Royal Troon – For an Open test

Purists place it down the list of Open rota courses – but they are wrong, writes club editor Steve Carroll.

It may not have the Road Hole, but who needs that when you’ve got the Postage Stamp?

The opening stretch, looking out towards Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran, gives a chance to build a score but the sting in Royal Troon’s tail comes during the underrated back nine.

Come out of Railway, Burmah, Alton and Crosbie in one piece and you can enjoy a glorious finish in front of the clubhouse. It doesn’t get much better.

Archerfield – For service and style

While primarily a private members’ club (with a contemporary feel and high service levels), you can experience Archerfield as a visitor, writes editor Dan Murphy.

Located between Gullane and North Berwick, there are two outstanding modern courses designed by Senior Tour pro DJ Russell.

The Fidra’s front nine winds through pines while the Dirleton’s defences are whin bushes lining the fairways and contoured greens that can see your ball trickle away into hollows and run-off-areas.

It’s a treat to visit, both on and off the course.

Irvine – For a true Scottish experience

Located just a chip away from heavyweights Troon and Prestwick, Irvine belongs in such illustrious company, writes production editor James Broadhurst.

It has the feeling of a links but without the sea as the main feature. Irvine is full of quirky features and unforgettable holes.

The standout moment is when you stride up to the tee box on the par-4 4th and the daunting task ahead hits home.

A railway line runs down the entire left-hand side of the hole, while the River Irvine waits menacingly behind the raised green. Pure theatre.