The Ayrshire coastline is blessed with some of Britain’s finest links courses, and Western Gailes is up there with the very best. Laid out in a figure of eight, the course has the railway track running down one side and the ocean running down the other. While the long, thin strip of linksland is typical of the west coast, the situation of the clubhouse in the middle is most unusual. This is links golf at its very best and the back nine is as hard as anywhere when the wind picks up. It usually blows from the west and makes the 17th hole one of the most difficult par fours you will ever tackle.
There are seven holes to the north and eleven to the south. Together with the line of dunes running down the coastal stretch from the 5th to the 13th holes, the out of bounds wall from the 14th onwards, the plentiful supply of pot bunkers plus the meandering burns, all combine to present variety and a memorable challenge.
Western Gailes is essential to include on any Ayrshire itinerary, along with the likes of Royal Troon, Prestwick and, of course, Turnberry. Formed in 1897, the club has hosted a number of prestigious tournaments, including the Scottish Amateur Championship, which returned for the eighth time to Western Gailes in 2011, the 1972 Curtis Cup, the 1964 PGA Championship, and in 2007 was host to the European Men’s Amateur Team Championship. It is often used as a qualifying venue for the Open.
Originally, golfers used to arrive at Gailes Station on the train from Glasgow. Unfortunately, the station was closed in the 1960s but Western Gailes remains a popular destination for those who live and work in the city. The clubhouse sits proudly overlooking the links, with views across the water to the Isle of Arran beyond. It offers players the perfect setting to relax after the challenge of the famous course.
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