How to play golf in Scotland

Shiskine Golf Club Arran

We can’t promise you’ll find all our courses easy to play. What we can guarantee is that arranging your visit and all of your tee times is perfectly straightforward and hassle-free.

There are three main ways to book a golf trip to Scotland: book through a registered tour operator; research your itinerary and book the various parts yourself; or go with a combination of the two by consulting an expert on your itinerary but take responsibility for booking everything yourself.

Most people choose to use a tour operator, which is perfectly understandable given the number of advantages that offers. For one thing, they arrange golf trips day in and day out, so they have extensive local knowledge and key contacts in all the right places.

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They will discuss your thoughts and ideas for your trip and tailor a package to suit your needs. If you know exactly what you want, they will be able to advise on how to get the best out of that. Alternatively, if your trip is a complete blank canvas, they will discuss various options with you and make recommendations.

Better yet, they can also save you a huge amount of time in terms of research and will often to navigate potentially troublesome administrative aspects. For example, booking tee times at courses that are usually oversubscribed, such as the Old Course in St Andrews, Muirfield and Royal Troon.

On top of that, they take the hassle out of planning the logistics given that they have a good understanding of travel times between venues and the average length of rounds at specific courses. They can also recommend what to see and do away from the course. In most cases, they will even organise some of that for you.

They are agile enough to cater for all kinds of budgets, too. Whether you want helicopter transfers from course to course, or require coach transfers if you are part of a large visiting party, they can take care of all of that and are on hand should anything go awry.

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Best of all, tour operators aren’t as expensive as you might think and, because of their strong relationships and good database of contacts, they can often negotiate very favourable rates.


Alternatively, you may want to go it alone, which can be a really fun and rewarding experience – so long as you are an organised person who likes research and logistics.

The best thing about this approach is that it can help you get more ‘under the skin’ of Scottish golf, so to speak, and learn more about the country.

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With so much information online, it’s generally pretty easy to find what you want and there are some excellent deals out there. However, it requires a greater deal of patience than using a tour operator, particularly if you want to play some of the busier championship courses, where planning many months in advance is required, not just recommended.

That’s not to say you must do everything on your own. There are now a number of organisations that will listen to your ideas and thoughts and then recommend a specific itinerary for you based on their experience of the country. 

This can help if you are unsure of travel times but still want to take on the responsibility of booking directly and searching for deals. For a one-off fee, you can tap into the operator’s invaluable expertise.

Whichever option you go with, your next golf trip to Scotland is a whole lot closer than you think.

Find out more

For more information on golf in Scotland, log-on to visitscotland.com/golf or click here to read a digital copy of the Official Guide To Golf In Scotland, a comprehensive guide to playing in the cradle of the game.


Visitors are asked to be aware of the latest government restrictions relating to Covid-19. For more information go to the Scottish Government website and the VisitScotland website.

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