Golf in Scotland

Draw some inspiration for your dream Scottish Golf Vacation. Click on the following geographical regions in Scotland to see our favourite golf courses, hotels and off course activities. Alternatively, take a look at the example Scottish golf vacations we have on our website. Remember, all of our golf tours can be tailor-made to suit your requirements, just ask one of our golf travel experts.
Thinking of going on a golf vacation to Scotland but don't know where to start, or aren't sure how much it will cost? One of our golf travel experts would be delighted to answer any questions you may have and help you on your way to The Home of Golf.  Alternatively, take a look at our example golf vacations, or get a quote today for a tailor made itinerary.  
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Example Scotland Golf Vacation Packages

History of Golf in Scotland

The country that gave us the most beautiful game, and keeps on giving. Synonymous with Links golf, The Open Championship, Bagpipes and Haggis, Scotland is a golf vacation destination that should be on everyones bucket list. Scotland is home to roughly 30% of all “true” Links courses in the world, from the oldest in the world such as The Old Course, Musselburgh and Prestwick to the modern links courses of the 21st century such as Kingsbarns, Castle Stuart and the brand new Dumbarnie Links in St Andrews


The first records of golf in Scotland date back to the 15th century, back then referred to as “Gowf”. 


The Dutch have made claims to being the true inventors of the game, and its true that stick and ball games have been around for many centuries, however the “modern” game that we call golf today, originated in Scotland. 


Golf was first documented in Scotland in 1457, when King James II of Scotland banned the games of “Gowf” and “Futball”, as he considered them a distraction from archery practice. Other early mentions of “Gowf” again come in the form of sanctions in 1471 and 1491, until in 1502 the bans were finally lifted by King James IV  who decided to become a golfer himself. The oldest golf course in the world still being played today is in fact not The Old Course at St Andrews, but The Old Links at Musselburgh. Lawyer Sir John Foulis kept accounts of his game there in 1672 and there are also rumours of Mary Queen of Scots playing there in 1567. Golf was played on the Links at St Andrews for hundreds of years before this, however the 18 hole layout of The Old Course in St Andrews that we know today was not formed until 1764; before then The Old Course was a 22 hole course. In 1764 The R&A (known at the time as The Society of St Andrews Golfers) decided that the holes on the 22 hole layout were too short, and so modified the course to a 18 hole layout. The course in 1764 had only 10 individual holes, 8 of which were played twice. By 1857 some of the greens in the middle of the course had 2 holes on them with new teeing areas created, making it the worlds first 18 hole golf course, which set a precedent for golf courses around the world from then on.


The Open Championship


The most famous major championship of them all, The Open Championship, was first held at Prestwick Golf Club in 1860 and won by Willie Park Senior. Back then they played for a silver belt, until Young Tom Morris won the belt for three consequent years from 1868-70 and got to keep it. Because there was no trophy to play for no tournament was played in 1871. The Open was played again in 1872 but no trophy was presented to the winner, just a silver medal. In 1873 The Claret Jug was awarded to the winner for the first time, however the 1872 winner also got his name engraved on the trophy. 


Since the first 12 Open Championship’s played at Prestwick between 1860-1872, The Open has been played at the following courses in Scotland-


The Ryder Cup


The 1973 Ryder Cup was hosted by Muirfield in the East Lothian region of Scotland. More recently, the 2014 Ryder Cup was held on the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles where Paul McGinley captained Europe to retain the Ryder Cup for the 3rd year in a row.


Alfred Dunhill Links Championship


Played annually every September and a European tour fixture since 2001, this grand 72 hole tournament is based on the Pro-Am format of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. A brilliant opportunity to watch the worlds greatest golfers and A-list celebrities play over some of the worlds best links courses; The Old Course, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns


The Scottish Open 


One of the European Tour’s premier events and part of The Rolex Series. Since 1987 this prestogious golf tournament has been the last opportunity for tour players to earn their right to play in The Open Championship. Past venues for the tournament include the following-


Fancy playing some of these great Scottish golf courses? Get a quote today for your next golf vacation with Halcyon Golf Travel.