Western Gailes

For many golfers, this renowned course on the Ayrshire coast, just north of Troon, gets pretty close to pure links heaven.

It plays over a particularly slender links strip, often only two holes wide, between sea and railway, heading first north, then south for a long stretch, before a five-hole northward trek back to a central clubhouse.

 

Sand hills and sea views abound as you tackle one glorious links hole after another. The links dates back to 1897 and still has quite a traditional feel, but rarely relies on blind shots for protection, preferring to use the natural terrain and a number of deviously placed bunkers to make you think, along with the ever-present Firth breeze and some inconveniently located burns.

 

Its setting on the Firth of Clyde means it enjoys enviable views across to Arran and beyond. The sand hills may not be quite as towering as on those on some of our modern links courses, but few make as stunningly effective use of the natural routing between dune ridges as Western Gailes, where a number of holes play to isolated greens set in shallow natural amphitheatres.

The 6th and 7th greens stand out in this regard, with the par-3 latter having an amphitheatre feel for its entire length, on account of the dune ridge along the beach to the right and a slightly lower one flanking the left side.

 

Indeed, the coastal holes from the 5th through to the 13th rank among the very best links stretches you will encounter anywhere.

With golf being played in Dornoch since 1616, the course continues to challenge golfers and is a favourite of Tom Watson.

One of Scotlands hidden gems and easily on a par with the finest links courses in Scotland.

A classic parkland Championship course and a venue used for final qualifying for the Open Championship at St. Andrews.

© 2018 by Buchan & Byers Golf Tours Ltd.