Royal Dornoch is widely regarded as the finest course in the region. It consistently scores in the top ten in the world through various publications. The raised greens at Dornoch make approach shots very challenging particularly with the punishing pot bunkers that await errant shots. At Dornoch there is the Struie Course which is a great test of golf. If it wasn't for the neighbouring championship course it would be more widely known. Skibo Castle has a wonderful links course too. See the 2nd photo above.
Just north of Dornoch is Brora, which is home to the James Braid Society. A true out and back links design. It only has two par 5's and a wonderful selection of par 3's three of which are under 200 yards. One of the most natural golf courses you'll ever see with sheep and cattle sharing the land with you. Some superb par 4's with excellent pot bunkering. The 18th is an superb finishing par 3 of just over 200 yards with a deep swail in front of the green.Below are some photos from Brora this last summer.
South of Dornoch is Golspie Golf Club. See above. This is another James Braid Design and it mixes links, heathland and parkland golf. It is very unique in the way it combines different styles of golf. Breathtaking views of the Dornoch Firth can be seen from many holes, and the two short holes towards the end of the round are definitiely the highlight.
Tain Golf Club is just a bit further south of Golspie. This Old Tom Morris classic is probably best known for the Himalayas Hole. See below. Its a classic links course that has some wonderful holes many of which require the player to negotiate a meandering burn. Again like Golspie this course has a very reasonable green fee rate for such a good course.
Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Links is my home club. It occupies possibly one of the most unique sites in golf. Set on a narrow peninsula of land jutting out into the Moray Firth directly opposite Fort George. This course is very tight off the tee with gorse awaiting any wayward shots. The greens are very small with some very severe slopes. The flag positions can make this course expecially tricky. The course is not especially long at 6100 yards from the back tees. But don't be fooled this layout is far from easy, particularly as the wind is usually strong. The photo below is from the signature 4th hole.
Muir of Ord Golf Club is a heathland course designed by James Braid. Only half a mile from the house it is a super course. Its slightly shorter than some other courses in the area but still a great test of golf.. It has some excellent holes particularly over the other side of the railway line..
Strathpeffer Golf Club is about 20 minutes north of Muir of Ord. This was described by the late Peter Alliss as 'A Hidden Gem in the Scottish Highlands'. Slightly shorter but still a great test of golf. Some stunning views of the mountains as the course is quite high up. well worth a visit.
Nairn Golf Club is a superb links course. Overlooking The Moray Firth this championship course has wonderful views across to the Black Isle. The Royal and Ancient Amateur Championship 2021 is due to be held here and also on Nairn Dunbar which is another excellent course.Both are very demanding courses where length off the tee is a big advantage, as well as accuracy to avoid the many strategically placed bunkers.
Castle Stuart is another superb links course in the region. Relatively wide fareways make the course playable for all levels of golfer, but well designed slopy greens challenge the most accomplished of player. The bunkering is often severe and views of the Moray Firth stunning. See below.
Moray Golf Club at Lossiemouth has two excellent courses, the Old and the New. The Old Course was designed by Old Tom Morris. A great links course with many holes slightly inland, it isn't for the faint hearted. A very demanding layout with a lot of strategically placed bunkers. It has what many regard as one of the finest finishing holes in Scotland. See below. The New Course is shorter but by no means straight forward. Very tight off the tee there is very little margin for error. A highly enjoyable course to play that is also challenging, particularly off the tee. In some ways Moray is similar to St Andrews as the golf courses start and finish in the town. See below. With RAF Lossiemouth nearby, the landing posts are visible at many points on the course.
If you are looking for parkland courses, both Elgin and Inverness are highly regarded. See the photos below.