The best golf courses in Scotland 2024: Ayrshire 

Turnberry Golf Resort
The iconic Turnberry Hotel. Credit: Samuel Regan-Asante

Scotland is understandably synonymous with golf, of course, and within its diverse golfing landscape, Ayrshire stands out as a remarkable destination for golfers across the world.

Boasting breathtaking natural beauty and a rich golfing heritage, Ayrshire offers a collection of many of the best golf courses in Scotland. From challenging links along the Firth of Clyde, to picturesque parkland courses nestled amidst rolling hills, Ayrshire has something to offer golfers of all skill levels. 

Here we select our favourites, each of which rank among the best golf courses in Scotland. 

  1. Royal Troon Golf Club:
    If you’re looking to play the best golf courses in Scotland, Royal Troon is an absolute must-visit. It has hosted The Open Championship on multiple occasions and has a rich and celebrated history. What isn’t as widely known is that Royal Troon actually has two courses – The Old Course and the Portland Course. It’s The Old Course, with its famous and formidable bunkers, which has hosted the best players in the world on so many occasions and boasts signature holes such as the iconic ‘Postage Stamp’ par-3. It all makes for an unforgettable golfing experience that solidifies Royal Troon’s place among the very best golf courses in Scotland.

    Turnberry lighthouse.
    The iconic Turnberry lighthouse. Credit: Ewan McDonald
  2. Turnberry:
    Further south along the Ayrshire coast, you will find the iconic golfing destination that is Turnberry. It features two exceptional golf courses: the Ailsa and the King Robert the Bruce. The Ailsa Course is renowned worldwide and has hosted The Open no fewer than four times. This stunning links course hugs the coastline, providing awe-inspiring views of the Ayrshire coast and its iconic lighthouse. Golfers are treated to an unforgettable experience amidst mesmerising scenery and views across to Ailsa Craig, the uninhabited island in the Firth of Clyde from which the course takes its name. The King Robert the Bruce Course offers a more forgiving yet equally enjoyable experience.

    Prestwick Golf Club
    Prestwick Golf Club is the birthplace of The Open Championship
  3. Prestwick Golf Club:
    Prestwick may just be my favourite golf experience in Ayrshire and certainly one of the best golf courses in Scotland. Steeped in history, Prestwick Golf Club hosted the first-ever Open Championship in 1860 and remained its venue for 12 years. The course, characterised by undulating fairways and traditional links features, provides a chance to follow in the footsteps of our golfing forefathers, as you navigate blind shots, cavernous bunkers, and tricky greens.

    Western Gailes Golf Club
    Western Gailes Golf Club
  4. Western Gailes Golf Club:
    Western Gailes sits on a narrow strip of land which borders Dundonald Links on one side and the ocean on the other. Some will tell you this is a hidden gem, but for those who know it’s actually far from it – make no mistake, this is one of the best pure links courses in Scotland and is right up there with its celebrated rivals when it comes to the quality and challenge. The clubhouse is wonderful too, with the locker rooms telling their own stories. Western Gailes simply must not be missed on a golf trip to Ayrshire.  The scenic beauty and a sense of tranquility add to the allure of what is, quite simply, a truly exceptional golf course.

    Dundonald Links with views over to Ailsa Craig
    Dundonald Links with views over to Ailsa Craig. Credit: Patrick Koenig
  5. Dundonald Links:
    The reborn Dundonald Links may be the new kid on the block when it comes to Ayrshire’s golfing landscape, but it has quickly gained recognition for its offering on and off the golf course. Designed by renowned architect Kyle Phillips, this championship links course offers a superb experience. Meticulously maintained fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and true, fast greens define this links. Dundonald Links has hosted a string of prestigious events such as the Scottish Open, while the lodges at Dundonald Links and the clubhouse are up there with the best golf courses in Scotland. Dundonald would be a brilliant base if you are intending to play all of the above. It’s perfectly located and the accommodation and food offering make it unmissable.

    Ayrshire is one of Scotland’s great golfing meccas and is home to some of the best golf courses in the country. Four of the five courses above are within a matter of a few miles of each other and although Turnberry is a little further south, it’s well worth the journey. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the breathtaking beauty of Ayrshire for yourselves. 


Claire's career as a journalist has seen her regularly write about some of the best restaurants, hotels and destinations in the world. She has also interviewed the past three Prime Ministers and has been a Digital Editor overseeing a number of newspaper titles. She is the founder of the content marketing company Smiths & Sons.

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