|3||St Andrews Old Course||Golf.com|
|5||Royal Dornoch||Golf Digest|
|8||Turnberry, Ailsa Course||100bestcourses.com|
|54||Trump Aberdeen||Golf Digest|
The Golf Digest ranking is a bit dated now as they’ve since split their ratings into American and Non-American. We’ve used their last published world-ranking. 100bestgolfcourses tends to skew European. Golf Magazines rankings are often regarded as the benchmark. Scotland still has thirteen entries on their list
|1||Royal County Down||Golf Digest|
|35||Royal Birkdale||Golf Digest|
Royal County Down
In the high north of Scotland, Royal Dornoch is often something of the ‘odd one out’ amongst those visiting golfer’s who are trying to assemble their bucket list of elite courses. Geography ensures that this is the most difficult to fit in. Dornoch’s par 3’s, ‘Foxy’, the 14th, described as the ‘most natural hole in golf’, plus the notorious gorse bushes all make for a tough examination of iron play and one you’d ideally like ‘to bag’.
Royal Dornoch can be included as part of a tour, but you’ll need to accept some mileage and be strategic about when to introduce it. The secret probably hangs on Gleneagles. Discover how
Carnoustie has an altogether more blue collar heritage than the somewhat aristocratic St Andrews. If St Andrews is champagne the Carnoustie is vintage port. If St Andrews is Mozart, Carnoustie is Beethoven. It’s length and exposure, plus its turning nature which means you encounter headwinds, tailwinds and crosswinds make it a sterner examination. It’s usually the name that golfer’s give you when you ask them which is the hardest course on the Open Championship rotation. Yet it’s strangely beautiful too, even if this needn’t be immediately obvious. It’s a course you learn to love and perhaps one that endures in the memory more than most
Prestwick is the home of the original Open Championship from 1860, and naturally the birth place of tournament golf. Perhaps this is where a past-time became a sport and ultimately an industry. Prestwick last hosted in 1925, which to some extent ensured it’s been partly locked in time. Prestwick didn’t need to observe the paradigms of championship design. It was able to retain its quirky old blind shots and capricious fairways. The 17th is the original 2nd from 1860, and still in its original configuration. This makes it the oldest hole in Championship golf, and features the notorious ‘Sahara’ bunker, Europe’s biggest. The blind par three 5th, ‘Himalayas’, is a played over a hill using a marker board on the top. The par five, 3rd, ‘the Cardinal’ is a favourite too. It would be mistake to think Prestwick is a gimmicky old curio though. Prestwick stands-up on merit, holding a world top-100 ranking in it’s own right.
Built in 1906, Turnberry was the newest course to hold a world top-100 until Kingsbarns came along in 2000. They said it couldn’t be done, designing a links layout. They were wrong. Since 2000 Castle Stuart, and Trump Aberdeen followed Kingsbarns onto the prestigious world ranking. Dumbarnie looks destined to join them. Although they fell short of the global list, Dundonald, and the Renaissance Club were also built in the shadow of Kingsbarns and have gone onto Scottish Open. Machrihanish Dunes, might have danced to a slightly different tune but is another quality 21st century addition. Kingsbarns spurred a building spree that rejuvenated Scottish golf. Does this make Kingsbarns the most important golf course built in Scotland?