Why Ayrshire is a Must Visit Scottish Golf Destination

Ayrshire Golf in a Nutshell and Why You Should Plan You Next Trip There!


With a memorable Open Championship having recently been played at Royal Troon, and one that will undoubtedly be remembered in decades to come, it has rightly brought Ayrshire, on Scotland’s West Coast, to the forefront of attention once again. When you consider the competition of St. Andrews, East Lothian and the Highlands, this is a region for golf that maybe doesn’t quite receive the credit that it deserves.

Despite the natural reverence towards the Old Course in Fife, it’s worth recalling that the birthplace of the game’s oldest major was just down the road from Troon at Prestwick in 1860. There are many quality courses in Ayrshire these days, not least the revamped Ailsa at Turnberry, but they don’t have the romantic charm that you experience on this historic old links.

It must be said that you have to be accepting of blind shots and the quirks of a course that has retained its original intent, but if that is something you are receptive of, then Prestwick is tremendous fun to play. There are some wonderful holes, including the first alongside the railway and the brilliant third, while the famous Sahara bunker can be found on the 17th.

Elsewhere, the aforementioned Ailsa at Turnberry has been unquestionably improved by the recent changes; which have replaced the previously lacklustre holes around the turn with some that are genuinely dramatic and make the most of the course’s stunning location.

Royal Troon itself is one of the least distinctive courses on the Open rotation, despite the championship history, particularly on the front-nine, but its formidable second half (not to forget the Postage Stamp) are worth taking on for the challenge.

In terms of getting there, Glasgow Airport is less than 40 miles away, so it’s more than accessible for international visitors and various local carriers fly into Prestwick Airport. The town of Prestwick itself is fairly non-descript but nearby Ayr is larger place with more bars and restaurants as well as a famed racecourse. It also has numerous hotels and B&Bs, which is handy if you aren’t staying at Turnberry or the Marine Hotel that overlooks Troon.

Having Scotland’s largest city just a short drive away is a huge asset. There is so much to do in Glasgow, from sporting event and entertainment to cultural and historic. It’s a wonderful place to spend time, and it may even be worth basing yourself there for the entire vacation and electing to drive down to the coast each day to play the courses.

Ultimately, much like East Lothian which is near Edinburgh, the strength of Ayrshire is the sheer abundance of courses, which range from the likes of Western Gailes, Dundonald Links (venue of the 2017 Scottish Open) and Irvine Bogside, to the excellent municipals of Troon. However, for some of us, the majesty of Prestwick still reigns supreme.

If you are planning a golf vacation to Ayrshire or the British Isles, please contact our team of golf specialists at Golfbreaks.com, and we will be delighted to help you plan your trip. And, as always, we’ll save you time and money!


Kieran Clark

Author, Kieran Clark

I began playing golf at the age of five on the Isle of Bute in Scotland. It was the start of a relationship that hasn’t waned, with it becoming a mission to tick off as many courses as possible, with the Old Course at St. Andrews being my favourite. I love everything that it represents. After securing a degree in history at the University of Stirling, I have attempted to establish a career as a freelance golf journalist to express my love for the game and Scotland. And I relish any opportunity to share that adoration with anyone willing enough to read.