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Turnberry Ailsa Course

7 Best Courses in Ayrshire & Scotland’s West Coast You Can Play

June 14, 2024

The 7 Best Golf Courses in Ayrshire and West Coast of Scotland: World-Famous Golf Amongst Scotland’s Best Scenery

Scotland’s breathtaking west coast in Ayrshire is home to some world-class golf courses, including several open to the public. From the dramatic landscapes of Dundonald Links to the iconic views at the Ailsa Course in Turnberry Resort, these courses provide a mix of history, beauty, and demanding play. 

Perfect for golf enthusiasts seeking both challenge and charm, here are Premier Golf’s must-visit Ayrshire golf courses.

1. Royal Troon Golf Club

As one of the prestigious courses to host the Open Championship, Royal Troon offers breathtaking views being located on the coast of South Ayrshire. 

This course is listed on several World Top 100 rankings and has proven its worth through challenging 18 holes filled with bunkers and gorgeous scenery along the way.

Opened: 1878
Par: 71
Length: 7208 yards
Designers Include: Willie Fernie (1888), James Braid (1923)
Difficulty: Slope 145 / Rating 76.0

The Postage Stamp at Royal Troon

2. Prestwick Golf Club

The Prestwick Golf Club was founded in 1851 as a 12-hole course by Old Tim Morris. Hosting the second most Open Championships, Prestwick Golf Club provides a variety of holes including the infamous and intimidating Hole 17 described as “the most spectacular blind hole in the world”.

Outside of the course itself, Prestwick is home to one of the best Pro Shops in golf, great for memorable keepsakes. 

Opened: 1851
Par: 71
Length: 6908 yards
Designers Include: Old Tom Morris (1851), Donald Steel, Tom MacKenzie, Martin Ebert
Difficulty: Slope 139 / Rating 74.4

3. Dundonald Links

Previously known as Southern Gailes, the Dundonald Links course yardage ranges from 6,415 to 7,100 to fit the skill level of a comfortable golfer or as a championship venue. 

Sitting on an old military station, this course was newly purchased in 2019 for £4.5 million with an additional £25 million investment into a new clubhouse and lodging accommodations.

Opened: 2003
Par: 72
Length: 7100 yards
Designers Include: Kyle Phillips (2003)
Difficulty: Slope 139 / Rating 76.0

Dundonald Links, Scotland

4. Ailsa Course – Turnberry Resort

Years and years of alterations and renovations have gone into the Ailsa Course, proving its impressive spot at number 4. The course, besides having wonderful views, is very accessible for players of all skill levels. 

Ailsa consists of thrilling holes such as the 9th, which is set back 248 yards over rocky terrain from the tee with a straight-on view of the iconic lighthouse.

Opened: 1946
Par: 71
Length: 7489 yards
Designers Include: Mackenzie Ross (1946), Martin Ebert (2016)
Difficulty: Slope 113 / Rating 70.0

Dunes at Turnberry Ailsa Course

5. King Robert the Bruce Course – Turnberry Resort

Designed by Martin Elbert in 2017, this King Robert the Bruce course was a complete redesign of the resort’s old Kintyre Course. The course is known for its difficulty due to navigating elevation changes, hazards, and an abundance of gorse.

Opened: 1909
Par: 72
Length: 7203 yards
Designers Include: Donald Steel, Martin Ebert (2017)
Difficulty: Slope 138 / Rating 75.4

Turnberry Lighhouse

6. Irvine Golf Club

With five par fours over 400 yards and some par fours under 300 yards, the Irvine Golf Club provides a challenging switch from long drives to a strong short game. 

The thick rough and numerous blind shots create a true test of golf while exploring the beautiful Scottish countryside.

Opened: 1887
Par: 71
Length: 6594 yards
Designers Include: James Braid (1926)
Difficulty: Slope 113 / Rating 70.0

7. Prestwick St Nicholas Golf Club

Founded in 1851, the Prestwick St Nicholas Golf Club is the 26th oldest course in the world. Players will be faced with ever-present winds and deep bunkers as they explore the Prestwick St Nicholas. 

This course also presents two historic buildings, a “Salt Pan” and a flooded quarry from the 1700s.

Opened: 1851
Par: 69
Length: 6043 yards
Designers Include: Charlie Hunter,  John Allan (1892)
Difficulty: Slope 113 / Rating 70.0


Ayrshire and the West Coast are in rotation to host the infamous Open Championship and home to the Women’s Scottish Open.

Due to the majority of these courses being links courses, the sandy land can be quite difficult to navigate. Deep bunkers, heavy gorse, natural hazards, and quick elevation changes also play into the challenge.

When speaking about weather and scenery, June-August is the best time to book a tee time at one of the courses in Ayrshire and the West Coast. Fewer crowds and lower rates are found in April-May and September-October.