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A Beginner’s Guide to Golf in Scotland

So you want to play golf in Scotland? Great idea! Golf keeps you fit, rewards skill and helps build concentration. Plus, it’s social, you’ll get loads of fresh air, and along the way you’ll see some of Scotland’s best scenery. And most of all – it’s fun!

Golf in Scotland: Explained

Get into Golf

No matter what your age or ability, you can learn to play golf. Competitive types will be pleased to hear that there is a unique handicapping system which allows players of different abilities to compete with each other. You don’t even need your own equipment, as many beginner courses in Scotland will provide clubs to rent. If you are a complete beginner, coaching is widely available to get you off to the best possible start.

Do I need golf lessons?

When you are just starting out, it’s a good idea to go and hit some balls at a driving range or short par 3 course. This should give you a feel for the game, even if it seems difficult at first. Eventually, golf lessons are a great idea for beginners, as a golf professional will help you get the most out of your golf swing.

Is there a dress code for golf?

While there is no fixed dress code for golf, it depends on where you are playing. On short courses and cheap & budget courses, the dress code for golfers is usually pretty relaxed. A collared shirt/t-shirt and a pair of shorts or trousers will be just fine. On some higher-priced courses there may be a more formal dress code – if in doubt, check the course website.

What kind of golf equipment do I need?

You don’t need a full bag of golf clubs to begin with. Basically, you need a big club like a driver to hit the ball on the longer holes. Then you’ll need a few clubs with which you can advance the ball down the fairway, these are called irons. And finally, you’ll need a pitching wedge and a putter for hitting the ball short distances around the greens.

And don’t forget:

Golf balls

Golf bag



Do I need to join a golf club to play golf in Scotland?

No. There are many public courses, short courses and courses that allow visitors in Scotland. You can easily phone up and book onto one of these courses when you are just starting out.

Learn to Play Golf in Scotland

© Golf Perthshire/ Mark Alexander

Below you’ll find a selection of places where you can learn to play golf across Scotland, perfect for beginners.

The Braids Driving Range, Edinburgh

Develop the fundamentals of your golf swing in a fun learning environment. The PGA qualified coaches at The Braids will help make your learning experience as intuitive as possible.

Drumoig Golf Centre, St Andrews

Learn golf and practice with highly skilled golf professionals around St Andrews. TRACKMAN golf technology enhances the experience.

Paul Lawrie Golf Centre, Aberdeen

Set within beautiful Royal Deeside, the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre caters for the needs of all golfers. Enjoy instruction in fully equipped coaching bays. A world class short game area will help you sharpen up around the greens.

Mearns Castle Golf Academy, Glasgow

Easy and informal group lessons aimed at complete beginners are a great way to start learning golf with your friends and family. Work on your game at the fantastic driving range.

Cameron House on Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire

Get tailored golf lessons with PGA professionals in the gorgeous surroundings of Loch Lomond. Golf radar technology which analyses the flight path of the ball will help you see the bigger picture.

Find out more about golf across the country by visiting Scottish Golf. Or if you are planning a golf break in Scotland, check out our golf page which has a wealth of information on courses, accommodation and tours.

Disability Golf

Players with a disability looking for opportunities to play in Scotland can find information on the Scottish Disability Golf website. This registered charity was established to provide and develop year-round sports for disabled people across Scotland.

How about 9 holes?

©Fife Council/ Airborne Lens

Once you have picked up the basics of the game – which include driving the ball, iron play, pitching, bunker play and putting – you will want to get out and hit a few shots! Golf is played over 18 holes or 9 holes and there are many courses in Scotland – over 550. Perhaps you will want to start out by playing 9 holes and there are some great places to do this. Here are just a few:

Mains of Taymouth, Perthshire

A wonderful 9 hole golf course in Perthshire, Mains of Taymouth offers panoramic views and a challenge for all levels of golfer.

Taynuilt, Argyll

Surrounded by majestic mountain scenery, Taynuilt Golf Club is a real hidden gem.

North Berwick Children’s Course, East Lothian

East Lothian is known as Scotland’s Golf Coast and everywhere along this stretch of coastline you’ll find amazing golf. The proving ground for many a top golfer, this par 3 course will test your short game.

Rothes, Speyside

You’re in whisky country now, but there’s always time for a spot of golf! Rothes Golf Club is an attractive inland course that will keep you on your toes.

Lumphanan, Aberdeenshire

Work on your driving, chipping and putting at this great club, which has an informal and family-friendly atmosphere. Just 25 miles west of Aberdeen, village golf at it’s best.

Inspirational Golf Quotes     

       Keep your eye on the prize, with these pearls of wisdom.

  • Golf is a game that’s played on a five-inch course – the distance between your ears. – Bobby Jones
  • Attitude always wins out over ability. – Dr Bob Rotella
  • To give yourself the best possible chance of playing to your potential, you must prepare for every eventuality. That means practice. – Seve Ballesteros
  • This is a game of misses. The guy who misses the best is going to win. – Ben Hogan
  • It’s a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get. – Arnold Palmer

Fancy watching some top class golf? Check out our guide to The Open at St Andrews 2022.