The Best Top 5 Golf Courses in St Andrews, Scotland

St. Andrews and golf are intertwined. There are a multitude of golf courses in the surrounding area. Many are wonderful examples of quintessential Scottish golf clubs which are a mainstay of their community. For the moment however, we shall focus on The Best Top 5 Golf Courses in St Andrews, Scotland.

The Best Top 5 Golf Courses in St Andrews, Scotland -

The Old Course, St Andrews

Unquestionably the most significant golf course in St. Andrews, the Old Course hosted The Open on many occasions and is so integral to the game of golf that is also referred to as the ”Home of Golf”. The Old Course has staged the greatest golfers and produced many of golf’s most dramatic moments.

Wide double fairways, seven extensive double greens, and a multitude of intimidating bunkers are just some of the unique features you will encounter on the Old Course. Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods each hoisted the Claret Jug here on two occasions. In 1927, Bobby Jones claimed The 62nd Open six years after taking four strokes to escape the Hill Bunker at the 11th and tearing up his scorecard!  No. 17, the “Road Hole”, is always an adventure as is negotiating the Valley of Sin at the short par-4 18th. 

How To Get A Tee Time | Old Course, St Andrews

A Greenside Chat: “The Story of the Inner Workings of The Home of Golf” ~ St Andrews Links Trust

Carnoustie Golf Links

Across the Eden estuary from St Andrews lies the Championship Links at Carnoustie. It has served as host on several occasions to The Open including the memorable 1951 event that was won by Ben Hogan. The golf course is regarded as one of the toughest courses on The Open rota. It is approximately 50 minutes driving from St Andrews.

Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus, Scotland | PerryGolf – The Blog

Carnoustie Golf Links | The Best Top 5 Golf Courses in St Andrews, Scotland

Kingsbarns Golf Links

Golf at Kingsbarns Golf Links dates to a nine-hole layout here in 1793.  It was commandeered by the military during the Second World War not to reappear until Kyle Phillips took an interest in the late 1990s. His design ushered in the era of “modern classics” when it opened in 2000 looking like it had been there for years.  The terrain is links style perfection with tumbling fairways and sandy soil that produce the fine-bladed fescues which are the cornerstone of fast-and-firm playing surfaces that characterise links golf.  The fairways are spacious, the greens are large, exceptional views of the North Sea are found on every hole.

Kingsbarns Golf Links, Fife, Scotland | PerryGolf – The Blog

Kingsbarns Golf Links | The Best Top 5 Golf Courses in St Andrews

Dumbarnie Links

Dumbarnie Links is one of Scotland’s newest links courses opened in 2020.  Located 9 miles south of St Andrews, the layout plays over 345 acres, part of the 5,000-acre Balcarres Estate held by Lord Anthony Balniel and his family since the 16th century.  Designed by Clive Clark, a member of the 1973 Great Britain and Ireland Ryder Cup team, the site is highlighted by a mile and a half of sea frontage featuring panoramic views over the Firth of Forth. 

Its dual elevations, which are connected by a flowing escarpment, provide a number of elevated tees where holes play directly towards the sea. The design incorporates three potentially drivable par-4s along with several holes that present tempting risk/reward opportunities.  This course is designed to inspire rather than intimidate golfers.  Total yardage varies from 5,300 to 6,900 yards.

A Greenside Chat: “The Story of Scotland’s Newest Links Course” ~ Dumbarnie Links

The New Course, St Andrews

The New Course opened in 1895. Several holes at the oldest ‘new’ course in the world have been carved through punitive gorse, so accurate tee shots are required. Set beside and in contrast to the Old Course, this Old Tom Morris design includes undulating fairways and severely sloped greens to put on display a fine test of links golf. The 17th can be a make-or-break par-3 coming home. It measures 229 yards from the back tees, forcing golfers to combine power and precision to find the green in regulation.  The New is highly regarded among the locals because it is tighter and more defined than the Old. 

The New Course at St Andrews, Fife, Scotland | PerryGolf – The Blog

New Course, St Andrews | The Best Top 5 Golf Courses in St Andrews
Photo by Gary Lisbon

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About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. View on LinkedIn.