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The Scotland Highlands covers around a sixth of the UK, so it really shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to a golf getaway.

Once you’ve looked into the courses here, we guarantee you’ll want to pack the bags and hit the road north. There are around 60 member clubs in the region and we’ve compiled the best of where to play.

You might think that Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, is in the very far reaches of the north of Scotland, but you’d be wrong.

Carry on past the metropolis that is Inverness and you’ll have another 120 miles of driving before you get to John O’Groats, and on the way you’ll be encounter some truly stunning scenery and golf courses. None more so than the historic venue of Royal Dornoch.

Tom Watson described his first day of golf at Royal Dornoch as the most fun he’s ever had on a golf course, and if you’re lucky enough to get a tee time here, you’ll see why.

Also in that area, you’ve got the joy of Tain, Golspie and Brora, all of which are superb.

Further south, you’ve got the likes of Cabot Highlands, Nairn and Spey Valley, all of which are sensational. This area is rightly known for its historic links courses, but it has so much more than that to offer.

In Inverness itself, the newly opened Kings Golf Club, along with Inverness Golf Club in the city centre, are excellent options for tree-lined, parkland golf.

Here’s our guide to everything you need to know…

Go-to venues

Royal Dornoch

Par 70 Yards 6,754

Consistently ranked as one of the greatest venues on the planet, Royal Dornoch is a must-visit. The world-famous Championship course starts with a modest par-4, before players take on one of the hardest par-3s you’ll find anywhere. The view that greets you as you walk onto the third tee will leave you aghast and things only get better as the round goes on. Look out for the 14th, Foxy, the only hole on the course with no bunkers. Alongside the Championship course is the Struie, a great complement to the legendary Championship layout.

Cabot Highlands

Par 72 Yards 7,193

Home to Castle Stuart Golf Links, the newly renamed Cabot Highlands is a four-time Scottish Open venue that is modern links golf at its finest. Set beside the Moray Firth, the course is characterised by the rugged landscape of the water that runs alongside many holes, as well as the expanses of gorse bushes that hug many of the fairways here. After hosting the pros, it’s clear to see why this is a favourite amongst them, as you’ll encounter a course that’s generous off the tee, but a test around the greens that inspires creativity. A super experience.

Golf in the Scottish Highlands - Nairn


Par 71 Yards 6,832

A course that runs alongside the Moray Firth, Nairn Golf Club is home to one of the best tests in the Scottish Highlands. A course that regularly hosts some of the most prestigious events on the calendar, it was recently home to the Amateur Championship, and was also a Walker Cup venue. Some of the best holes come at the start, with the opening seven making their way west towards Inverness, along the coast. The final hole is a superb par-5, a great closing hole. A club packed with history, this is a tremendous visit.


Par 70 Yards 6,612

A new offering in Inverness on the site of the old Torvean course, the Kings Golf Club is hugely enjoyable. The layout is the first new course design of Scottish architect Stuart Rennie, and he’s routed a great course around some of the best land in the Highland capital. In particular, when you get to the 12th tee, the highest point, you’ll be able to see right across the city and the Moray Firth. The finishing hole is a memorable one. With a pond guarding the front-left of the green, some will get suckered into going for a pin beside the water.

Golf in the Scottish Highlands - Spey Valley

Macdonald Spey Valley

Par 72 Yards 7,153

Part of the Macdonald Aviemore Resort, Spey Valley is a brilliant test of championship golf. When you get on the course here, you’ll see how impressive Brooks Koepka’s course record of 62 is, as it’s a challenging layout with plenty of trees, heather and water to keep you honest. This is a course set in the beautiful town of Aviemore in the heart of the Cairngorms, mountains which will be visible throughout your round. You’ll even use them as a line on the final hole, where you need to trust that you’ll find the fairway hidden over the hill. A fantastic day out.

Golf in the Scottish Highlands - Newtonmore


Par 70 Yards 6,031

Set to the south of Aviemore, Newtonmore offers golfers a secluded round, with a course in excellent condition in the Spey Valley. It’s not the longest in the area, but is a course full of character, that’s been part of the landscape since the 1890s. The tenth hole is one of the best on the course, a par-5 where you’ll need to avoid the out of bounds to the left by aiming at a point on the neighbouring Cairngorm Mountain range. If you’re looking for a round where you can enjoy brilliant golf and hospitality, this is the place.

Notable mentions


Complete with spectators in the form of sheep and electric fences to guard the greens, you’ll do well to find a more enjoyable round than at Brora. The greens here are fast and run as well as anywhere. MORE INFO

Boat of Garten

A course that is always in superb condition, Boat of Garten is a superb setting for this course that winds its way through some of the finest land in the Highlands. You’ll not be disappointed here. MORE INFO

Nairn Dunbar

A course that compliments a fantastic stretch in the area, Nairn Dunbar is a quality test of golf. The stretch of par-4s on the front nine is a stern test, while the closing par-5 is superb. MORE INFO


The 12th hole at Hopeman is one of the best par-3s in Scotland and the rest of the course is stunning, too. You’ll get views of the water throughout, with firm fairways along the coast. MORE INFO


Set in the centre of the capital of the Highlands, Inverness features plenty of tree lined holes, requiring plenty of accuracy. The par-4 14th might be one of the toughest in the area. MORE INFO


Set in the small town of Lossiemouth, Moray is home to 36-holes of classic links golf. The 18th hole of the Old course here is sure to live long in the memory. Ideal for 36 holes in a day. MORE INFO


Tain can go under the radar sometimes, but it’s a great layout. The 11th hole, the Alps, is great fun, taking you out to the coast. You’ll find great greens, deep bunkers and some tight driving holes. MORE INFO

High 9s

If you only have time for nine, don’t worry. With ten courses under the Golf Highland umbrella, the views from Durness and Isle of Sky are superb, while Aigas runs along the River Beauly. MORE INFO

Where to stay

If you’re basing yourself in Inverness, the Kingsmills Hotel ( is ideally located. An easy walk to the city centre and right beside Inverness Golf Club. If you’re in Nairn, you can head to the Nairn Golf View Hotel (, a short walk from the golf course and very easy to get to. If you’re going further north, the Sutherland Inn ( is nice and affordable and perfectly located for trips to Dornoch, Brora, Tain and Golspie.

Where to eat

One thing Inverness is well catered for is eating out. If you’re in the city centre, head to Urquhart’s (, a family run business that does some of the best haggis in the area. In Nairn, you can head to the Sun Dancer ( is close to both courses and will give you amazing views over Nairn beach, with some local seafood on the menu. On Dornoch beach, you can head to the Highland Larder, which serves food fresh from the North Sea.

Things to see and do

Too much choice and not sure what golf courses to head for? Following the James Braid Highland Trail ( is a great option. You’ll go from Boat of Garten all the way up to Reay in the far north, taking in some of Braid’s best work along the way. The trail is also packed with non golf activities well worth doing along the way. You’ll find friendly pubs wherever you go in the north, but if you’re looking for a night out in Inverness, head to Johnny Foxes ( beside the River Ness.

Getting about

If you’re travelling around the north of Scotland you’ll probably want to do it by car. The A9 links Perth to Inverness, and although it can take a while to make the journey, the road produces some exceptional scenery along the way. From Inverness along to Nairn (pictured), you’ll go along the A96, which can take you as far as Aberdeen. If you’re not going by car, the train is an option, with ScotRail running services on the Far North Line, which heads up to Thurso and Wick. If you’re heading south, you’ll also be able to jump on the train, with a direct line to Perth.

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