Scotland’s Ayrshire County is teeming with rich golfing history. It starts with a walk on the same Ailsa Course fairways at Trump Turnberry that tested Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson during their famous “Duel in the Sun” more than 40 years ago. After exploring Dundoland Links, it’s on to the birthplace of The Open, Prestwick Golf Club, where a discreet collection of stones on the first hole marks the location where the very first Open tee-shot was struck. You can’t get more historic than that! And every day at Royal Troon Golf Club, golfers play the shortest hole in Open Championship golf, where the aptly named “postage stamp” green welcomes only the most accurate of tee shots.
Turnberry Golf Club – Ailsa Course
Prestwick Golf Club
Western Gailes Golf Club
Royal Troon Golf Club
Elsewhere in Ayrshire County, travelers can visit Western Gailes Golf Club, a hidden gem layout that has welcomed legendary players such as Harry Vardon, Gene Sarazen, and Gary Player. Only a stone’s throw—really two average length par 4s—away, a more modern hidden gem, Dundonald Links, allows avid amateurs a chance to play 18 holes that once hosted the first stage of the European Tour Qualifying School and more recently hosted the Scottish Open. Just how appealing is a round of golf played on this lesser-known course? Scotland’s own Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion, asserts that Dundonald Links has “the feel of a classic Ayrshire Links test.”
Adventurous golf travelers can even take a day trip to Machrihanish Golf Club, a historic links layout designed by Old Tom Morris, where the first hole is a 424-yard par 4 that requires a tee shot hit over the Atlantic Ocean. Jack Nicklaus once deemed it the best opening hole in all of golf.