With the Open starting at Carnoustie on Thursday, golf will be on the minds of many across the country. But for those who may be inspired to head out to enjoy 18 holes, the eye-watering fees at some courses can prove offputting. Yet there are plenty of excellent courses that don’t charge the earth, and this list of the best hidden gems should help you find somewhere to enjoy golf for less.  
1. Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Course
Where: Ness Road East, Fortrose, Black Isle, 01381 620529
Summer prices: £55 per round on weekdays, £60 per round on weekends, £30 per twilight round (tee-off after 5pm)

Located on the Chanonry Peninsula in the Moray Firth, at certain points on the Fortrose and Rosemarkie greens you can have water on three sides of you, making for spectacular views. It isn’t a particularly long course but it is tight and therefore challenging, particularly depending on the speed and direction of the wind.
2. Kilspindie Golf Club, Aberlady
Where: The Clubhouse, Aberlady, East Lothian
01875 870 358
Price: £55 per round on weekdays, £95 per round on weekends

Having existed since 1867, Kilspindie has a fair amount of history behind it but none more interesting than the fact that the course was shared with the local Territorial Army during the First World War. You can even see the relics of a “magazine” and a “target” at the 12th and fifth holes. The course boasts beautiful greens throughout, but the eighth hole is the best, with a strong shot over the water seeing you close to the pin.
3. Tain Golf Club
Where: Chapel Road, Tain, Ross-shire
01862 892314
Summer prices: £60 per round, £30 per twilight round (after 4pm), £25 per round (after 5pm) 

With sea on one side and mountains on the other, Tain is one of the most quintessentially “Highland” courses in the country – but is remarkably reasonably priced. Despite the rugged landscape, the course is quite sheltered and offers favourable conditions for most of the year. Golfers of all abilities will enjoy the views as they make their way round, but be warned: you may be joined by deer, heron and ospreys. 
4. The Glen, East Links, North Berwick
Where: Tantallon Terrace, North Berwick 
01620 892726
Summer prices: £58 per round on weekdays, £40 per weekday twilight round (after 4pm), £68 per round on weekends, £58 per twilight round (after 2pm)

Situated on the east side of North Berwick, this pretty course is a typical links outing in that the wind is likely to determine how good your round is. It is quite long and can be challenging, but will offer golfers the great qualities of rival east coast courses such as St Andrews for a fraction of their prices.
5. The Machrihanish Golf Club
Where: Golf Club House, Machrihanish, Argyll 
01586 810213
Summer prices: £75 per round, £45 per twilight round (tee off after 4pm)
Machrihanish is renowned for its stunning (if difficult) first hole, where players must hit the ball over a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean in order to reach the green. It is thankfully quiet most of the year, especially in the winter, when prices per round are as little as £35. The course is varied enough to challenge almost all abilities, and has scenic views over to Islay and Jura that will make even the worst round more enjoyable.
6. Monifieth Golf Links
Where: Princes Street, Monifieth, Angus
01382 532767
Summer prices: £80 per round

All eyes will be on Monifieth’s neighbour Carnoustie as it hosts the Open Championship, but being less famous does not make Monifieth any less enjoyable. It has two courses to offer: the Medal course and its little brother, the Ashludie. The Medal takes its first six holes out alongside the Aberdeen-London railway line, providing a tough challenge for any golfer with the constant threat of heading out of bounds. But with bigger challenges come bigger rewards, and Monifieth gives a great sense of satisfaction if you play it well.
7. Nairn Dunbar Golf Club
Where: Lochloy Road, Nairn
01667 452741
Summer prices: £85 per round, £50 per round after 2pm

The mention of Dunbar in the name can prove confusing, but this course 
is situated on the Moray Firth, nowhere near East Lothian. It enjoys the same stunning views – and great atmosphere – as its prestigious neighbour Nairn Golf Club, but for a much lower price.

 8. Troon Lochgreen Golf Course
Where: Harling Drive, Troon, Ayrshire
01292 312 464
Summer prices: £37 per round

Despite being the course where Jack Nicklaus qualified for his first ever Open, Troon Lochgreen is, amazingly, part of the local authority-managed South Ayrshire Golf group. Don’t let that put you off, though – it provides a challenging mix of links and parkland holes and some great views to boot. Excellent value for money. 
9. Arbroath Golf Links
Where: Dundee Road, Arbroath
01241 875837
Summer prices: £40 per round on weekdays, £45 per round on weekends, £30 per round after 5pm in July, £20 per round after 6pm until September

The warm Angus welcome is one of the best parts of the Arbroath course, with the reception from the staff and the locals in the clubhouse making any visitor feel at ease. The course itself is of a deceptively good quality, offering immaculate links greens with some testing bunkers and fast-flowing burns to catch you out.
10. Boat of Garten Golf Club
Where: Nethybridge Road, Boat of Garten, Speyside
01479 831 282
Summer prices: £50 per round, £40 per round if before 8.30am or after 4pm

Situated just a few miles from the ski resort of Aviemore, this course offers impressive backdrops with 
snow-capped mountains and towering pine trees looming over you. A variety of trees line the grounds, funnelling the hole from fairway to green and providing plenty of rough ground to try to avoid.
11. Torrance House Golf Club, East Kilbride
Where: Calderglen Country Park, Strathaven Road, East Kilbride
Price: £24 per round for lunch and golf at peak time (£19 off-peak), £27 per round for dinner and golf (£22 off-peak)

Based in Calderglen Country Park, this immaculate parklands course will challenge even the most confident golfer. Each hole is varied and interesting and there’s a wonderful par 3 to finish – which is thrilling no matter how many times you’ve played it. Possibly the best value-for-money golf in the Central Belt.
12. Newburgh on Ythan Golf Club, Aberdeenshire
Where: Beach Road, Newburgh, Ellon, Aberdeenshire
01358 789058 
Price: £40 per round on weekdays, £50 per round on weekends

It isn’t particularly long, but Newburgh is a demanding course which requires accurate golf for all 18 holes. The course is highly picturesque in places, with views of the sea and rugged sands dunes, and offers fabulous food in the clubhouse to reward you when you finish.

13. Balcomie Links, Crail 
Where: Balcomie Clubhouse, Crail, Anstruther, Fife, 01333 450686
Summer prices: £69 per round on weekdays, £95 per round on weekends

Nestled on the tip of the scenic East Neuk, Balcomie offers a spectacular outlook from its clubhouse over the Firth of Forth and beyond. One of two courses in the Crail Golfing Society, it is not the most difficult 18 holes but it does offer a total par of 69 and a viciously sloping green on the 13th.
14. Roxburghe Championship Golf Course
Where: Heiton, Kelso, Roxburghshire
01573 450333
Price: £65 per round

Set in more than 200 acres of parkland, this glorious championship course is a steal at £65 per round. Designed by Dave Thomas, the internationally renowned golf course architect, Roxburghe is well laid out, well maintained and well worth a 
15. Southerness Golf Club, Dumfries
Where: Southerness, Dumfries
01387 880677
Summer prices: £55 per round on weekdays, £65 per round on weekends

Overlooking the Solway Firth, this picturesque course will test even the most talented golfers when the wind blows in from the sea. The rugged landscape and flat, exposed greens make it a great example of links golf, but it has been cleverly designed so that you will feel like the only soul on the course.