Sam Torrance’s Hidden Scottish Gems

Scotland’s former Ryder Cup captain picks four outstanding—yet unjustly overlooked—courses to add to your playlist.

Sam Torrance (Image: PGA Tour)

Sam Torrance (Image: PGA Tour)

Scottish golf legend Sam Torrance quit school at 13 to play the game fulltime, and turned professional at 16. He went on to represent Scotland in 11 World Cups and, even more impressively, played in eight Ryder Cups. But Torrance is perhaps best known on this side of the Atlantic for captaining the European team to its thrilling victory at The Belfry in 2002.

So, given Torrance’s resume, we paid close attention when VisitScotland asked him to pick his homeland’s top hidden gems. Here, as described by the former Ryder Cup hero, are four largely unsung Scottish courses to add to your must-play list:

The Roxburghe Championship Golf Course, Kelso, Roxburghshire

Roxburghe Championship Golf Course (Image: Roxburghe Golf Club) Set on the Duke of Roxburghe’s idyllic estate in the Scottish Borders, this Dave Thomas-designed course is a joy to play. The standout hole for me is the 14th, called Viaduct. This is easily one of the best driving holes in Scotland, where you look from on high down to the River Teviot meandering below. With immaculately presented greens and fairways, the reputation of this course is set to grow and grow.

Western Gailes Golf Club, Gailes, Irvine

Western Gailes is one of those courses that once you have finished playing, you want to walk straight back to the first and play it all over again. With views of the hills of Arran and Ailsa Craig, this superb sandy links has ambience and character in abundance. Even if you are not playing your Sunday best, you will still enjoy the course that Harry Vardon and Gene Sarazen rated as one of Scotland’s finest.

Longniddry Golf Club (Image: Lonniddry Golf Club)Longniddry Golf Club, Longniddry

Resting among links golfing heaven in East Lothian, Longniddry is a truly fabulous course. A mixture of links and woodland, this course will get your strategic golfing brain thinking. I particularly like the drivable dogleg par-four 5th hole, at just over 300 yards. A must-see course for all links enthusiasts.

Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club, Troon

Set in Ayrshire, where I learned to play golf, Kilmarnock (Barassie) is one of Scotland’s finest hidden gems. Golf has been played there for over 100 years, and it is now an Open qualifying course. Nestling beside Troon, Kilmarnock (Barassie) is a tough links challenge and a great course to test golfers of all standards.

 

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