Turnberry, Ailsa – The Westin Turnberry Resort, Maidens Rd, Turnberry, Ayrshire KA26 9LT
Colin Montgomerie, describes it as “the finest links course in the world”, a fact emphasised when he was happy to put his name to a Golf Academy at the resort. The course commands stunning views of both Ailsa Craig and Arran and the ninth hole, the ‘Lighthouse’ is one of the most photographed holes in the world. Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus have a special memory of the Ailsa Course, the pair having their famous ‘duel in the sun’ there in the 1977 Open Championship.
Turnberry, Kintyre – The Westin Turnberry Resort, Maidens Rd, Turnberry, Ayrshire KA26 9LT
Building on the challenges laid down by the famous old Arran course, the Kintyre is links golf at its exhilarating best. There are undulating greens, glorious fairways bordered by thick rough and magnificent ocean holes, all with stunning views of Kintyre, Arran, and the famous Turnberry Lighthouse. With a par of 72 and its length sitting at 6, 827 yards the Kintyre is certainly tough on the legs. Saying that, the view that greets you from the brow of Bain’s Hill is just one moment among many you’ll want to savour. Unseen from the tee, the 8th green is in a cove that seems to merge with the craggy beach beyond – simply beautiful.
Belleisle – Belleisle Park, Doonfoot Road, Ayr KA7 4DU
Situated within the Belleisle Estate with spectacular views over Arran, the course was founded in 1927 and is the work of James Braid. Indeed, far from simply bowing to the increasing demand for another course, Braid ensured this creation would boast natural features and blend into the local landscape.
Seafield – Belleisle Park, Doonfoot Road, Ayr KA7 4DU
This is the sister course to Belleisle and, although a litter shorter (only three of its holes are over 400 yards), Seafield is much tighter and by no means a walkover. It is a rather hazardous course with precarious bunkers and small greens. It has witnessed significant re-styling and development in recent years.
Prestwick – Links Road, Prestwick, Ayrshire KA9 1QG
Prestwick, St Cuthbert – East Road, Prestwick, Ayrshire KA9 2SX
The Ayrshire course holds a special place in the golfing history books, having been the venue for the first-ever Open Championship back in 1860. It last staged an Open in 1925 but the Americans in particular love Prestwick and its often unique test of golf.
Royal Troon’s Old Course is one of the finest links courses in the world..
Royal Troon Portland – Craigend Road, Troon, Ayrshire, KA10 6EP
Unfairly overshadowed by its bigger brother, Portland is a genuine links course and very similar in style to the Old, although it’s a little shorter and more forgiving. A major plus point is that it remains in excellent condition throughout the year.
Fullarton – Harling Drive, Troon, KA10 6NE
Troon Fullarton is the little sister to Darley and Lochgreen, but is in no way a lesser challenge or note worthy of your undivided attention. It may be short at 4, 869-yards and with a par of 64, but it certainly has a bite to it at times and has unnerved many a talented player in its day, especially if the wind picks up.
Ballochmyle – Catrine Road, Mauchline, Ayrshire KA5 6LE
This is a traditional Scottish club in the heart of Burns Country where the locals are known to quote poetry in the atmospheric clubhouse.
From tricky well-maintained greens to lush tight fairways, there’s plenty to keep you occupied during your round.
Caprington – Ayr Road, Caprington, Kilmarnock KA1 4UW
This is a public course situated to the south of Kilmarnock with a par of 68. It is a parkland setting in the grounds of Caprington Estate and provides the golfer with an enjoyable experience throughout the year.
Whilst not being the most difficult to play, it is well worth visiting as it has some excellent feature holes.
Girvan – Golf Course Road, Girvan, Ayrshire KA26 9HW
Girvan shares the same stunning views towards Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde as its more illustrious neighbour, Turnberry. The course was designed by James Braid, after whom the first hole was named, and has had few alterations since its inception in 1902.
It was amended during the war when much of its land was given over to potato planting. Girvan’s recovery was well achieved and, although not championship standard, it provides a golfing test of considerable charm
Dundonald – Ayr Road, Irvine KA11 5BF
Dundonald Links is owned by Loch Lomond Golf Club but open for visitor play and Membership. Designed by Kyle Phillips, one of the game’s top architects (also Kingsbarns and The Grove), it has been recognised as one of the best new courses in the world (Robb Report 2004) and features in the Top 100 UK & Ireland. Situated by the sea near the legendary town of Troon, Dundonald’s soil and climate conditions make the course suitable for year-round play. “My desire was to create a championship Ayrshire-style links course that felt and played as though it was an old rediscovered course, by integrating newly constructed features with existing site features.” – Kyle Phillips, course designer
In its short history, the course has played host to a number of professional and amateur tournaments
(North) Gailes – Marine Drive, Irvine KA11 5AE
The opening of North Gailes, a superb new golf and health complex on the Ayrshire coast, has given golf in Ayrshire a breath of fresh air.
The facility features a superb new course called ‘The Short Classics’, where every hole draws inspiration from the greatest par threes in the world.
Annanhill – Irvine Road, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire KA3 2RT
This is a public course situated on the outskirts of Kilmarnock. Parkland in nature and with a par of 71 it is located in the grounds of the Annanhill estate. Its tree-lined fairways are fairly wide, so wayward shots are not so greatly punished.
The feature hole is the par three, 13th where you play across a valley to a raised, small green heavily guarded by bunkers. The hole is reminiscent of the famous Postage Stamp at Royal Troon. Leave with a par and you’ve done very well.
Irvine Ravenspark Course – Ravenspark, Kidsneuk Lane, Irvine, Ayrshire, KA12 8SR
Situated in the heart of Ayrshire by Irvine lies Ravenspark Golf Course. Ravenspark has been changed in recent years giving it two distinct halves. The older back nine is a more rolling links style layout. The front nine is not quite so chartacterful but should not be taken lightly.
Irvine, Bogside Course – Bogside, Irvine, Ayrshire KA12 8SN
Irvine ‘Bogside’ Golf Club nestles near some of the big names in Ayrshire with Royal Troon and Old Prestwick not too far away.
This stretch of Scottish coastline is ideal for links golf and Bogside, which rolls and bobs over ancient dune terrain, divided by gorse and lots of heather, is just one of many great courses in the area.
Ardeer – Greenhead Avenue, Stevenston, Ayrshire, KA20 4LB
Ardeer is an undulating parkland course that has matured superbly and with some great views of the Firth of Clyde. Designed by Stutt, the course was opened for play in 1966.
A large number of trees were planted to border the generous, lush fairways, with the two burns that flow through the layout coming into play at several holes.
Auchenharvie – Moonpark Road West, Stevenston KA20 3HU
Auchenharvie is situated between the town of Stevenson and Saltcoats and is a nine-hole course that can be played as an 18-hole.
The course is one that looks easy to play, but, in fact, is quite a challenge with two water featured holes, long par threes and tight narrow greens. The feature hole would have to be the par four third. A slight dog-leg left, trouble lurks in the form of water to the left of the hole
Beith – Threepwood Road, Beith, Ayrshire KA15 2JR
Beith is a hilly parkland course with spectacular views over the Clyde Coast and surrounding areas.
Converted to 18 holes in 1996 with the addition of nine new holes, the rolling fairways, small undulating greens, along with the strong winds ensure the course is a tough, but fair test for golfers of all levels.