The Independent Golfer

Magellan's Travel Supplies

Golf courses in the southwest


For an adventure with incredible golf, isolation from the hustle and bustle of the modern world, and memorable attractions along the way (from Neolithic archeological sites to whisky distilleries) there is no better than Scotland's southwest.

Because of the golf courses' remoteness and the need to use ferry boats to gain access (an advantage to the Independent Golfer because of few tourists and low green fees) I recommend "rambling", that is, staying 2-3 days in one place and 2-3 days in another. This strategy enables you to play the best Scotland golf courses two, three or even more times, which they certainly deserve.

Though spread apart, many Scotland Golf courses in the Southwest are exceptional for their beauty, the quality of play and the reasonableness of green fee prices.

Bases for Rambling
There are three "bases" that lend themselves to 2-3 night stays and offer access to the best of this region's courses:

  • The Kintyre Peninsula - This is the home of the Machrihanish Golf Course, simply one of the best links courses in the world. You have to play this course in your lifetime!
  • The Island of Arran - A weekend and summer vacation destination popular among Scots and indeed folks from all over Great Britain. This small island boasts seven golf courses, at least three of which certainly deserve play when you visit.
  • The Island of Islay - The single Scotland golf course that makes the trip to Islay worth while is the Machrie Hotel Course, one of the most remote, unspoiled and classic links courses you will ever play.

Memorable Courses include:

World Class Courses

  • Macrihanish – The course at Machrihanish is quite simply one of the finest links courses in the world. It is largely unknown to most golfers, and those who know it want to keep it a secret. Located on the far southern tip of the long Peninsula of Kintyre, it is five miles from the nearest town, has no large hotels and only three bed and breakfasts nearby. Thus, despite the magnificence of the course, Machrihanish can never hope to be the site for any major, world-class competitions. It must remain the best unknown course in Scotland. Machrihanish is a classic links course. The fairways wind through and over ancient sand dunes that have been overgrown with links grasses, and shrubs. Though there are never any large changes in elevation, many shots are blind, over hummocks tufted with straw and gorse or out of depressions that offer shelter from the winds. It is nine holes out and nine holes back, the outbound nine running very near the sea which you can often hear over intervening dunes when the wind is right. The fairways roll, dip and curve, often rewarding the well-aimed runner. Bump it up to the greens if you have the skill, unless, of course, they are guarded by bunkers that can be large and deep. Above all is the joy of hole after different hole, each offering its own particular obstacles and openings to success.

Hidden Gems

  Golf Courses in the Southwest  

On The Island of Arran

On the Peninsula of Kintyre
On the Island of Islay



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