TRADITIONALLY known as the “dear green place”, Glasgow’s beautiful setting and abundance of parks are relished by residents and visitors alike.

None more so than the golfers among them. Blessed with an abundance of courses – including two within three miles of the city centre – to suit every skill level and bank balance, the city and its environs is a golf-lover’s paradise.

Those looking to challenge themselves with a championship-level course are also spoiled for choice, with some of the world’s great and most historic golfing venues only a short drive away.

You’ll need a respectable handicap to play on many of these hallowed fairways and some offer only limited access to non-members. All Scotland’s most famous courses are in wonderful locations, however, and some are attached to the sort of luxurious destination hotels worth visiting in their own right.

With this in mind, we’ve set ourselves a spring sporting challenge: the best golfing experiences within 90 minutes of Glasgow city centre.


Let’s start with the impressive list of top-notch, visitor-friendly courses in and around the city itself. Two of them - Haggs Castle and Pollok - are a mere 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre. Nearby Cathcart Castle and East Renfewshire - designed by Scots five-time Open winner James Braid - both offer panoramic views of the city and beyond. Westerwood, in Cumbernauld, was designed by the late, great Seve Ballesteros and overlooks the Campsie and Kilsyth hills, while wildlife fans always enjoy keeping an eye out for deer and buzzards during a round at Cawdor, in Bishopbriggs.


Venue for the first ever Open Championship in 1860 – and another 23 after that - this beautiful Ayrshire links course, originally laid out as 12-holes by “Old” Tom Morris, the father of modern golf, offers a tough challenge and great views across to Arran. The most testing elements include the infamous Cardinal bunker at the third hole and the Himalayas on the fifth. Prestwick itself, meanwhile, has much to offer, including a lovely beach. And it’s all just 50-minutes from Glasgow.

Royal Troon

Founded in 1878 and laid out by the greenkeeper at neighbouring Preswick, the Old Course at Royal Troon remains one of the most demanding courses in Scotland. You’ll need to be a confident shot-maker to contend with the wind – not to mention the gorse – on these links (the club’s other course, the Portland, is a bit friendlier) and access is limited for non-members. For those not playing, charming and historic Troon (also only 50-minutes from Glasgow) offers an array of family-friendly attractions including two beaches and plenty of great restaurants.


Just round the coast from Troon, some 70 minutes from Glasgow, is Trump Turnberry, the golf resort owned by US President Donald Trump which boasts one of the most scenic courses of them all, and a luxurious Edwardian hotel and spa. Overlooking craggy Ailsa Craig with views to Arran and the Mull of Kintyre, the Ailsa course (venue for The Open four times) has been challenging amateurs and professionals alike since 1902. The King Robert the Bruce Course was added in 2017, bringing a whole new dimension to the golfing experience at Turnberry.

Earl of Mar

Located in 240 acres of ancient parkland on the banks of the River Clyde, with excellent views of the Erskine Bridge, this stunning course is just half an hour from Glasgow and 10 minutes from the city’s airport. Once home to the Earl of Mar, the grand mansion which forms part of the resort was built in 1828 and is now residence of choice for celebrities such as Beyonce, Brad Pitt and Kylie Minogue when they visit Glasgow. Whether it’s a round of golf, relaxing spa or delicious afternoon tea you’re after – or indeed all three – this place has it all.

Carrick on Loch Lomond

Described as having “the most beautiful water hazard in the world” in the shape of Loch Lomond, this 12-year-old course just 55 minutes from Glasgow is an experience from start to finish and has played host to championships including the Ladies Scottish Open, PGA Cup and Europro Tour. A fire devastated part of Cameron House, the resort hotel, in December 2017 but a full restoration is under way and expected to be completed in early 2020. The spa, restaurants and lodges remain open.


Taking pride of place in the Perthshire countryside, only an hour from Glasgow, the iconic Gleneagles Hotel has been welcoming guests since 1924. It’s also home to three championship courses, including the King’s and Queen’s, which both celebrate their centenaries this year. The third course, the PGA Centenary, hosted the Ryder Cup in 2014, the scene of a famous win for Europe. In September, Europe’s women golfers will be hoping for a similar result when the Solheim Cup is contested there.


One of the oldest golf clubs in the world - which also goes by the name of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers- started out in Leith in 1744. It later moved to Musselburgh before settling at its current home in Gullane, East Lothian, in 1891, where it was laid out by Old Tom Morris. Host of The Open 16 times – Jack Nicklaus won three here – this exclusive (access is limited for visitors) links course overlooks the Firth of Forth and is just 90 minutes from Glasgow. A bucket-list destination for golf aficionados, Gullane is home to another prestigious golf club, founded in 1892, with another three courses. The town’s stunning coastal location and abundance of excellent hotels, pubs and restaurants, meanwhile, ensure year-round popularity with those who – whisper it – don’t play golf.

St Andrews

Requiring little in terms of an introduction, the home of golf – the game has been played on the links here since the early 15th century - is always a joy to visit. The ancient Fife town is simply steeped in golfing history, myth and legend and hosts seven courses, the headquarters of the sport’s governing body and an entertaining museum, not to mention the most famous bridge in sport. The Open returns to its Old Course home roughly every five years. Not surprisingly, it’s pretty tough to get a game on the hallowed links, (a ballot system is in operation) but being a public course over common land means anyone can have their picture taken on the aforementioned Swilken Bridge. The town’s six other excellent courses -the Balgove, Eden, Jubilee, New, Castle and Strathtyrum - offer an array of opportunities for players of all levels. Even the putting course here, known locally as the Himalayas, is iconic. As are some of the town’s hotels, which include the Old Course and the Rusacks.


Documentation shows that people have been playing golf in this Lothian town since at least 1672, no doubt enjoying the same views over the Firth of Forth. The shoreline links here played a critical role in the development of The Open and provided its first ever champion, Willie Park Snr. These days there are an array of prestigious clubs and courses – including Musselburgh Links, which claims to be the oldest course in the world still in play - each offering a different challenge. The town, 80 minutes from Glasgow, is also famous for its racecourse and has some excellent restaurants.


Founded in 1761, this prestigious Edinburgh course – said to be the fourth oldest in the world - recently underwent a major redevelopment. The inland location ensures a different type of challenge to the east coast links courses, though what it will always have in common with them are the excellent views across the Firth of Forth.

Glasgow, Gateway to Scotland, a partnership between People Make Glasgow and Glasgow Airport, in association with The Herald, aims toattract more US visitors and capitalise on a recent growth in overseas tourists by highlighting the city‘s position as both a must-see destination in itself, and the ideal base for accessing Scotland’s landscapes, history and culture.

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