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Another of the "greats" in this rich golfing corner of Scotland. The course leads out from the Clubhouse fairly gently to begin with, alongside the sea. The relief of the terrain steadily increases as you head towards its most renowned hole: the short but deadly par three 8th - the much-vaunted "Postage Stamp" (miss the Green and you'll know why the Pros dread it!). From here on in, Royal Troon just keeps getting tougher as the Fairways constrict between the gorse and the Greens seem to shrink. Royal Troon has hosted the Open Championship on numerous occasions and as you stroll down the 18th, you'll be left in no doubt as to the reasons why.
Architect: W. Ferrie (1895)
18 holes: 6,289yds: par 71
The second course at Troon, inland from the sea and behind the Marine Hotel, the Portland is a very good traditional links that makes a great hors d'œuvre before the main course. There is more relief to the land and plenty of gorse and deep bunkering that will make you think through your shots carefully.
The first ever Open Championship was played at Prestwick and for that reason alone it retains a special place in our golfing folklore. The course itself is a step back in time with no shortage of quaint quirks; like the First Tee where there is a diagram on the wall indicating the best way to go about reaching the Green! Further around the course you will need to aim at invisible targets, hidden behind grassy hillocks or tucked away in impossible places: taking at least one caddie along with your party is a very good idea and will greatly enhance your enjoyment of golf at Prestwick.
Western Gailes Architect: G. Morris (1897) 18 holes: 6,640yds: par 71
One of Scotland's most natural, and entertaining, links on a thin strip of land (exactly two holes wide!) between the railway line and the North Sea. Western Gailes has that evolutionary feeling of all great courses that makes you feel the course has gradually emerged from the dunes over aeons of time. It really is a 'must play' course when in Ayrshire as it exhibits all the hazards and delights of pure links golf - and a 'proper' Clubhouse to boot!Kilmarnock - Barassie Architect: T. Moon (1887) 18 holes: 6,203yds: par 72
A little to the north of Troon lies an unrivalled treasure trove of links golf: Kilmarnock Barassie, Western Gailes and Dundonald Links stretch across the countryside seemingly from horizon to horizon. Of the three, Kilmarnock Barassie enjoys the most sheltered inland setting and consequently has pines trees and swathes of gorse on its more substantial soil. These, together with the hummocks and hollows of the dunes makes for a fascinating game of golf. Staying out of the treacherous rough is key to building a good score at Kilmarnock. Another outstanding test of golf that is frequently overlooked by many visiting the area; don't make that mistake too.Dundonald Links Architect: K. Phillips (2003) 18 holes: 6,725yds: par 72
Owned by Loch Lomond as a spare course for their Members when Loch Lomond is closed, Dundonald Links is however open to visitors. The land is an unusual combination of dunes and pines that has been created out of a flat old wartime airfield - although you would never guess as it all looks so natural. In general driving is not the problem at Dundonald, the difficulties lie around the Greens where swales and run-offs will encourage your ball away from the putting surface: great care on your approaches is required. This is compounded by the fact that the course is kept in immaculate condition with slick sand-based Greens. Clubhouse is currently a temporary arrangement - greater things are planned...Glasgow Gailes Architect: W. Park Jnr. (1912) 18 holes: 6,535yds: par 71
Glasgow Gailes is very different from the other golf courses in the Ayr area, being inland and bedecked with heather, it is a thoroughbred heathland course as opposed to the surrounding links. The land here is ideally suited to this style of course with plenty of low woodland sprouting from the firm, sandy soil to provide shade and shelter and a further golfing obstacle in addition to the blooming heather (stronger adjectives have occasionally been used!).Irvine (Bogside) Architect: J. Braid (1926) 18 holes: 6,423yds: par 71
Quite a way north of Troon and Prestwick, Irvine is an old heathland course that existed long before James Braid shaped it into its current form. Ostensibly a good, solid heathland course, Irvine also exhibits a few of the antique quirks that are fashionable in this part of the golfing world. One section of the course drops down to the river (hence the 'Bogside' soubriquet), there's a wee gully to cross and, a la Prestwick, a railway wall to steer clear of. Not often visited by touring golfers but well worth discovering.Prestwick St. Nicholas Architect: C. Hunter & J. Allan (1892) 18 holes: 5,416yds: par 69
The locals appear to keep this course a closely guarded secret and it's easy to see why. Although shorter on paper it can seem a lot longer on grass, especially when you add up the length of putts you can leave yourself on these slick swirling Greens. A Club where you will be playing alongside the locals and no doubt be treated to a few Scottish tales.
|Prestwick St. Cuthberts
Architect: J.R. Stutt (1898 & 1963)
18 holes: 6,470 yds: par 71
The third Golf Club in the little town of Prestwick and in marked contrast to the other two links courses. St. Cuthberts is a parkland layout over gently rising ground that leads from the Clubhouse up to the edge of the airport (it moved here in 1963 when the airport went international). Sheltered from the sea breezes it is a gentler test with the added novelty in this part of the world of trees! Friendly Clubhouse with a real locals feel.
"Thank you for all your help with our annual event in Troon. A fantastic place and wonderful support courses that you chose too."
"A great trip, I will never forget our day at Royal Troon - a very special place."