Oldest Golf Course in Scotland

Oldest Golf Course in Scotland

Golf is one of the most widely played sports in Scotland and is so popular around the country that there are over 500 golf courses scattered across it! The modern version of golf that we know today actually originated in Scotland in the 15th century, and this game is a huge part of the Scottish culture. 

In this article, we will be taking a closer look at some of the oldest golf courses in Scotland. Let’s get right into it! 

The 6 Oldest Golf Courses in Scotland

6. Royal Dornoch Golf Club

Year established: 1877
Location: Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland
Type of golf course: Private

Royal Dornoch Golf ClubPhoto Source: Openverse

The Royal Dornoch Golf Club has been around for several centuries, and is one of a handful of clubs to have been granted royal status. Although the club was established in the 17th century, people had been playing golf in the northern parts of Scotland for several decades. 

When the club was founded in 1877, it had only 9 holes. However, in 1886, a man named Tom Morris laid out a course with more holes. 

Did you know? 

Andrew Carnegie was one of the club’s first captains. Both Carnegie and his wife Louise were avid golfers.

5. The Golf House Club, Elie

Year established: 1875
Location: Elie and Earlsferry, Fife, Scotland
Type of golf course: Public

The Golf House Club, EliePhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The golf course at Elie and Earlsferry was first established in 1875. It is located ten miles away from St Andrews Links. One of the most interesting things about this particular course is that golf games have been played there for as many centuries as those at St Andrews. For instance, there was a document detailing evidence of the right to play golf, but this document was later lost in a fire.

This golf club has 18 holes and 70 par.

Did you know?

The current Golf House Club, Elie, was designed in 1895 by James Braid and Old Tom Morris.

4. Fortrose Golf Links

Year established: 1793
Location: Ness Rd E, Fortrose, Scotland
Type of golf course: Private

Fortrose Golf LinksPhoto Source: Scottish Golf History

The golf course at Fortrose proudly labels itself the 15th oldest golf course in the world, while being one of Scotland’s oldest known golf courses! This golf course is only a short drive away from Inverness and is located in the quaint little town of Fortrose on the Black Isle.

Fortrose was a popular place for people of nobility to visit and retire in, particularly during the summer months. Towards the end of the 19th century, a family called Kennedy arrived in Fortrose, and its patriarch, Mr. Kennedy, began to clip holes in the links. As time went on, the Kennedy family promoted the idea of starting a golf club in Fortrose, and the Fortrose Golf was born.

Did you know? 

James Braid also redesigned the Fortrose Golf Links!

3. Royal Aberdeen Golf Club

Year established: 1780
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Type of golf course: Private

Royal Aberdeen Golf ClubPhoto Source: Openverse

Much like many of the other golf courses mentioned on this list, the Royal Aberdeen Golf Course is one of the oldest golf courses in both Scotland and the world. It was originally called the Society of Golfers at Aberdeen and later the Aberdeen Golf Club, but after it received royal patronage, its name was changed again.

This golf course is located along the North Sea shoreline. Its location has been praised due to the favorable weather conditions that make playing golf at this course a fun and rewarding experience. It was also redesigned by James Braid.

Did you know?

The Royal Aberdeen Golf Club has hosted several notable golf tournaments over the years, including the Walker Cup, the Scottish Open, and the Senior British Open.

2. St Andrews Links

Year established: Over 6 centuries ago
Location: St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
Type of golf course: Public

St Andrews LinksPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

In addition to being one of the oldest golf courses in Scotland, St Andrews Links is also one of the oldest golf courses in the entire world. Many regard it as the “home of golf” since numerous golf games and tournaments have been held there since the 15th century.  St Andrews has seven main courses within it, namely Strathyrum, Eden, The Castle Course, Balgove, and Jubilee, as well as the Old and New Course, which can be found on all the links.

Out of the seven courses, the Old Course is generally considered to be the most traditional golf course in the world.

Did you know? 

St Andrews houses The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, which is one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the whole world.

1. Musselburgh Links

Year established: 15th Century
Location: Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland
Type of golf course: Public

Musselburgh LinksPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Before St Andrews Links was labeled the oldest golf course in the world, that title previously belonged to Musselburgh Links, who also held a Guinness World Record for the same! However, it is still known to be one of Scotland’s oldest golf courses with a rich and interesting history. 

This golf course has two clubs: the Musselburgh Links Ladies Golf Club and the Musselburgh Old Course Golf Club. Since this club has been around for several centuries, the earliest evidence of golf games being played at Musselburgh dates back to 1672, when a lawyer named Sir John Foulis of Ravelston played and lost a game against two men. 

Did you know? 

Many Scottish people claim that Mary, Queen of Scots, played golf at Musselburgh! However, there isn’t any historical evidence to support this claim.


In this article, we took you through a list of some of the oldest golf courses in Scotland. As you can see, Scotland is home to many golf courses, each of which has a long and interesting history. When researching this article, we quickly realized that regardless of how many golf courses we chose to write about, the list we put together would barely scratch the surface. We hope you learned something new, and that you will check out some of these golf courses on your next visit to Scotland. 

Spread the love

Related Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *