The town of Machrihanish is situated at the southern tip of the Mull of Kintyre on the rugged southwest coast of Scotland. From here, the tip of Northern Ireland is a mere twelve miles away as the crow flies. Founded in 1876, Old Tom Morris came to Machrihanish and by 1878 had completed his work on redesigning the first ten holes as laid out by Charles Hunter and adding eight of his own, a design that has remained more or less intact to this very day. This is pure, classic links ground with tight firm turf, rolling fairways, and undulating greens. The backdrop of the Islands of Jura, Gigha, and Islay with the Irish coast in the distance is simply stunning. Taking just over three hours by road from Glasgow, this is a genuine golf pilgrimage, but there’s always the option of taking a helicopter instead!
There is a sense of trepidation about arriving at a golf course where the opening hole has been declared the best in Scottish golf. Think about the competition for goodness sake, the Old Course for starters! Then you see “Battery.” The 424yard first hole at Machrihanish Golf Club is spectacular to the point of being difficult to describe appropriately. Set on an Atlantic bay, your opening drive is a simple decision of “how much can I take on,” as your tee shot must diagonally carry the corner to find the fairway which hugs the beach. Throw in the inevitable breeze, and it makes for an exhilarating tee shot and arguably one of the best in all of golf.
However, Machrihanish is not just all about the opening hole. The front nine, in particular, is very strong. The mix of green locations and styles is equally impressive. From plateaus to punchbowls and upturned saucers, they challenge every skill you have with a wedge, a putter, or whatever else you plan to use to get the ball into the hole. Machrihanish is possibly one of the lightest bunkered courses you’ll play, but it tells you all you need to know about the design and what is required to negotiate the golf course successfully. Also, the course has its fair share of blind tee and approach shots as well as fairway moguls, and a devilish burn running through a portion of the course, most notably at the 2nd and 17th holes. The run of holes from the 3rd – 15th is excellent.
The village, the golf course and the almost romantic nature of the surrounding areas make a trip to Machrihanish a must-do for any golf enthusiast. The nearby Ugadale Hotel, just a stone’s throw from the clubhouse, is also the perfect resting spot. Let the Consummate Pro take you there.