There’s no two ways about it, Ayrshire is an absolute paradise for golfers. You can find something to suit you whether you’ve been playing the game for years or want to try it out for the first time. After all, it’s said that the modern game started in Scotland so you’re in the right place!
There are around 50 golf courses in Ayrshire so you have plenty of choice. Staying here gives you the perfect opportunity to play on a links course. You can have a great game and take in some beautiful coastal views. We’ve been told that the risk of losing your ball into the sea is a great way to improve your accuracy! There are some great parkland courses too if you’d like a change of scenery.
There are plenty of courses for you to explore. To get you started, here are a few of our favourites.
West Kilbride Golf Club
Right here on the doorstep of Crosbie Towers, is the West Kilbride Golf Club. With stunning views and a long history, this is a course not to be missed.
The West Kilbride Golf Club lies on a beautiful strip of links land and raised beach adjacent to the coastal village of Seamill, West Kilbride and is the most northerly of Ayrshire’s true links courses. With its magnificent views of Arran, Bute and Cowal it makes a wonderful venue for the game and a fine test of golf.
In similar fashion to St. Andrews, the course follows an anti-clockwise route with a loop at the far end around the turn. Unlike St. Andrews though, out of bounds features frequently and nerves of steel are often required.
The entire course is exposed to even the slightest breeze but with the strongest of winds coming from the South West and North West these are the times you will experience links golf at its most demanding. Even in benign weather take care – holes like the 3rd and 13th will catch out those that release a careless drive (or second shot) and the 16th is a links masterpiece to relish.
Western Gailes Golf course and Glasgow Gailes Links
These two courses are a stones’ throw from each other. Glasgow Gailes Links is arguably a more challenging course so is perfect for experienced players. Of course, you could always play both and compare the two! They both offer a challenging game and wonderful views over to Arran.
Royal Troon is one of Scotland’s most famous courses and has played host to the Open Golf Championships since 1923. It is home to both the longest and shortest holes in Open Championship Golf. The shortest, known as the ‘Postage Stamp’, is particularly challenging. It’s earned that nickname by having a fairway measuring just 123 yards with a diminutive green at the end of it.
The Railway is also a highlight and one of the most difficult holes to play. The train line to Glasgow runs along one side. You’re also surrounded by gorse bushes. We wouldn’t want to chase a lost ball into one of those.
Dundonald Links is one of Ayrshire’s newer courses, having opened in 2005. It’s not far from Western Gailes and Glasgow Gailes, giving you the opportunity to explore locally and get some great games in the process.
The course has been designed to suit players of all abilities. Those in the know say that Dundonald could be an Open venue in the future, but for now it’s a great place for a relaxing game.
Prestwick Golf Course
If you fancy a challenging game with a side order of history, head to Prestwick. The course hosted the first Open championship in 1860 and was the sole venue until 1873. This is a great course for all abilities. That said, if you’re a beginner you can expect progress to be slow. We’ve heard that it’s hard to score well here but it’s a good test for your skills, no matter how long you’ve been playing.
We can’t mention Turnberry without telling you that it’s one of the courses owned by the current President of the United States. You won’t be surprised to learn that the sign bears his name. Turnberry is another Open championship host so it won’t surprise you to learn that it offers a challenging game. The Ailsa course is probably best left to more experienced golfers. We’ve heard that the first three holes are particularly tricky, especially when the wind is blowing in from the coast.
If you do visit Turnberry, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views of any course. The lighthouse and castle ruins are a particular highlight.
Have you visited any of these courses already? If you have, or if we’ve missed your favourite, please let us know.