Western Gailes Golf Club, Gailes, Ayrshire, Scotland
Ask many people making the circuit of Scotland’s great links which is their very favorite course, and you may be surprised at the results! For Western Gailes, about 15 minutes north of Troon, frequently tops the list. Although it is not normally mentioned in the same breath as the famous Open Championship venues, this glorious links, superbly located between the railway and the sea (with a wonderful entrance drive), is one worthy of great fame. Large dunes, cunning burns, fast greens, and terrific views of the Isle of Arran combine to make a beautiful challenge. The layout, with the clubhouse in the middle of the 2-holes-wide linksland, is an interesting twist on the traditional out-and-back design. Our favorite hole is the 7th, the par-3 “Sea Hole,” with a green hidden between a mammoth dune on the left and the beach on the right, with a deep, sleepered bunker hidden high and to the left. The course plays hard and fast, but the clubhouse should be played slowly, as it is a classic with one of the great locker rooms, and a cozy Smoke Room. Upstairs is a memorable club museum, with artifacts and photographs from Western Gailes’ illustrious past. One of the greatest of the Open Championship Final Qualifying Venues, this one is worthy of the Open itself! Do not miss Western Gailes if you are visiting Scotland’s west coast!