Out & about: South West Scotland
Home to the likes of Royal Troon and Turnberry, experience championship courses steeped in history and discover hidden gems, castles and distilleries off the course...
This area perhaps does not get as much attention as it deserves but there are no doubts that this area of Scotland is a Links Golf mecca. Not only does the area boast three courses that have held or currently still host the British Open (Prestwick, Turnberry and Royal Troon) but the region also has some terrific hidden gems with Dundonald Links set to host the European Tour’s Scottish Open this year the week leading up to the Open Championship.
Where to stay
Troon – A relatively small town but has a lovely Victorian feel to it with the old buildings and coastal location. There are some good spots to eat and drink in the evenings, perfect for a short stay.
The Piersland House Hotel is a firm favorite, this old house which has been converted into a hotel used to be the former residence of the Whisky maker Johnnie Walker. This 4* option has good, spacious rooms and a lovely onsite restaurant. It is also located directly opposite the entrance to Royal Troon Golf Club making it an ideal vantage point to play that famed links course.
Trump Turnberry Resort – For those looking for the highest quality then look no further than this resort. 5* service and quality as well as boasting two excellent links courses (Ailsa Course being an Open Championship host) makes this place one of the finest golfing venues in the country. It is expensive so be prepared to pay but you can guarantee yourself an excellent experience should you elect to include this place during your trip.
Where to play
Royal Troon and Turnberry (Ailsa) are the two standout names of this area, with the Ailsa Course at Turnberry arguably being the finest in the area since the changes have been made to the course. Steeped in history and superb courses at least one of these should be included in your golf itinerary if visiting the southwest of Scotland.
If ‘hidden gems’ is your thing then a trip to Dundonald Links should be on the agenda. This recently designed course (2003) is situated just 15 minutes north of Troon and is a real treat to play. A fantastic layout with lots of tee options makes this an interesting challenge. Expect this course to gain in popularity after it hosts the Scottish Open later this year.
Continuing with hidden gems, anyone looking to great bang for their buck should play at Gailes Links. Again situated very close to Troon this course is a regular qualifying course for the British Open if it is being held in this region. A strong layout, this is also the home of the oldest amateur golfing event in the world – The Tennant Cup.
Things to see & do away from the course
Whilst there may not be as many sightseeing opportunities as say the Highlands, there are still some interesting places to visit. Culzean Castle is a fantastic clifftop castle in great condition and if you have the time you can also visit the Isle of Arran. Often labelled as ‘Scotland in miniature’ this place about 45 mins ferry ride off the coast of Scotland has everything from mountains to lochs, to castles to distilleries and can be done in a day trip by utilizing the numerous ferries from Ardrossan.
Quieter than other iconic golfing spots such as St Andrews, for nightlife around here the pubs are the best places to visit, our recommendations include McKays, Lonsdale and Old Loans Inn (the latter if you want a nice beer garden to enjoy a drink during the long Summer days)
Flights can be found into Glasgow International which is the closest airport to this region. For the serious golfer this area should be included in your itinerary and often works best when combined with St Andrews to create the ultimate Links Golf tour.
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