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Links of Machrihanish – Golf treasures on the west edge of Scotland

Updated: Jan 20, 2023


Machrihanish Old Course and the nearby links are a wonderful collection of golf courses. Their remote location on the western edge of Scotland on the Kintyre Peninsula makes the area even more magical. The old course of Machrihanish, laid out in 1876, was expanded to 18 holes by Old Tom Morris himself.


Machrihanish Golf Club is best known for its opening hole, which is one of the most famous first holes in the world. And that is why it's the main image of this story. How will I cross the sandy beach in front of me? This is first tee excitement at its finest. But the course is so much more. It is the adventure on the course that creates lasting memories. Rough, natural links, breathtaking views and fascinating fairways between the dunes.


In golf, you often remember the closing holes, and Machrihanish they are not at the level of its finest fairways. But when you sit on the clubhouse terrace after a round and admire the view in front of you, it's easy to smile. All the wonderful things and stories about Machrihanish are true. You have to come back here. The experience at Machrihanish is truly unforgettable.

The area has also inspired others. Despite the difficulty of getting there, they wanted to make it an even more attractive destination on the golf map. The most significant decision was to build a new course in the early 2000s. Machrihanish Dunes was already making headlines during its construction phase and investors had high expectations. The idea was spot on. The modern links course being built next to the classic one, together with the hotel and flats, would raise the profile of the area among golfers. The plans have not yet been fully realised, but the Machrihanish Dunes make the area a worthwhile destination. Since the course's opening, Mach Dunes has stirred emotions and much has been said about its condition.

Mach Dunes was designed on government-protected land with sensitive vegetation. This had an impact on the routing of the course and still affects course maintenance. On the club grounds, the first thing to greet you are the sheep, which are still an active part of course maintenance. The black sheep can also be found on the club's logo.


In October 2021, a course in excellent condition awaited us. The course had been altered a bit since the early years. After finishing the round it was easy to agree that Mach Dunes was golf at its most enjoyable. Again, a good example of not believing everything you read. The course is full of enjoyable holes and beautiful greens. . For example, an intriguing combination of three short holes (4-6) is memorable; after a short par 4, there are great two par 3's on the course. However, some of the walks to the next tees are a bit long due to the nature of the terrain

You'll also find a real gem at the southern tip of the Kintyre Peninsula. This is just 15 kilometres from Machrihanish. On the wall of the clubhouse in the middle of the small village of Southend you will find what is known as the Honesty Box. Twenty pounds to the box and off we go.

Dunaverty is a par 66 with a total distance of just over 4,800 yards. But it is a much bigger course than numbers tell. Dunaverty offers a amazing links experience and the greens are top class. Walking through the fairways of Dunaverty, you start to think, what if this course were to be renovated and tuned up a bit? You could not ask for a better place for links course. But after thinking about it for a while, the feeling deepens. Dunaverty is perfect just like that.

You cannot find better value for money for the green fee (£25-£35) anywhere else. If you are travelling to Machrihanish, you simply cannot miss the course. The area's offering is also complemented by an excellent short course next to Old Machrihanish, which is well worth a visit before or after your round. On a trip to Machrihanish, you should either stay in the village itself or in Campbeltown, ten minutes away. It is a small town with more options and a few good restaurants. Campbeltown's glory days as Scotland's whiskey capital are long over, but the few remaining distilleries offer tours for whiskey lovers.

The journey to Machrihanish requires a bit of planning and effort, as it is a three-hour drive from Glasgow. In summer, ferry traffic is busy and an excellent option to reach the area. There are also regular flights. If you decide to take a trip, you should also plan to visit Machrie on the nearby island of Islay. You should also plan to visit the cult course of Shiskine on the neighbouring island of Arran.


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