Machrihanish (Championship) - Argyll & Bute - Scotland

Machrihanish Golf Club,
Machrihanish,
Campbeltown,
Argyll,
PA28 6PT,
Scotland


  • +44 (0)1586 810213

  • Anna Anderson

  • Charles Hunter, Old Tom Morris, J.H. Taylor, Sir Guy Campbell

  • Ken Campbell

The small village of Machrihanish is situated on the western side of the remote Kintyre Peninsula; this is where the sky is big, the sunsets are dramatic and the air has been warmed by the Gulf Stream. Nearby Campbeltown was once the whisky capital of the world, but today only the Springbank distillery remains in full operation.

In 1876, the Kintyre Golf Club was founded; and in November of that year, Charles Hunter, the Prestwick professional, rearranged the course and extended it to twelve holes. Old Tom Morris then left his stamp on the links in 1879. The members felt that Kintyre was too ordinary a name for such a special golf course, so they changed it to the resonant Machrihanish in 1888.

The course was modified again in 1914 by J.H. Taylor and Sir Guy Campbell made further alterations when several holes around the turn were lost due to development work at the Campbeltown airport site next door.

This links must be one of the most natural, romantic and most enjoyable places to play golf in the whole of the British Isles. It’s not long, grand or a championship course, but it is sheer fun. It’s got an outstanding front nine and a thrilling start. The first, called “Battery”, is one of the best opening holes in golf, a teasing 423-yard par four with an elevated tee on the edge of the shore. The fairway hugs the beach and we must drive diagonally across it. How heroic can we afford to be with our very first tee shot? The beach is in play, not out-of bounds. But dare we play our second shot from amongst the seashells?

Machrihanish is not just about one great opening hole – the front nine is exceptional and the entire experience is magical. The greens are firm, fast, true and are positioned in the most varied of locations. Some are sunk in punchbowls whilst others are on a raised plateau or flattened dune tops. There are blind tee shots, fabulous sea views, undulating rippling fairways and exciting rugged dunes.

According to the results of a recent Top 100 survey Machrihanish is the best value golf course in the British Isles.

You have to make an extra special effort to get to Machrihanish, but it is worth it. The welcome is extraordinarily friendly and the golf is extraordinary. Expect to leave this place with a broad smile on your face.
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Reviews for Machrihanish (Championship)

Av. Reviewers Score:

This is an outstanding course and one of the best links to be found in Scotland. We played there in September under the best conditions you could imagine. Sunny, 20 degrees and a slightly breeze from the Irish Sea. The first hole is classy and the following five holes a amazing as well. No really bad hole on this course even the often as bad holes mentioned closing holes. In the same league like Portrush or Aberdeen. A Must Play course!

October 09, 2016


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Thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to Machrihanish, Played it at the start of September in a testing breeze. Several very good holes and many opportunities to play proper links golf. A bit disappointed with the Opening tee shot, you can hit it a long way right and there is no real penalty for not taking the challenge of hitting over the Atlantic, very poor and disappointing last three holes makes you leave the course on an unfortunate low, which is a shame for what has gone before.
September 26, 2015


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For the vast majority of golfers Machrihanish is a difficult place to get to, certainly by car from Cheshire, but to any lover of traditional links golf I would say make the effort at least once. Right from the off the course presents a stiff challenge with a terrific Machrihanish (Championship) Golf Course - Photo by revieweropening tee shot over the beach. Try to bite off too much and you could well be playing your second from the sand which is very much in play. The front nine are a magnificent stretch of holes offering typically undulating links fairways with superb greens nestled amongst the dunes. There are none of the huge dunes so typical of the west coast of Ireland but there is still plenty of excitement to be had playing this beautifully routed course. Humps and hollows, a snaking burn, punchbowl greens and with the odd blind shot thrown in for good measure, you will find all that is good about links golf at Machrihanish. A couple of holes on the back nine are perhaps not quite of the same high standard but this does not alter the fact that this is a wonderful course fully deserving its lofty position in the GB&I rankings. Brian W
August 13, 2015


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The 1st hole is claimed by many to be the best opening hole anywhere. I would not dispute that, ‘Battery’ is a par four of 436 yards. The tee shot is literally a carry of between 150-200 yards across the Atlantic. The problem is really in knowing how much of the corner you can bite off, especially when the wind is blowing.

The well bunkered 3rd hole is the start of some holes that feel quite unique. You are so far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life that you are drawn in to admiring the harsh beauty and the pattern of the wispy grasses that form the rough. The 4th is a rather short par three in amongst the low dunes and wild grasses with the shoreline along the left.

The only weak parts of the course for me were the 17th and 18th holes which are rather flat and less interesting. Even so, you must negotiate the burn on the 17th and the 9-hole course which is out of bounds on the left of both holes.

Machrihanish is definitely one of my favourite links and should be rated right up there in the very top echelon of top Scottish courses. There is a lovely ambience in the clubhouse which is located over the road from the first tee. The fairways and bunkers are always in excellent condition and the greens are nothing short of superb.

This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every Scottish course featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via www.golfbooks.com.au and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.
April 08, 2015


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This is one of the more isolated courses on the Top 100 list. For those of you in Ireland, I recommend taking the Kintyre Express from Ballycastle over to Campbeltown which only takes 80 minutes. The opening tee shot over the beach is the highlight of Machrihanish (Championship) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerthe round and it lived up to its reputation. Putting this golf course into perspective, it’s located in a remote part of the world with relatively rural facilities and not much budget. Meadow grass, daisies, buttercups and farmland are gracefully married to the sand-dunes that line the coastline. If a sheep walked across a fairway, you wouldn’t bat an eye-lid. At just 6400 yards from the tips, this golf course can be easily over-powered by modern technology. It has stood the test of time, and remained in the Rankings discussion due to its eternal connection with the hands of Old Tom Morris and his legendary ability to shape the land. Due to the isolation and primitive green-keeping amenities, this golf course was everything I expected it to be. It didn’t blow me away or offer much of a challenge to a scratch golfer by any means. People will flock here to experience ancient Scottish quirky golf with no shortage of blind shots.
June 19, 2014


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Response
RG
June 21, 2014
Unlike this reviewer I cannot comment from the perspective of a scratch player (chance would be a fine thing). I’m responding to the reviewer’s comment about Machrihanish’s length compared with modern technology. I consider myself to be a typical category 2 player (9 handicap, median driver length about 250yds using all the mod cons!). Machrihanish have the refreshing policy of allowing play from any of their three tees - they supply guidance as to which tee to use based on your handicap. For me, the 6500 yds of the blues is actually too tough (!) with the 6200 yds of the whites supplying a very significant challenge, especially when the wind blows. In my opinion, adding an extra 20-30 yards to my driver length would not improve my score here. For an improvement in scoring, it’s the type of course that requires me to increase my IQ rating by 20-30 points! In my opinion, it’s one of Scotland’s greatest.
Drumlemen
June 24, 2014
I am surprised as how easy the scratch golfer found Machrihainish as Mr Eric Brown , one of Scotland''s greatest ever golfers was over par over 4 rounds when he contested the Scottish Professional Championship in 1969 when the course measured no more than 6228 yards.There again , it depends if the wind blows. I caddied for a very good American professional golfer in 2008 and he just broke 100 over 18 holes. He said it was some of the most fun one had on a golf course even though his score was bad.
WOW!!! Its an eight hour drive from Manchester to Machrihanish and I would do it every weekend if my wife would let me. I've played all over the world and Machrihanish is now No.1 after my visit this weekend. The course is so very special and the people and especially the staff at the golf club made it even more amazing. Everyone talks about the opening hole but to be honest it's really after this that things become so mind blowingly gorgeous. If you don't mind the drive there, it will be considerable no matter where youre starting from, it is truly astounding. In fairness the journey by car is also very engaging so take youre time!
April 30, 2014


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Visited Machrihanish in late March on a breezy sunny day.Still lots of ground water leading to some unanticipated forced carries! The pro was very welcoming and on top of the excellent value shoulder season green fee gave us discount vouchers to return once the flooding had receded. A super course, and only a couple of workaday holes coming back keep it from a six ball for me. Outstanding.
April 21, 2014


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Pure Magic.....
April 19, 2014


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A classic links course with all the required ingredients: stiff breeze, undulating fairways, occasional blind shots and firm fairways. Additional attractions to the standard mix are the opening tee shot over the beach, the nearby Dunes course and the excellent Ugadale Hotel and Cottages overlooking the first tee. Its a long drive from Glasgow, but a spectacular one and well worth the trip for a long weekend of excellent links golf.
September 26, 2013


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I first came to Machrihanish in 2003 and have been an (almost) annual visitor ever since. The course itself is sublime as is the welcome we receive at the club, both by the staff and the members. It is as 'far from the madding crowd' as it was ten years ago. The 5th is my all-time favourite hole, a great dogleg whose route is in-between the dunes. Indeed, most of the holes are visually stunning. Unlike some comments on this site, I  like the 17th ; maybe not as aesthetically pleasing as the preceding holes but  it is a definite potential card wrecker and deserves respect. It's great to meet visitors from all over the globe who share my enjoyment of this special place.
August 30, 2013


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