The Old Course
Whats left to say about the most famous course in the world other than good luck getting a tee time? Seven double-greens, hidden bunkers, four iconic holes (Nos. 1, 11, 17, and 18) and next years Open Championship venue.
Thirty minutes north of Dornoch in the Highlands sits this quiet, short (6,156 yards) James Braid effort. No rough, wire fences around greens to keep cattle and sheep off, and the purest links course you may ever find.
Ultra-private course is tough to get on but if you do, youll find one very good hole after another, with panoramic views of the entire layout and surrounding countryside. The Open Championship returns here in 2013 for the 16th time.
Still not easy to get to (its a three-hour drive from Glasgow but there are some flights and ferries), this layout on the Kintyre peninsula is more than worth the effort. The third through eighth holes, flowing through rippling, fescue-topped dunes, could be the best stretch of holes in the country.
This former Walker Cup venue located in the Highlands east of Inverness rightly boasts of the best greens in Scotland, along with stellar holes, like the downhill par 3 14th with views of the Moray Firth.
The New Course
Many St. Andreans call this their favorite course and its easy to see why: a beguiling array of holes that never overwhelm but always challenge. Plus, its half the price of the adjacent Old Course.
Blind shot heaven, thy name is The Machrie. Located on Islay, a western island also home to multiple whisky distilleries, this 1891 design has plenty of aiming poles to guide tee shots, while various greens sit deep within the dunes. An isolated, fun, almost spiritual experience.
Visually stunning, this layout an hour north of Aberdeen on the East Coast dazzles the eye so much you wont notice that breaking par is a rare event.
This year's Open Championship venue is incredibly picturesque, with almost enough visual distractions (Ailsa Craig and the iconic hotel on a hill overlooking the course) to lessen the complete focus this tough layout, especially in windy conditions, demands.
Luke Donald prepared for this years Open Championship here, just north of Troon on Scotlands West Coast, using its tight fairways and windy location (between railroad tracks and the Irish Sea) enroute to a fifth-place finish.
Just missing the Top 10: Lundin Links, Royal Dornoch, Kingsbarns, Prestwick, North Berwick and Shiskine.