Scotland has played host to some of the most thrilling golf competitions in history, from the very first Open Championship at Prestwick in 1860 to the mighty 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
Yes, the world's best golfers polish their best clubs and don their finest knitted vests to visit the Home of Golf. And, so can you! Don't miss a round of golf on some of Scotland's iconic championship courses, and follow in the footsteps of golfing legends.
1. Royal Troon
Royal Troon Golf Course © Ayrshire & Arran Tourism
Founded in 1878, Royal Troon is considered one of the most challenging links courses in the world. Set within the beautiful Ayrshire coastline, an area dotted with incredible golf courses, in summer 2016 it proudly hosted the prestigious 145th Open.
After watching or playing some golf, explore the seaside town of Troon, and walk along the blissful promenade with an ice cream and admire the boats at Troon Yacht Haven. Here, you can also enjoy a lovely sit-down dinner at Scott's Bar & Restaurant overlooking the marina and with views towards Arran and Ailsa Craig, or sample some tasty seafood delights at the MacCallum's Oyster Bar.
2. Castle Stuart
Castle Stuart Golf Links, near Inverness
Overlooking the Moray Firth, Castle Stuart has been a longtime favourite with golfers across the globe. In 2016, the game's finest players were in action at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
As you play, look out for landmarks including Castle Stuart itself, Chanonry Lighthouse and Kessock Bridge. Relax after a day on the green with a trip to the club spa, or why not spend a night in Inverness, our most northerly city? Musts for foodies are sister restaurants The Kitchen and The Mustard Seed, both stylish riverside restaurants serving up locally-sourced European dishes with a unique Highland twist.
3. The Carrick at Cameron House, Loch Lomond
Loch Katrine, within the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
Skirting the famous loch and making use of the uniquely varied landscape, The Carrick at Cameron House has hosted the Ladies Scottish Open and EuroPro Tour events in the past. Warning: the awe-inspiring surroundings might distract you from making the perfect putt.
After a round on the course, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park awaits with its imposing Munros, sparkling lochs and serene walking trails. Stay over at the Cameron House for a taste of true luxury, with spa treatments and several dining options including Martin Wishart's Michelin-star menus overlooking the glistening loch.
4. Dundonald Links
Dundonald Links Golf Course, Ayrshire © Mark Alexander
Loch Lomond’s ‘sister’ course Dundonald Links proudly hosted the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and the AAM Ladies Scottish Open in 2017 - the first time in history that both events have been played on the same course back-to-back.
Designed by Kyle Phillips, the course gives a real test to all levels of golfer, with generous fairways, excellent facilities and even a cosy clubhouse to boot with magnificent views across to Arran. Dundonald is in great company with the likes of Prestwick and Royal Troon nearby, and is only around 40 minutes away from Glasgow Airport by car.
For a slice of history, visit the impressive medieval tower house Dundonald Castle or have a hearty meal at The Ship Inn, a few miles away in the town of Irvine, which offers traditional Scottish meals aplenty.
Gullane Golf Club, East Lothian © Richard Campbell
One of East Lothian's finest courses, Gullane has welcomed fierce golfing competition for 350 years, proudly showcasing its three courses to the public. On Gullane No.1, enjoy sensational views across to Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth. Remember to book in advance as playing here is always popular. Known as Scotland's Golf Coast, East Lothian is dotted with magnificent courses, so you can try a few while you're here.
Take the chance to explore more of East Lothian - make a visit to the fascinating Museum of Flight at East Fortune, visit the beautiful Tantallon Castle or wander along the sands at North Berwick and enjoy views across to the Bass Rock. During the summer months, enjoy some freshly-caught seafood at the Lobster Shack, a quaint eatery on North Berwick's harbour. Try out the local specialities at the cosy Duck Inn in the village of Aberlady.
Prestwick St Nicholas Golf Club, Ayrshire © AG Firth
This illustrious course hosted the first ever Open Championship in 1860. With its pristine terrain, undulating greens and perfectly-designed holes, at Prestwick Golf Club you can immerse yourself in golfing history. A stone cairn marks the spot where the first tee was struck in Open Championship golf. There are two other courses nearby, the Prestwick St Nicholas (pictured) and Prestwick St Cuthbert, both offering fabulous 18-hole tests.
Whilst you're visiting the town, stop for a bite to eat in one of the town's pubs or restaurants - Elliots serves up a variety of tasty options. Don't forget to explore more of the blissful Ayrshire coastline and practice your swing with more golf courses in the region.
7. The Old Course at St Andrews
144th Open at St Andrews
Last but certainly not least, the Old Course at St Andrews is at the top of every golfer's bucket list. The oldest public golf course in the world hosted last year's 144th Open (pictured) and offers many challenges along way, including the notorious Hell Bunker. At sunset, don't forget to snap a selfie at the Swilcan Bridge!
St Andrews is a town dedicated to the game, with the British Golf Museum showcasing the early history of golf competition in Scotland. Whilst you're in town, don't miss a delicious meal overlooking the ocean at The Seafood Restaurant, or a burger at the Jigger Inn, before finishing the day in style with a night's stay at the Old Course Hotel.