fbpx
Rowallan Castle

This club is famous for… two castles and the first 19th hole in Europe

Colin Montgomerie’s first design is unusual for having not one, but two, citadels in the grounds, as well as a hole to settle all bets
 

What is it about golf and big huge buildings?

There only has to be the semblance of an historical property on a site and course designers have always fallen over themselves to construct sloping greens right next door.

Think Stoke Park, Moor Park, Adare Manor and you get the drift.

But one course can trump them all. For it boasts not one, but two, of the blighters in the grounds.

Rowallan Castle was Ryder Cup-winning captain Colin Montgomerie’s first foray into golf course design.

He teamed up with European Golf Design to produce a 7,000-yard parkland brute, known for some impenetrable bunkers and 1,000-year-old yew trees, in a £55 million project a decade ago.

Found a mere pitch away from some timeless links layouts on the Ayrshire coast – Royal Troon, Prestwick and Western Gailes to name just three – it needed something pretty special if it was going to hold its own in this landscape.

So how about a 13th century castle?

Rowallan Castle

The old Rowallan Castle stands on the bank of the Carmel Water and can be found if you look right when crossing the bridge over the water hazard on the attractive par 3 8th hole.

While the Renaissance castle has a long history – it’s believed King James I visited on his way from Edinburgh to England in the 1400s – much of the building you see when you place the course dates is from the 16th century onwards.

Want another fun fact? It’s believed the earliest known lute music in Scotland was composed at Rowallan Castle.

Notice, earlier, I said ‘old’. That’s because the estate has a second castle that now fronts the 18th green of the course.

The newer building is Victorian and was designed by the architect Robert Lorimer. It’s a popular venue for weddings – as well as providing a fine view for anyone finishing a round.

But if you find that 18 holes aren’t enough to force a result then you can capitalise on Rowallan Castle’s third oddity.

Rowallan Castle

It’s a fully-fledged 19th hole. It doesn’t even appear on the course planner, but the 155 yard hole, flanked by bunkers and a sloping green, deserves the name ‘The Decider’.

It was the first of its type of Europe and Monty nicknamed it the ‘money hole’ as it’s where bets would ultimately be settled.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

Latest Posts

short golf courses

Courses and Travel

What will it take for short courses to take off in Britain and why are we so dismissive of them?

By

Read full article about What will it take for short courses to take off in Britain and why are we so dismissive of them?
Rockliffe Hall

Courses and Travel

Rockliffe Hall: The hardest course in England

By

Read full article about Rockliffe Hall: The hardest course in England
Isle of Purbeck

Courses and Travel

Isle of Purbeck: The breathtaking course with a special backstory

By

Read full article about Isle of Purbeck: The breathtaking course with a special backstory
best hotels in dominican republic

Courses and Travel

Terrific Tortuga and wonderful Westin: Which Dominican Republic hotels should you stay in?

By

Read full article about Terrific Tortuga and wonderful Westin: Which Dominican Republic hotels should you stay in?
Stoneham Golf Club

Courses and Travel

Stoneham: This rare Willie Park heathland is a real treat

By

Read full article about Stoneham: This rare Willie Park heathland is a real treat
Leven Links

Courses and Travel

Leven Links: The first of its kind and one of the finest finishing holes in golf

By

Read full article about Leven Links: The first of its kind and one of the finest finishing holes in golf
dominican republic golf

Courses and Travel

Dye Fore and the Dog: Golf in the Dominican Republic is a dream

By

Read full article about Dye Fore and the Dog: Golf in the Dominican Republic is a dream
Hallamshire Golf Club

Courses and Travel

Hallamshire: From city centre to national park

By

Read full article about Hallamshire: From city centre to national park
Belton Park

Courses and Travel

Belton Park: Golf in a National Trust estate

By

Read full article about Belton Park: Golf in a National Trust estate