Golfing in the Outer Hebrides

With breathtaking views and remote links courses, the Outer Hebrides present unique challenges and unforgettable experiences for golfers. This 5-day itinerary around the islands offers suggestions for a fantastic golfing holiday and can be easily adapted to suit your trip.

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  • A golfer in a bunker at Askernish Golf Course, South Uist
    Askernish Golf Course, South Uist
  • A sign pointing towards the next tee with an animal skull, on Askernish Golf Club on South Uist
    A sign for the next tee at Askernish Golf Club, South Uist
  • A green on the Isle of Barra Golf Course, fenced off to keep cattle away
    The Isle of Barra Golf Course
  • Two golfers look onto the ocean from the links course of the Isle of Harris Golf Club
    The Isle of Harris Golf Club, at Scarista
  • Golfers walk past the Honesty Box at the Isle of Harris Golf Club
    Golfers walk past the Honesty Box at the Isle of Harris Golf Club

Stornoway Golf Club, Lewis (18-hole parkland, 5,252 yards, par 68, sss 87)

Start your tour at Stornoway Golf Club, just a few minutes outside the town centre in the grounds of Lews Castle. This 18-hole course demands a keen judgement of distances from its players, with a variety of uphill and downhill holes leading through the undulating terrain. Blind greens and dogleg holes present their challenges, and watch out for hazardous gorse and heather.  As you reach the higher parts of the course you’ll be treated to spectacular views out to the town harbour in the east and to the mountains of Harris in the south.

The largest town in the Outer Hebrides, Stornoway offers much to see and do away from the course. The An Lanntair Art Centre hosts excellent art exhibits and live performances, while the Calanais Standing Stones, 30 minutes’ drive away, are a must for those interested in history. You’ll find a range of accommodation options in and around the town, as well as first-rate restaurants – make sure you try the local speciality, Stornoway black pudding.

Isle of Harris Golf Club (9-hole links, 4,900 yards for 18 holes, par 68, sss 65)

Just an hour’s drive from Stornoway, Harris boasts a fascinating history and some of Scotland’s most remarkable scenery. The Isle of Harris Golf Club lies on the western shore of the island, looking out to Taransay and the Atlantic Ocean. Its 9-hole course has been described as one of the most picturesque in the world, bordered by white sand beaches and, on a clear day, turquoise waters. The slopes and cliffs of this short links course provide plenty of challenges for golfers, often heightened by sweeping gales coming in from the Atlantic.

As well as its beautiful beaches, Harris offers a range of attractions and activities. Harris Outdoor Activity Centre opens in the summer for sea kayaking, sailing and other outdoor sports, and the Seallam! Visitor Centre in Northon recounts the island’s fascinating history through interesting displays. 

Benbecula Golf Club (9-hole parkland, 4,359 yards for 18 yards, par 62, sss 62)

Take the ferry from Leverburgh in Harris to the island of Berneray, then make a short trip over the road causeway to arrive on North Uist. Characterised by its peat bogs and sand beaches, it’s an ideal location for country walks and is home to an abundance of wildlife, from otters and seals to the corncrake, one of Britain’s rarest birds.  

Continue south to Benbecula, the historic island where Flora MacDonald helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape his pursuers by fleeing to the Isle of Skye. Benbecula Golf Club is located in Balivanich and includes a 9-hole, 18-tee course that makes excellent use of the area’s flat terrain. With water hazards, bunkers and sudden changes in the Atlantic, take care with your club selection or you could be in for a tricky game.

Askernish Golf Club (18-hole links, 6,167 yards, par 68, sss 67)

Around half an hour’s drive over the causeway from Benbecula, Askernish Golf Club on South Uist is an absolute must for golfers. Dubbed the ‘holy grail of golf’, this magnificent links course was created in 1891 by golfing legend Old Tom Morris but fell into disrepair in the early 20th century. A group of local golf enthusiasts set about restoring the course to its original design in 2005, and Morris’ lost gem reopened in 2008.

The 18-hole course gets off to a gentle start with a 6-hole loop including two par 5s, before the club’s signature seventh tee treats you to a challenging drive between two dunes. After an unforgettable round, you’ll find dining and accommodation options in the small port town of Lochboisdale, 10 minutes away by car. 

Barra Golf Club (9-hole links, 5,032 for 18 holes, par 68, sss 62)

The ferry crossing from Lochboisdale to Castlebay in Barra takes just over two hours, with regular departures all year round. The Isle of Barra Golf Club is located to the north-west of the island, making it the most westerly course in the UK. The 9-hole course provides exceptional views over the Atlantic, while large natural bunkers and protruding rocks add to its unique character. 

Along with Benbecula and Stornoway, Barra is home to one of the Outer Hebrides’ three airports. It offers regular flights to Benbecula and Glasgow and is home to one of the world’s most unusual runways – its landing strip lies on the sands of Cockle Bay beach, disappearing into the water when the tide is in. Alternatively, the mainland can also be reached via ferry: the crossing to Oban takes just under six hours and offers on-board dining and shopping.