The fairways of Ayrshire & Arran are steeped in prestige and rightly so. On a windy Wednesday morning in 1860, eight sportsmen stepped out onto the greens at Prestwick in what was the start of professional golf as we know it today. Did you know though that not only was Prestwick the host of the first Open Championship back in 1860, but it was also the location of the first known hole-in-one by ‘Young’ Tom Morris in 1868?
Start your golfing adventure by discovering the current Open Championship courses at Turnberry and Royal Troon, located within a few miles of each other. The Open returned to Ayrshire & Arran in 2009, cementing its reputation for stunning, world-class golf courses and its importance in golfing heritage, and will be back again in 2016 at Royal Troon.
The Open courses are open to the public, whether you just want to visit, or follow in the footsteps of golfing greats by putting your skills to the test. However, if you’re looking to play, be sure to book early to avoid disappointment.
While the remaining courses in Ayrshire & Arran may not share the same international limelight as the ‘Big Three’, they are an absolute joy for those who seek them out. The backbone of golf in Ayrshire & Arran remains the rich variety of courses scattered throughout this striking region. Whether you’re looking for links, heathland, parkland or moorland, there are courses to suit every ability and budget, including hidden gems like the two Gailes courses, Glasgow and Western, the 27-hole Kilmarnock Barassie or Dundonald.
No visit to this beautiful part of the world would be complete without experiencing some high quality island golf. Try Millport on the picturesque Isle of Cumbrae, one of oldest established courses in the Firth of Clyde founded in 1888. Designed by James Braid, the architect of some of Scotland’s greatest courses, the panoramic views over the links of Ailsa Craig, the Isles of Bute and Arran and the Cowal peninsula are unparalleled.
The nearby Isle of Arran boasts seven courses across the island, including the 12-hole Shiskine course, ranked among the top 100 courses in the UK. Arran offers the best of what Scotland has to offer on a small island, with mountains, lochs, rolling hills and coastline providing the perfect backdrop for other active outdoor pursuits. Why not also plan a visit the island’s only distillery and sample a dram of the local poison?
For excellent value for money, get an Arran Golf Pass which is valid for a whole year for all seven of the island courses. Check out the Ayrshire Open Qualifier Card for access to three of the Open Championship qualifying venues or the South Ayrshire Golf Pass which permits six rounds on eight courses over seven consecutive days.
Make sure you order the Ayrshire & Arran golf guide to find out more.