Machrihanish – A spiritual golf experience
When you stand on the first tee at Machrihanish Golf Club right on the edge of the shore you quickly realize that you are in a truly special place. A look to your left and you see the Scottish islands Jura, Islay and Gigha, then the rugged coastline of Ireland and beyond is nothing else but the endless blue Atlantic. It takes you a long winding drive to get here but once you’ve arrived, with the feeling of being at the end of the world, you know it was worth it.
When the setting on the Mull of Kintyre, an isolated peninsula on Scotland’s west coast, isn’t enough to get your blood flowing, then the first hole will take care of that. The „Battery“ is widely regarded as one of the most spectacular opening holes in the world of golf. The dramatic risk and reward tee shot over the sandy beach is the start of a round you will most likely never forget in your life. You head out into the dunes and enter a world full of sheer fun, romance and magic. Firm greens, numerous blind shots and as nice dose of quirkiness will test your entire golf game. There are moments when all you see is a tiny spot of green in the middle of the rolling dunes as your landing spot. Daunting? Certainly. Challenging? You bet, especially when the wind is up.
Fun? I can’t even tell you. Your golfing soul, in the middle of this remote place, will do jumps of joy and you will be able to let yourself go and drift over the undulating fairways. Up and down, along stunning sea views, all the way to the 18th green. After your first round at Machrihanish everything feels like a blur but you just can’t get the smile off your face. Founded in 1876 (originally as Kintyre Golf Club) and partly designed by the godfather of course architecture Old Tom Morris, Machrihanish doesn’t have the extensive championship history, major tournaments or the modern grandeur as some other Scottish clubs.
But it is for the better of it! This gem is probably one of the most natural links courses in the British Isles and if it was a person, imagine an old, smiling Scotsman, born and raised by the sea, with distinctive facial features. He pats you on the back, takes you to a bar and over a pint tells you stories about the world, about love and life. You smile, you laugh, you think. After you leave, you realize that you met someone special, a living artist you can’t wait to meet again and stick to his lips once more. Kind of like the friendly people you meet at Machrihanish, in the pro shop, the clubhouse or out on the course.
Machrihanish Golf Club is a spiritual golf experience, there is no other way to put it. It will send chills down your spine, it will make you laugh but most importantly it will give you warmth inside that you never expected to feel on a golf course.
Machrihanish is a top 20 course in Scotland and rightfully so. It is such a unique, joyful and fun golf experience which goes way beyond the course layout. It offers everything that you expect from a quirky links course and so much more. For someone looking for a traditional, real Scottish golf experience, Machrihanish is a can’t miss destination.
The drive down from Glasgow takes longer than you might think looking at the map. Machrihanish is almost at the tip of the Kintyre peninsula but along the way you can catch spectacular views of Loch Lomond, Loch Fyne and the town of Inveraray. Another option is to fly into Campbeltown or take a ferry.
There are plenty of nice bed & breakfasts or hotels available, also directly next to the golf club like „The Ugadale Hotel“ or „The Warren“. A little further away is the Putechan Hotel offering a private little stone beach and amazing views out to sea.
Right next to the old course is Machrihanish Dunes, another stunning, natural 18-hole-layout. Beside the golf you can go into Campbeltown and tour the Springbank Distillery or take a boat out to sea for whale watching or to the nearby islands.
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