Experience Edinburgh's Golf Courses
Way back in the 15th century, the game of golf was invented in Scotland and, to this day, golfers from across the world flock to the country to play some challenging courses surrounded by stunning scenery. Edinburgh is a great base for any Scottish golf trip, with plenty of prestigious courses on your doorstep. We would like to give you a list of some of the best courses in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas, so that you can plan a golfing trip to remember.
There are plenty of great parkland courses stretching out across the city of Edinburgh, providing peace, calm and stunning views within the bustling capital.
Next door to The Scott and The Scholar hotels lies Prestonfield Golf Course. This entertaining and scenic course certainly has its challenges, wind direction being one. And in such a peaceful setting, you would never believe you were less than a mile from Princes Street and the city centre. This James Braid designed golf course, dating back to 1920, welcomes golfers of all abilities, a good start to your Edinburgh golf experience.
The Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society is the fourth oldest in the world and one of Scotland’s most prestigious clubs. The course was developed by Dr Alister MacKenzie (original architect of Augusta National and Cypress Point) but has recently undergone redevelopment with a new layout designed by Tom MacKenzie.
The Braid Hills golf course is an Edinburgh institution, popular with many golfers visiting the city. While the course is relatively short (less than 6,000 yards), this undulating heathland layout calls for some demanding golf shots. Full of gorse and sloping lies, this course is certainly challenging but your perseverance is rewarded with some spectacular views across Edinburgh and beyond.
Founded in 1892, this is one of the oldest courses in the City of Edinburgh, and offers some fantastic golf along with superb scenic views. At over 6,500 yards, this championship course lined with mature trees, bothersome bunkers and a devilish water hazard on the 17th hole, you are sure to enjoy a round at Mortonhall.
East Lothian, Scotland’s gold coast for golf, boasts 21 courses along 30 miles of coastline with the largest concentration of Championship links courses anywhere in the world. Each course is less than an hours’ drive from Edinburgh, with most connected by rail as well - an ideal base to discover and experience some amazing golf courses. And what’s more, with East Lothian’s drier climate the courses are playable year-round. Here is our pick of the East Lothian courses.
With golf being played on the Gullane links for over 350 years, this club has a rich and prestigious history, boasting three separate courses simply called Gullane No 1, Gullane No 2 and Gullane No 3. Gullane No 1 has a long history of hosting national and international championships, the most recent to be held there was the 2018 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open. Gullane No 2 has been used for Open Championship Qualifying and the Seniors Open Amateurs. Gullane No 3 is the shortest of the three courses at almost 5,300 yards, demanding more precision than power.
This golf club is one of the oldest in the world, with its beginnings in Leith (north Edinburgh) in 1744. They later moved further east to Musselburgh and then settled at Muirfield in East Lothian in 1891. Today, Muirfield is renowned for hosting major championships of all kinds, both male and female, professional and amateur, national and international. 16 Open Championships have taken place at Muirfield over the years.
A 5-minutes drive east from Muirfield sits another golfing gem consisting of two Championship courses. Golf has been played on the Archerfield estate for centuries. The Fidra course consists of sweeping fairways lined with pine trees. It is a fast-running links course, sitting at a lengthy distance of almost 7,000 yards. Opened in 2006, the Dirleston Links is a challenging traditional links course with open fairways dotted with gorse, ominous bunkers, and lined with some impressive sand dunes.
The Glen, East Links
Based in the breathtakingly picturesque seaside town of North Berwick sits the magnificent East Links. A combination of seaside links and headland holes, this old course is sure to live long in the memory, in particular the dramatic par 3 13th hole, the green perched on cliffs with the rugged and beautiful beach as the backdrop.
Staying within North Berwick, the North Berwick Golf Club and West Links course were both formed in 1832 and have been using the same piece of land ever since. This seaside course offers stunning views and has hosted many events in the past, including The Amateur Championship in 2010 and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Pre-Qualifier in 2015.
This course is certainly challenging, littered with hazards to keep concentration levels high, and the sea is in play on 6 holes, just hope the tide is out when you visit.
Scotland is the home of golf and there are plenty other iconic golf courses further afield well worth a visit for any golf holiday. The suggested courses are within a two-hour drive from Edinburgh.
Basing yourself in Edinburgh for your golfing trip to Scotland certainly does not mean that you need to miss out on a trip to St Andrews, the world famous Home of Golf. You can get there via train (and a short bus from Leuchars) or drive from Edinburgh, both options will take no more than 90 minutes.
St Andrews Links comprises of seven golf courses, headlined by ‘The Old Course’, where golf was first played around 600 years ago. The oldest and most iconic golf course in the world, with the famous Swilcan Bridge and Hell Bunker, still remains a public golf course, open to all, despite its grand status. You must enter a ballot in order to secure a tee time for The Old Course, allowing visitors the opportunity to play the world-famous course during their visit.
The other links courses (none of which require a ballot):
- The New Course
Built in 1895, this is the second course at the Home of Golf and was designed by the legendary Tom Morris. At just over 6,600 yards, the undulating fairways and challenging greens are a great test of links golf.
- The Jubilee Course
Built in 1897, this is St Andrews' third championship course, often thought to be the most challenging of the courses at over 6,700 yards. It was originally intended for use by ladies and beginners, but in 1988 it was converted to a championship layout.
- Eden Course
Dating back to 1914, the Eden Course was built by Harry S Colt who used natural boundaries and severe bunkers to provide lots of character. At 6,250 yards, this course is often seen as more forgiving than the others at St Andrews.
- Balgove Course
In 1972, the Balgove course was built. The only nine-hole course at St Andrews, sitting at just over 1,500 yards and caters mainly for beginners, families and children, although it offers the perfect practice for one of the more challenging courses.
- Strathtyrum Course
Opened in 1993, Strathtyrumwas designed to complement the tougher championship layouts at St Andrews. At a shorter 5,620 yards, the courses consists of hidden bunkers, narrower fairways and large, often sloping greens to test even the best golfer.
- The Castle Course
Opened in 2008, The Castle Course is the newest addition to the St Andrews Links. Taking its name from Kinkell Castle which sat on the site in the middle-ages, this course is set on a cliff-top and boasts some stunning views over St Andrews. At over 6,700 yards, it is one of the longest courses at the Links.
Another links course, the Carnoustie Championship course, has hosted eight Open Championships, two Women’s Opens and two Seniors Opens. Regularly ranked as one of the finest courses in the world, it is also known as ‘golf’s greatest tests’ and includes one of the most difficult finishing holes in the world, with the Barry Burn crossing just in front of the green. The 18th hole is etched in the memory of every Scottish golf fan as the place where Paul Lawrie took the 1999 title.
Taking you away from the rugged east coast, Callander Golf Club sits within the spectacular Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. This wooded parkland course offers some breathtaking panoramic views to the foothills of the Scottish highlands and promises some truly memorable holes of golf, including some testing par-3s.
Spoilt for choice
As any golfer will know, being the home of golf, Scotland has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to golf courses. With such a staggering number of courses to choose from, all with easy reach of the University of Edinburgh Hospitality and Events Collection’s hotels, our suggestions are a good start to building a fantastic golf holiday which will test your abilities and provide a glimpse of some of our famous Scottish scenery.
We would recommend The Scott Hotel as your base, the perfect place to unwind after a day on the course. Visiting each golf course is easy from the hotel, a 15-minute drive from the city bypass or a short taxi or bus journey to Waverley train station, Edinburgh is the ideal base for any Scottish golf trip.