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Better yet, Scottish golf is wonderfully accessible. The clubs are clustered, frequently allowing you to select one or two hotels convenient to your golf. On the west, Ayrshire Coast, you'll find Trump Turnberry with Ailsa (World 18 by GOLF Magazine) and Kintyre Courses, Royal Troon (#44) , Western Gailes and Dundonald, and a throwback among the throwbacks – Prestwick – where the first Open Championship was held in 1860. For those with the deepest love of links golf, there is The Machrie, Machrihanish (#91) plus impressive new comer Machrihanish Dunes all found west of Ayrshire across the Firth of Clyde by way of brief flight or high speed ferry. A visit to their remote locales, the Kintyre Peninsula and the Isle of Islay, promises to distinguish the career of any traveling golfer.
On the east coast, in the Kingdom of Fife, St. Andrews is flush with seven courses in and around town as part of the Links Trust beginning with the Old Course (#4) along with the New Course (opened in 1895!) and the genuinely new Castle Course (2008). Highly respected Kingsbarns (#55) is less than seven miles south of town, near Crail, and just beyond the Fairmont St Andrews with The Kittocks and The Torrance courses. Less than an hour north of St Andrews is seven time Open host Carnoustie (#23) along with Panmure (where Ben Hogan prepared for his victory in the 1953 Open), Montrose and Monifieth. An hour northwest is renowned Gleneagles hotel, one of the world’s most respected golf and spa resorts and home to some of James Braid’s and Jack Nicklaus’ finest work including the 2014 Ryder Cup host.
The Scottish Highlands are highlighted by world #14, Royal Dornoch, whose plateau greens are a trademark design feature that Donald Ross took from his home course and used on many of his classic designs in the States. New to the Highlands is exceptional Castle Stuart (#56) near Inverness by Kingsbarns developer Mark Parsinen who co-designed this modern classic with Gil Hanse. Nairn, Dunbar, Brora, Moray and Tain are longstanding “hidden gems” enjoyed by northern visitors who are also certain to enjoy Royal Aberdeen and Cruden Bay on the way up or back plus striking new Trump International Scotland (#50).
Less than two hours south of St Andrews, is East Lothian, where you will find yet another assortment of clubs representing the essence of links golf. Muirfield (#10), Gullane’s three courses, North Berwick, Dunbar, and Cragielaw are situated in succession along the coast east of Edinburgh each with histories reaching back to the roots of the game.