23 reviews of Machrihanish Golf Club
My mate Billy and I chose to play The Machrihanish at the start of April and take advantage of the £40 green fees. After a "hawf an' a pint" in the beautiful Old Clubhouse Bar, we were ready to face The Best Opening Hole In Golf, and successfully landed on the fairway to begin what is one of the best and challenging links courses there is. Since the layout uses only the natural terrain, there are many blind shots, but as long as you try to stay on the fantastic fairways, it is possible to card a decent score. Perhaps it was because it was early in the season, but most of the greens were not the best we've experienced. I must disagree with a lot of comments regarding the last two holes. The 17th requires a fair drive to carry the burn, and the 18th is the perfect finishing hole to grab a well earned birdie and send you home with a smile as wide as Machrihanish Bay.
A lot written here so I'll be brief. It's wonderful in the main but, at the risk of sounding like a heretic it's maybe only worth the drive down if you're going to play Machrihanish Dunes too, or if you've played the other Scottish 'big guns' that are easier to get to.
Machrihanish 'Old' (don't call it that in front of the members)is great value if you don't count the cost of getting and probably staying there. The much-discussed drive at the first is a cracking start but not as tough as I had expected, there's a lot of room for error. Most of the other holes are challenging as it's always going to be windy. That said, there are a number of birdie opportunities and with some local knowledge this could be a course to score well on, especially as the course is kept in pretty much perfect condition.
A quick word on Machrihanish Dunes as I can't seem to find it on this site. It really is an extraordinary golf course. David Mclay Kidd has created something quite astonishing here. The twighlight rate of 30 quid is the best value golf in Scotland, although because it's build on protected land you have to take some long walks between tees and you'll be at least 4 hours. Don't worry, you'll still wish it was more. This place will become iconic.
So, visit Kintyre and play both courses - and have a night out in Campbeltown while you're at it. You won't forget that in a hurry either.
Best links in Scotland. Period. Puts a spell on you right from the very start. Not just big hits with giga drivers but smart play is what you need and a lot of creativity to shape your shots (you can hit short iron from the tee and approach elevated green with a long iron; try it on Gigha, hole 8). Kintyre could't impress me (long and boring journey) but this course is worth any trip to get there. Unspoilt roots of golf are here to be found for a bargain green fee. I did not reserve a tee time but was hitting the ball within 20 minutes on arrival. Where can you find such an easy access to such a fine course. I'll be back. Definitely!
After reading about Machrihanish, I developed an obsession about making the long drive to see whether the "legends" were true. On the day we played, there were 40-knot winds and my wife was miserable, making it tough for me to disguise the fact that I was having the time of my life! Machrihanish was much more than I expected.
However, I beg to differ on two issues most commonly written: 1) The "Battery" is not an intimidating hole ... it would be if there was a "gorse penalty" for driving thru the fairway (which I did). 2) I found the two closing holes a really enjoyable "wind-down" from the concentration needed during the prior holes.
In support of one of the other posts, Dunaverty is a recommended play while down in the area. It's a really short but fun course with spectacular ocean holes that rival any other I've seen in Scotland ... and my wife loved it :-)
First class true links course. A sign says that it was designed by Tom Morris but the reality is that the natural beauty of the scenery was designed by God himself. The Atlantic, sand dunes, hills and hollows make this course a well worth trip, the superbly maintained greens are just a bonus. The first hole is surely the finest in the world of golf; a 400+ yard par-4 driving across Machrihanish bay.
Editing update from previous entry: The B @ B should have read Ardell House instead of Argyll. Very neat place. Owner David Baxter is a very nice Scottish gentleman. And I forgot to add my struggles on the inward 9----a 45 for a round of 81.
Wow! Step back in time and play this wonder. What a setting. Played in a club competition on August 3 and was it a fantastic experience. It was a roller coaster round as I shot 36 on the front (2 bouble bogeys---but 4 birdies and a 40 foot putt holed for par on #5). I had a bad caddie--but that has now just made for a funny story. He was trying to club me (he was terrible at this) and I kept asking for yardage. I asked for the distance at #3 and he said "6-iron". I said I need an actual yardage please. He replied "6-iron". I airmailed the green with an 8-iron and his reply was " the 6-iron was right you just have to hit it easy". Such logic would indicate a 1-iron might have been right.
Clubhouse serves wonderful dinner meals. Argyll House makes a wonderful B & B overlooking the first hole from across the road. Please put on your agenda if you go to Scotland. Allow 2 days for this place.
Played the Rotary Open on 10th August 2002.
What a bargain for 12 quid to the club
golfer who can afford the 6 hour round trip
from Glasgow! We got one of the best days
of the summer so far and the course was an
absolute joy to play - very fair, not too
many blind shots and the greens in excellent
shape. Will be back next year if God spares
us.The home made soup at lunch time was
delicious and a reasonably priced evening meal
rounded the day off nicely before heading home.
Our three ball had all recently played at
Kingsbarns and think that is a brilliant track
but Machrihanish runs it close - you get a
feeling of stepping back in time a little here
to a time when golf was a very simple,
uncomplicated sporting pursuit. It was also
hard to believe the layout of the course was
such that huge tracts of land beside the dunes
were not used as an integral part of the course.
Do yourself a favour and set aside a day to play
a round here - you will not be disappointed.
You could almost construct another course within
the existing course.
My wife and I have just returned from our first trip to Scotland. We played links from Western Gailes, to Royal Dornoch, to St. Andrews. Each place we played was impressive in it's own way, but none could compare to the feeling of playing at Machrihanish. The dunes that separated the tees, the remote location, and the excellent curve of the bay with it's vigorous surf all contributed to the feeling of playing golf at "the end of the world". Other courses are rewarding because of their difficulty, their sense of history, their aesthetics. Machrihanish has all of these and great holes besides. What is truly unique, however, is the feeling of having travelled a long way to get there, and of the journey having been well worth it. We took a ferry from Androssan to Brodick, drove around Arran to Lochranza, took a ferry to Clonaig and drove the B road down the coast to Campbeltown. Each mile felt further away from the "known" in the best possible way. By the time we came around the corner the next morning and the linksland and the bay came into view, it felt like we were completing a long journey. This was excellent, as it put the round in context. In fact, we played twice, the first time my wife had ever done so in the same day. The majority of the holes are outstanding, the course is "linksy". It is difficult to shoot one's best score on the first try, but the course is not as difficult as the other championship courses we played. It is difficult to fit this course on a touring agenda, but as many have said, it really is worth it.
The final stop for the London posse (and Bristol monkey) on the Scotland 2002 summer tour. By this stage, we were all pretty knackered!
yet delighted to be somewhere so beautifully remote and excited at the thought of tackling a course that had come with so many rave reviews.
The first hole is all that we expected. Voted Best opening hole in the world, its not difficult to see why as you ponder how much of the beach youre going to cut off with your drive.
You then get into a series of fantastic medium-length Par 4s which take you to the turn, twisting through the dunes as if guided by a natural force. However, given even semi-favourable conditions, with the added absence of fairway bunkers, theres the prospect of scoring very well here. It sounds so blindingly obvious but if you can keep your ball out of the rough stuff (very difficult to find it when it goes in there) then youll be heading in the right direction.
The interruptions to the front nine are a great little Par 3 at 4, Jura, and a much more demanding Par 4 at 7, Bruach More, with a long, completely blind approach to the green.
There is more of a mix of length after the turn, with two Par 5s and three Par 3s (theres also the slightly spooky sight of the post-Cold War Campbeltown military airfield, apparently now virtually disused). Having said that, arguably the best hole of the back nine is another Par 4, Kilkivan, which apart from anything has a green that must really give some players sleepless nights.
Speaking of greens, they are absolutely gigantic and by far the largest Ive ever played. Although not as lightning quick as other links courses, they are still amazingly consistent and an absolute pleasure to putt on.
I also agree with previous comments about the pro being a bit of a miserable bugger and the last two holes being rather average given what has preceded them.
Overall, though, its definitely worth the journey down the peninsula but I think theres better out there in Scotland.
If you are in Scotland for links golf you must play this course. Fairways and greens truly follow the lay of the land with undulations and scenery galore. Schedule to stay over and play it more than once or be sorry when leaving.
The drive is not bad if you take the ferry one way. Saltcoats near Troon to Isle of Arran with an unusual drive along the shore to the ferry on the otherside which puts in on the peninsula across from Campbeltown. The ferrys run often and adds a new scenic dimension to your trip. The short drive across Arron is different than anywhere else. The road hugs the shoreline at water level and the quaint houses are so close to the road you could carry on a conversation with someone inside. This is a much better way than the long drive only to having to double back when leaving.
The fair Pamela and I played here in early November of 1997 and had the course to ourselves for two days of cloudy, warmish weather. She tries to shoot her weight, not her age, and succeeded, breaking 100 on the second day. I shot 98 day 1 and 82 day 2. I'd like to say that I learned the course in one day but actually on day 2 there was hardly any wind. The fair Pamela had not been thrilled to travel halfway across Scotland to play a course that is just a (very) strong swim from the Irish coast, but now she cherishes the experience and burnishes it in her memory. Alas we will not again travel together to golf at Macrihanish but what a grand time it was on a grand and glorious hump of lonely ground in the gentle gray light.
Utterly magnificent. This is without doubt the best course in Scotland and if it were nearer the main areas of population would be used for some serious competitions. Must agree with previous comment re pro - what a torn-faced wretch.
Members and clubhouse staff v friendly though.
Based on the Into the Linksland, reviews read here and a an e-mail or two from Lawrence as listed above, I traveled the 4 plus hours to Machrihanish with great excitement. The course did not disappoint. I played 4 rounds in three days and for my first real Scottish links experience, it was the greatest. I played the first 18 alone and I am sure I was the only one on the course. The scenery is stunning, and as a 3 handicapper, as much of a challenge as anyone could ask for. 8 par fours on the front and with the wind in your face as I played it for three consecutive days, a real test. I would recommend this course to anyone. Designed by Old Tom, and according to a member I spoke with, not a change in the last thirty years and he did not think there was a change in the previous thirty. The greens were the best I played in Scotland. Better than both St. Andrews and Carnoustie. The 17 and 18 holes are weak its true, but in a tight match, as potential birdy holes are a still a great finish. The club house staff were friendly, although the pro could use a little lightening up. A piece of advice would be to bring your own pencil or be prepared to pay for one. I would recommend this course to anyone.
I have been going to this course on am a semi annual basis for the last 12 years and can honestly say that it is without doubt my number one golfing pleasure. The reason is simply that the course never plays the same way on consecutive rounds, the weather constantly changes and therefore strategy is the key.AS an example, my friends & I played last weekend sept 11th and we hit 5/6 irons into the par 3 11th hole 197 yds, following day one of our fourball holed in one, but this time with a 3 wood. The views are staggering and I sincerly doubt that there is anywhere else in Scotland to match the vistas across to Islay, Jura & Gigha, the locals warn you though that if you can see these islands that it is about to rain and if you can't then it is already raining. Lastly the condition of the course both greens and fairways is just superb and I echo the other comments about the welcome and the friendliness of the clubhouse.Dont just take my word for it, go play this course, meet the wonderful people there, then you too will want to visit it time and time again
An outstanding course, truly links in nature, and well worth the long travel to get there. Set amid rugged and tumbling sand dunes, and exposed to the wind and weather, Machrihanish may represent the truest test of links golf in Scotland. The opening hole gets all the publicity, and the drive from the first tee is thrilling, but I'm not sure the first hole ranks even among the top half of what this course has to offer. Once you pitch to the insanely contured second green, you're playing golf in, around, on top of, and on the side of sand dunes carved with fairways and greens for the next 14 holes. Nos. 3 through 8 are particularly outstanding, and No. 5, Punch Bowl, is probably the best par 4 I've ever played. Nos. 17 and 18 are a bit of a letdown, as you emerge from the dunes and return to the flat land leading back to the clubhouse. Still, the last two give you a chance for some good numbers on the card after the tumult of the previous 16. The clubhouse is friendly, and you can even buy the club tie at the bar. Several B&B's and guest houses (Ardell House is a fine choice) are within walking distance of the course, and nearby Campbeltown offers some good dining and fine single malts. A true golfing destination.
I echo what Tim Wills says. Machrihanish is a \r\ngreat course (I played it in a driving rain and \r\nstill enjoyed every minute). In fac I have two extra days this month in Scotland and I will drive the 8 hours one way to play it.
It's enchanting, magical and addictive. When the sun shines it's even better. \r\nIt really is 9 out and 9 back and when you're out, you're out with all the forces of nature.\r\nI want my ashes scattered on the course because if God exists he's played here.\r\n
Machrihanish is a gem. I went to Machrihanish after reading Michael Bamberger's great book 'To the Linksland', he did not oversell the beauty and charm of Machrihanish. The course is unique, no other links really compare. I loved the remoteness of the place, and the feeling that you have a secret place in the world that hardly anyone else knows about. The drive down the Mull of Kintyre is beautiful. If you have the chance to visit Machrihanish, let's keep it our secret.\r\n
Played Machrihanish on 24/5/98: It was the best course and most\r\nbeautiful course I have ever played. It's well worth the long\r\ndrive to play this course.
Played 5 rounds in 3 days in 1994 and count this special time as the highlight of 3 weeks in Scotland. The 1st hole is probably the best 1st hole in the world! This is a hidden jewel, and I hope it stays that way until my return. Excellent accomodation at the Dellwood B & B Hotel in Campbeltown. Good food at the Machrihanish Golf Club daily, and also a good meal at the Beachcomber Pub almost next door to the golf clubhouse. For a "fun" round, the DUNAVERTY GOLF CLUB at Southend provided much enjoyment and excellent views....but only if you have extra time before or after Machrihanish.
I believe that Machrihanish is quietly one of the crown jewels of Scottish golf. I played there on a combined golf/sightseeing holiday back in July 1992 accompanied by my wife. Set on the very tip of the Kintyre Peninsula, this golf course may seem remote and not worth the effort to reach given there are so many other incredible Scottish links to play. We actually ended up staying at a fabulous B&B directly across from the 18th green for one week of our two week vacation. The course is so incredibly rugged, simply carved out of the dunes as it meanders along the coast and back to town again. This links course makes St. Andrews look like a cushy country club. Do you want a true test of the Scottish links-style golfing experience? If so, this course is the one for you. Good accomadations, excellent food, and very friendly folks to welcome you in the clubhouse after your grueling (but rewarding) round. Oh, by the way, I'm american, and my experience golfing at Machrihanish and in Scotland has for ever changed how I look at playing the game. Also read a book called To The Linksland (US pub.) for excellent description of Machrihanish and the Scottish golf experience in general. Happy golfing. msgs to cfschlo@usinet.:)))
correction: described by Tom Morris as "Designed by the Almighty for playing golf" good food in town at the Palm Bistro on the waterfront, run by Andy and Karen McNee
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