7. Castle Stuart
An absolute hoot to play, Castle Stuart, the second Scotland creation by developer Mark Parsinen after Kingsbarns, is a must on any Highlands tour. Few fairways in Scotland are more forgiving, and there may not be a more scenic course in Scotland, either.
The layout has the unique distinction of featuring holes both high above the sea—affording fabulous views from greens with infinity backdrops—and on low ground right along the sea (plus others with a castle backdrop). The tremendous hole variety and changing of landscape makes the round go by too quickly. You’ll adore every hole.
8. Alisa at turnberry
I haven’t played Turnberry since the Trump renovations. By all indications, it’s even better now.
The two times I’ve played it, I found it to be a delightful walk that can play as a fair resort course or a stern Open Championship venue. Because it was plowed over to serve as an airstrip during World War II, the rebuild took some old-world quirks out of the routing, making it one of Scotland’s fairest championship links. In a kind of twisted way, that kind of knocks it down a peg or two for me.
9. King's course at gleneagles
Links courses are only half the tale of golf in Scotland. Exhibit 1A as to why every itinerary should include at least one heathland course is the King’s at Gleneagles.
This is a hands-on lesson in the imagination of James Braid, who throws massive bunkers, elevated greens, risk-reward holes that stand the test of time, and much more at the golfer. In addition, the surrounding hillside views are magnificent, and the on-site, five-star hotel rivals Turnberry and the Old Course Hotel as the most luxurious digs in Scotland. Also, be sure to hit the breakfast buffet.
10. Gullane No. 1
In a crowded golf scene, don’t forget East Lothian’s Gullane No. 1 next to Muirfield, a stellar, championship-worthy links with some real unique qualities to it, such as a volcanic hill and some exhilarating elevated tees. Pro tip: Inquire about a post-round tour of Archie Baird’s Heritage of Golf Museum.