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Guide to Ayrshire and Burns County

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Our favourite golf courses in Ayrshire

with links to the courses so that you can get more information, book tee times &c

Belleisle golf course is another course designed by the famous golf architect James Braid. Developed in 1927, Belleisle is a classic parkland course. In the middle of the woodlands of Belleisle Park in Ayr, it is one of the best public courses in Scotland, and host to a number of professional tournaments. 
A course that is often missed by visiting golfers who favour its more famous neighbours, Belleisle is a long course which sets an enjoyable challenge. It uniquely opens with back-to-back par fives and there are only two par 4's under 400 yards on the entire course. 
Hundreds of beech trees line the wide fairways and there are wonderful views of the Isle of Arran from the sixth and seven holes.

Kilmarnock Barassie
Established over a hundred years ago, Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club offers not just 18 holes of excellent links golf, but also is home to what some consider the best nine hole course in Scotland. 
The main Barassie course offers a challenging links layout. The course has narrow fairways, undulating greens and deep bunkers, and presents an excellent start to a week's golf in Ayrshire. An Open Championship Final Qualifying venue, the club has also played host to the British Amateur Championship, the European Youths and in 2004 has been the venue for the Junior Open.

Prestwick Old
Prestwick Golf Club was founded in 1851 and in 1860 hosted the first ever British Open Championship. Tom Morris Snr, the four times Open Champion was the first Keeper of the Green, Ball and Club Maker at the new club. 
The course dips and winds amongst the sand dunes of the Ayrshire coast. The first hole presents a particularly challenging start, while the 17th is probably the course signature hole. Unchanged since the 1850s it has a blind second shot over a high ridge with the infamous 'Sahara' bunker waiting just in front of the green.

Prestwick St. Nicholas
This is an excellent links course with magnificent views over the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran. The course is a challenging and tight traditional links with a sense of both history and tradition. 
Due to the proximity of the shoreline, an almost ever-present wind ensures that the course provides a good test of golfing ability. Despite this, the shorter hitter of the ball will not suffer as few of the holes require long carries from the tee to reach the fairways. 
There are a number of great holes - including the par-4 13th where you will have to contend with wind off the sea, and the par-4 8th, where water protects the approach to the sunken green.

Royal Troon
One of Scotland's most famous courses and an Open venue on 8 occasions to date, Royal Troon offers a classic links layout of 9 holes out and 9 holes back. The course is steeped in history and is a true test of your golfing skills. Not only do you have the wind to contend with, but deep rough interspersed with gorse and broom makes accurate shot making essential. 
The course signature hole is the 8th, or Postage Stamp, which is usually played into the teeth of the wind. The inward nine holes are widely accepted as some of the most demanding on the Championship rota.

The Irvine Club, Bogside
Irvine Bogside is a traditional links course with narrow and undulating fairways. Established over 100 years ago, it owes much of its present day character to the design work of James Braid. 
The ground rolls and bobs over ancient dune terrain, divided by gorse and heather between Irvine town, a racecourse and the River Irvine. Every hole has its own identity and the greens are fast and true. 
The course presents a challenge to golfers of all abilities with its subtle changes in direction and demands accurate shot making. The Irvine Club, Bogside The Irvine Club, Bogside was one of the local Final Qualifying courses for the Open Championship in 2004.

Turnberry Ailsa
An Open Championship course which came to international prominence in 1977 due to the four day duel between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson which produced some exhilarating golf. The Ailsa course is regularly acknowledged as one of Britain's top three courses, with consistent rankings in the world top 20. 
The average player off the medal tees might find the Ailsa quite generous with wide fairways and benevolent lies, but it demands their full respect when the wind comes into play. The 9th hole is probably one of the most photographed holes in golf, with the tee looking over Turnberry Bay and the famous lighthouse. 
Colin Montgomerie has stated that "Turnberry offers the best Links golf in the world" while Sandy Lyle has described the Ailsa course as "easily one of the finest courses in the world."

Turnberry Kintyre
The Kintyre is the second course of the renowned Turnberry Hotel and Golf resort. This is the revamped former 'Arran' course which has been upgraded to championship standard with 11 entirely new holes. It will be one of the Final Qualifying courses for the 2004 Open Championship at Troon. 
The Kintyre is links golf at its best. Undulating greens and glorious fairways all with stunning views of Kintyre, Arran, and the famous Turnberry Lighthouse. 
Reviewed by a leading UK golf journalist as "an outstanding addition to the golfing links" the Kintyre course puts Turnberry in the enviable position of being one of the finest golfing destinations not just in Scotland, but in the world.

Western Gailes
Western Gailes is never other than an excellent test of links golf, but any change in the strength or direction of the wind provides new challenges. The undulating terrain requires even the best of players to produce a full range of shot making. It remains an enjoyable experience at all times, with superb sea views across the Firth of Clyde from almost every hole. One of the Final Qualifying courses when the Open Championship is held at either Royal Troon or Turnberry, the course has also played host to the Curtis Cup, the PGA Championship, Seniors, Scottish Amateur and Boys Championships and the Ladies' Home Internationals.