Dunbar Golf Club has everything but a high price tag: history, scenery, difficulty and playability. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor) Machrihanish Golf Club, located down on the southern end of the Kintyre Peninsula about four hours from Glasgow, is worth the drive. (Courtesy of machgolf.com) Dating back to 1891, Brora Golf Club is a traditional nine-out, nine-in links in the Scottish Highlands. (Courtesy of Brora Golf Club)

Five must-play links golf courses under $100

Play only Open Championship rotation golf courses in Scotland, and you'll get a first-rate links experience. But these links will also burn a hole in your pocket, charging between £125-200.

If you want to experience Scotland's best on a budget, mix a few Open rota courses such as the Old Course at St. Andrews and Turnberry in with some bargains. In Scotland, just about every seaside town has the latter.

Here are five traditional links must-plays in Scotland under $100.*

Dunbar Golf Club in East Lothian

An East Lothian delight west of North Berwick and Gullane, Dunbar Golf Club is a historic links that tiptoes along the sea on 14 holes, while a high deer wall separates them from four inland holes. Few courses can mix scenery, championship challenge (an Open Qualifier site in 2002), playability and value like Dunbar.

Green fee: £55

Machrihanish Golf Club

The money you save on the Machrihanish green fee will probably go straight to your gas tank on the drive down the southern end of the Kintyre Peninsula, about four hours from Glasgow. That's all the more reason to get a day ticket or spend a few days in Campbeltown, one of Scotland's great whisky villages and home to this remote, 19th century links. No. 1, "Battery," plays over Machrihanish Beach and may be the world's finest opening tee shot.

Green fees: £50

Southerness Golf Club in Dumfries & Galloway

Most golfers in Scotland don't go farther south than Turnberry, leaving Dumfries & Galloway untouched. Southerness, designed by Mackenzie Ross, is one example why they're foolish. This is one of Scotland's tougher courses, with a slew of 400-plus yard par 4s and an SSS of 73, but Solway Firth, hills and lighthouse views sooth along the way.

Green fees: £50

Brora Golf Club in the Scottish Highlands

Royal Dornoch's wild, northern neighbor in the Highlands, Brora is famous for its gently tumbling links, shared to this day with sheep and cattle. Dating back to 1891, it's a traditional nine-out, nine-in links with redesign credit going to James Braid (the James Braid Society is based here). Be advised, golf balls get a free drop from "mud pies."

Green fees: £39

Moray Golf Club, Old in the Northeast

Nestled between the Highlands and Aberdeenshire a short drive from Nairn, Moray Old is a classic links originally laid out by Old Tom Morris. It begins and ends in town, like St. Andrews and North Berwick, but the finishing hole is no drivable par 4: rather, it's a 400-plus yarder to an elevated green in front of the clubhouse that draws its share of onlookers. On the north coast to the east of Inverness, it's a worthy stop on the way to the Highlands or back down south to Aberdeen.

Green fees: £45.50 weekdays

* Editor's note: Our exchange rate at time of publication is $100 = 60 pounds.

Aug 28, 2009

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Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.