9 exquisite links courses to play in Ayrshire
Originally known as the ‘Southern Gailes’, reflecting its proximity to the other Gailes courses that follow in this article, Dundonald was built in late 2003, and although it may lack a clubhouse and the views of some on this coast, it has an abundance of class. Those who like the look and look of a modern link will love it. The fairways are often generous but the burns thread their way into the eye line and the mind while the bunkering is sharp and clever. The greens are smooth but true, and are surrounded by slopes which delight in escorting the slightly wandering approach to a resting place on grass so well mowed that the putter is a wise choice for all except the more secure. of them. A good ball forward and a putter’s delight, Dundonald – reportedly set to host a Scottish Open – is unmistakably one of Ayrshire’s top flight.
Home of the Open, it begins and ends with a handful of holes unrivaled in Scotland. If you can’t find pleasure with them, you might be in the wrong hobby. Blind shots, pot bunkers, bumps, hollows, by 4 athletes, by 3 confusing, an exceptionally warm welcome at the club, memories to soak up in the club house (with a wonderful lunch); it’s probably the best pleasure you’ve had in a while.
Often described as an austere test, Troon is far more picturesque than is often believed. The opening holes along the coast provide a better view than most of the Open’s spin outside Ailsa, especially at the 5th par-3. The strong 6th is then followed by a super dog-leg at 7 then the emblematic 8th. A back nine characterized by narrow fairways edged with gorse is usually played against the wind and puts even the world’s elite to the test. The free ride on neighboring Portland makes the rigid summer fees more beneficial.
Western Gailes is hardly overlooked by rankings or commentators – note its position at 37th place in our Top 100 – but it is largely eclipsed by the big names who have already appeared in this article. However, you would be wise to make room on your itinerary for these exceptional links. âI had heard so much praise for Western Gailes that it was at the top of my list of must-see classes. It did not disappoint. Beautiful holes on great grounds make it endlessly interesting and challenging … I look forward to my next chance to play, âsaid 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy. This connoisseur’s course is a natural sequence of undulating fairways, a line of dunes along the coastal section from 5 to 13, meanders of burns and greens nestled between sandy hills. As there are so many on this coast, it sits between a railroad track and the sea, but is distinguished by a centrally located clubhouse (seven in the north, 11 in the south) with links arranged on a thin strip of land never more than two holes deep. You take in the views of the Firth of Clyde and face a breeze, and you can assume you’ll be tested on the last nine.
Now called Gailes Links, rather than Glasgow Gailes, with the first part of its âoldâ name deriving from being part of a two-course club the other arrangement of which is a park in the city (at Killermont). This is the gem though, a collaboration between Old Tom Morris and Willie Park that hosted the Home Internationals, co-hosted The Amateur and from 2014 began a four-year stint as the final qualifying course of the Scotland for the Open. Located between Western Gailes and the town of Irvine, it is another more than a century old link which is far from being an obsolete vestige in terms of the championship. Nearly 7,000 meters for a par of 71, its fairways framed by gorse, heather and railroad tracks are never burned except by a period of hot and dry weather. It begins with a succession of rigorous par 4s along rolling fairways to subtle greens.
That connection is in the small seaside town of Seamill, and standing out from the crowd is, one suspects, one reason it isn’t as well-known as even Irvine or Barassie. It should be, because it is a fitting tie of great appeal. Arranged by Old Tom, it is improving steadily, with the holes around the turn, then on the particularly linksy rear nine along the side of a high caliber. It’s short, but coming back along the shore the breeze gives it bite. You come here, however, for the turf of the textbooks, the smell of the sea and the feeling that this is how golf was meant to be.
It’s easy to mistake Irvine for a sporting journey of quirk and character. This 1887 tie – known locally as the Bogside – is certainly that, and these are perhaps the holes you remember most fondly and longest, but it’s no stroll. A 6,415-meter James Braid design, it’s located a few miles inland and not as adorned with sea views. Instead, you enjoy hitting irons and corners on sensational sandy turf while you trade blind shots and hidden greens. Not for everyone, but if you like this kind of food, between gorse and heather, you will love Bogside.
It is much closer to Troon (and therefore to the coast) than Kilmarnock, located between Western Gailes to the north and the municipalities of Troon to the south. While Barassie dates back to 1887, it is now a mix of old and new thanks to nine additional holes that were opened 110 years later. Some may be undecided about the new additions, but they have ensured that Barassie is a championship test capable of hosting the Open Finals, Boys Amateur and Scottish Amateur Strokeplay. It is probably Theo Moon’s pure links holes from the 1800s that you will appreciate the most, set on a magnificent lawn and often bordered by pines, gorse and the obligatory railway line. You can play the old nine holes which are not now part of the âchampionshipâ layout if you prefer …
Prestwick St. Nicholas
PSN looks better than the famous city ties. It’s a course of gorgeous purple heather, elastic turf (the kind you imagine gets really quick in the summer), quirky and classic design features, and far-reaching views. The best is a formidable loop of characterful and feature-rich holes – including crumpled fairways, endless green, table greens, devilish pots and blind shots – from 3 to 6. It is followed by a section flatter on gorse-defined land with great views to Turnberry with ferries dotted along the Firth of Clyde.