Dundonald Links, formerly known as Dundonald Gailes and Southern Gailes is a relatively new kid on the block when compared with its much heralded and older neighbors at Western Gailes, Royal Troon and Turnberry further down the coast. Purchased by Loch Lomond Golf in 2003 there had been a golf course here from the early 1900s, but the war effort put paid to it, and the area lay overgrown and unused until the beginning of the 21st century. The railway line that runs alongside the 13th and 16th fairways separates Dundonald from Western Gailes. The Links was designed by Kyle Phillips, who in partnership with Mark Parsinen were the pair that created Kingsbarns. As there, considerable earth moving was undertaken to sculpt and shape many of the holes at Dundonald, as well as to hide from view some of the views.
In its relatively short history, Dundonald Links has hosted European Tour Qualifying, Senior Open Qualifying, the Boys Amateur Championships as well as the 2015 and 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open and the 2017 AAM Scottish Open. Because Loch Lomond is its sister club, its not surprising to find that the quality of facility and service levels are excellent. The luxurious clubhouse and locker rooms cater for all needs, and the practice facilities are almost exuberant for a links golf course, where many of the oldest ones struggle for a modest amount of space. That practice might come in useful, however, as Dundonald Links is quite the test.
That test initially presents itself at the 540yard Par five, third hole. A burn runs diagonally across the fairway dividing it practically in half, but showing a genuine threat from the tee and demanding perfect club choice. The burn essentially creates several lay-up options, removing any risk and reward play. While this is not generally in the golfer’s psyche, it is what makes this hole so interesting. The green undulates severely and is protected by three substantial bunkers waiting for any errant approaches, and must be respected, as it is entirely possible to rack up a large number on this hole.
The par three holes at Dundonald are all exceptionally tough. The pick of them and a favorite of the Pro is the 6th. Usually played in a right to left wind which is difficult to judge from the sheltered tee box, an intimidating ditch runs up the left side of this hole, hugging that side of the putting surface within a matter of feet. Anything struck poorly here will immediately find some form of trouble, be it the burn, rough, gorse or sand, with two large bunkers protecting front right and back left. It may only be 155yards from the medal tees, but it can cause a whole of grief on the scorecard if not approached with care.
If you would like to see how Dundonald Links might fit into your plans for a golf vacation to Scotland, why not take a look at our “Scotland West Coast” tour.