Prestwick, a great links experience

Prestwick Clubhouse
Prestwick Clubhouse and 18th Green

Prestwick Golf Club is one of the most recognized names in the world of golf.  A private members club founded in 1851 that become birthplace for the Open Championship when first played in 1860.  Indeed this year marks the 150th anniversary of the first championship being played and a members dinner is planned with past Open Champions in attendance to mark the occasion.   A recent round over this wonderful links venue reinforced my belief that the members and club staff equally provide one of the friendliest visitor experiences you will encounter on a visit to Scotland.  The Clubhouse is delightfully traditional and full of character with great memorabilia for those with a keen interest in the history of golf.

The par 5 3rd hole
The par 5 3rd hole

Prestwick is a course that needs to be played at least once in your life, it is traditional Scottish links and a monument to the game of golf.  For the first time visitor a caddie is certainly recommended as there are a number of blind shots which without local knowledge you will struggle to pick the right line or club.  The undulating greens are fast and true matching the curvaceous nature of the rolling fairways and despite a very hard winter in Scotland in excellent condition.   Following a wonderful lunch, foursomes golf (alternate shot) was the order of play.  A unique game that really tests you and the patience of your partner! On a dry chilly day with a stiff breeze blowing scoring was difficult.  The only real highlight for our pairing was at the 8th hole, a long testing par 4 at the far end of the course.  A good drive chased over the hill between the fairway bunkers onto the flat leaving a mid iron to the green.  The green was found following a good shot that deserved to chase up to the flag, but a soft bounce left a 30+ foot putt uphill, the long putt that followed disappeared into the can for a great birdie three!

For those with Prestwick on their schedule this year enjoy your day and if still in the planning stages be sure to include Prestwick as a must play.  For further information this article in Links Magazine is a good read.  Click here

Western Gailes…Another of Scotland’s Hidden Gems

Scotland is home to many of the world’s finest courses.  In addition to the many Open Championship venues and bigger name courses, it is also home to some great courses which many people may not be aware of.  I would consider Western Gailes to be one of the best ‘hidden gems’ around; situated about 10 minutes from Troon, the course is a true test of links golf and one which I consider to be a ‘must play’ if you spend any time in the Ayrshire area.  Turnberry, Troon and Prestwick are all within striking distance of the course.

Normally I struggle to enjoy a golf course if I play badly, but Western Gailes is one of the few exceptions to my rule.  I remember being 6 over par and 3 balls lighter after 4 holes when I played, I also managed to break my pull cart (not through anger!) yet still managed to enjoy my round.  My fingers are crossed for another chance to play there this year and I will definitely be putting in some hours on the range to iron out my erratic driving.

Click here for more information on the course.

By Gary Sheppard.  Gary has been with PerryGolf for over 3 years and is one of our Golf Travel Specialists.