I’m doing a similar trip next summer as well, and am deep in the research process. I’ve yet to play any of these, so keep that in mind.
- The Aberdeen munis look ideal as a links golf warm up. Balnagask and Kings Links are both on the coast and have 20 GBP greens fees.
- Cruden Bay (see tourist sauce). It’s expensive, but do it. Their replay rate isn’t bad, so consider making that a 36 hole day.
- Newburgh is between Aberdeen and Cruden Bay, and has a cheap twilight rate. You could potentially play that the same day as Murcar.
- Along the coast between Aberdeen and Inverness, you already mentioned Fraserburgh and Cullen. Royal Tarlair (25 GBP), Spey Bay (30 GBP) and Duff House Royal (55 GBP if you book a 4-ball) all look kinda cool and are on the cheaper side. Even if they stink, they’ll be way different than anything you play stateside. If you take your time on this portion of the trip, you could play two dirt cheap links courses every day for a week.
- Nairn (see Tourist Sauce) is kind of pricey, but you can do a two-for-one with Nairn-Dunbar for a 180 GBP 36 hole day. You have to play Nairn in the afternoon, but it should be easy to play Nairn-Dunbar in the morning.
- I’ve also heard good things about Moray and is around 100 GBP
- The nine holer Covesea looks pretty cool and is only 15 GBP to play all day.
- Tain has a 30 GBP twilight rate
- Brora (see tourist sauce) isn’t too pricey either
For the Dornoch area courses, you can buy this pass for 40 GBP, and it gives you 25% off a round at all of them. If you play all five (both Dornoch courses, Tain, Brora, and Golspie), you come out pretty far ahead compared to paying full price. If you only play one or two, it’s probably not worth it.