Scottish Golf Bucket List: South West Scotland

Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)

One of the finest links in the world, the Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry is a spectacular and challenging place to play. It sits on the Ayrshire coast, just north of Girvan, overlooking Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran. Acclaimed golf course architect Martin Ebert has carried out a number of course upgrades in recent years, including an extensive reworking of the ninth, tenth and eleventh holes, with jaw-dropping results. The best players in the world all rave about the Ailsa. Go and find out why.


The host venue for the inaugural Open Championship in 1860 - and 24 editions of the event in all – Prestwick is a ‘must’ for any golfer. A traditional links in every sense, it is fun from start to finish. The opening hole is one of the most nerve-wracking in the game, whilst the 17th (originally the second) is the oldest existing hole in championship golf. You’ll love it.

Royal Troon

Yet another Open Championship host venue, Royal Troon has staged the battle for the Claret Jug on nine occasions and will next do so in 2024. If you want to play authentic links golf, the way the game was intended to be played, this is the course for you. The short par-3 – the ‘Postage Stamp’ – enjoys most of the headlines but, in truth, there isn’t a single hole that disappoints. It’s a complete and thorough test, particularly when the wind whips up and cuts across the course.


Situated by the village of Southend on the south coast of the Kintyre Peninsula, Dunaverty is one of Scotland’s most criminally underrated courses. Spectacular views of Sanda Island to the south, Ailsa Craig and Ayrshire to the east and Northern Ireland to the south west complement a links that is absolutely brimming with charm and personality. If it doesn’t immediately jump into your top-10 favourite courses, we’ll be stunned.

The Machrie

Revitalised following a recent redesign, The Machrie is one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets – although maybe not for much longer! You’ll find it on the Isle of Islay, easily accessible by either sea or air just off the west coast of Scotland. The course is, in fact, just a five-minute drive from the airport and is a bona fide links in every conceivable sense. The on-site hotel has also been renovated and makes a tremendous base to explore a truly charming island. Whisky-lovers will particularly enjoy it, with nine working distilleries currently there and another two in development. Golf and whisky – what could be better?


Visitors are asked to be aware of the latest government restrictions relating to Covid-19. For more information go to the Scottish Government website and the VisitScotland website.


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