountain backdrop on the other, Tain provides an outstanding golfing experience in a lovely setting.

More info on Tain Golf Club >>

Tain Golf Club facts
Location Ross & Cromarty, Scotland
Length 6,404 yards
Par 70
Designed by Old Tom Morris
Established 1890
Where to stay Crerar Golf View Hotel](/golf-view-hotel-nairn), Kingsmills Hotel

"Try and hit the 10th fairway which was once lined with gorse but now a little more forgiving. The 16th & 17th are back to back par 3's, great holes but use caution as they can be card wrecker."
Stefan (UK & Ireland Team: Handicap 5)

Call 0800 043 6644 to speak to Stefan about playing this course.