West Kilbride - Ayrshire & Arran - Scotland

The West Kilbride Golf Club,
33-35 Fullerton Drive,
Seamill,
West Kilbride,
Ayrshire,
KA23 9HT,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1294 823911

  • Golf Club Website

  • Off the A78, 7 miles S of Largs, 4 miles N of Ardrossan

  • Welcome weekdays only, societies Tuesdays and Thursdays

  • Gordon Clark

  • Old Tom Morris, James Braid

  • Ian Darroch

There are many fine links courses along the thirty-mile stretch of Ayrshire coast between Turnberry and Irvine, notably the Ailsa, Kintyre, Prestwick, St Nicholas, Troon, Barassie, Glasgow Gailes, Western Gailes, Dundonald and Bogside. But just ten miles north of here lies the fine championship course of West Kilbride Golf Club, which is often overlooked due to its comparative separation from the others named.

Located at Seamill on the north Ayrshire coast with spectacular views across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran and beyond to the Mull of Kintyre, West Kilbride Golf Club is a private members club – formed in 1893 – with the good fortune of owning a challenging, 6,452 yard, 18-hole links.

James Braid, five times Open Champion and one of Scotland’s greatest golf course architects, has twice had a hand in the design of the West Kilbride layout. He made changes to the original Old Tom Morris 9-hole course in 1914 then, after competing in the Open at nearby Troon in 1923, suggested further alterations which were brought into being two years later.

The early holes on the course are played on higher ground, away from the coastline and they have an upland feel, despite the presence of gorse and heather at the margins of the fairways. The course really gets the pulse racing around the turn with a nice loop of holes between “Goatfell”, the par three 9th and “Whinhurst”, the par three 12th.

From then on in it just gets better and the back nine is a real joy to play, with most holes hugging the rugged coastline. The last six holes are all strong par fours – in particular, the wonderfully named ”Hunger-em-oot” 16th where a small white-washed cottage to the left of the green must be negotiated and, in traditional links style, the double greened 17th called “Sunset” must be played to the left of the shared putting surface with the 6th hole, “Mound.”

The annual Scottish Boys Championship was held for many years at North Berwick and Dunbar on the east coast of Scotland before moving to West Kilbride in 1990. The course has hosted the event a further seven times so the Scottish Golf Union obviously think highly of this links on the Clyde coast.

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Reviews for West Kilbride

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: West Kilbride Golf Club really gets the pulse racing around the turn with a nice loop of holes. Rating: 4.4285714285714 out of 6

The West Kilbride Golf Club at Seamill is located on a stunning piece of the Ayrshire coast, with spectacular views across the Firth of Clyde to the beautiful island of Arran.

This delightful links, originally laid out by Old Tom Morris and later re-designed by James Braid, has somewhat of a split personality... and it all depends upon which tees you play from.

Played from the white ‘Ardneil’ tee markers at 6,146 yards it is a fun and entertaining course which gives you a good chance of playing to your handicap. However, move back to the blue ‘Arran’ blocks and you have a 6,523 yard championship standard test of golf. Indeed The Club host the Scottish Boys Championship every four years.

Par remains 71 for both options and with nothing in-between the white and blue tees I don’t think I know of a course where there is such a big differential. I suspect that the blue tees have been a new addition to the course and whilst I think they benefit it considerably many of the holes do require some relatively long walks back to them.

The course itself lies on a narrow strip of coastal land, bordered on one side by agricultural land and on the other by the picturesque beach. It is generally flat but has many subtle undulations on the fairways and around the greens. This creates awkward stances and you often have to use the lie of the land on your approach shots.

West Kilbride is situated some ten miles up the coast from the hustle and bustle of Troon and Prestwick and as a result perhaps doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It’s certainly a course I would recommend you seek out if heading to Ayrshire and well worth the short drive to Seamill. And for those seeking food afterwards I can thoroughly recommend the Waterside Hotel a mile or so south on the A78.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

April 20, 2017


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We moved west and at the recommendation of a friend, we scheduled West Kilbride. I am thankful for the recommendation. The course itself is excellent, perhaps not as difficult as some if its west coast neighbors, but challenging. What further set it apart was its superb conditioning. It seemed a tad greener than some of the other fine courses we played, and that included good greens and very healthy rough. Finally, I don't think we had a friendlier greeting from the members at any of the the other courses we visited. To a person, everyone inquired about our game and how we enjoyed the course. We did, and I would recommend it to any group like ours that is looking for a fine course at a very reasonable price.
July 01, 2015


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West Kilbride is a really enjoyable course to play. Beside the opening holes there are attractive houses beyond the out of bounds fence and on the home run there are lovely sea vistas including the majestic Isle of Arran. The James Braid design follows an ant-clockwise route along a narrow strip of land beside the sea.

The opener is a short par four of 335 yards and is tame if you hit the ball straight. However out of bounds runs all along the right and a narrow burn dissects the fairway some fifteen yards in front of the green. This should be a very easy hole but you need to take care.

For the front nine, the out of bounds has been mainly along the right. From the 10th to the 12th, it runs on the left side. The 13th is a very good par four of 444 yards. The hole doglegs slightly right where out of bounds again lurks. The final six holes are all par fours.

The 17th has a water ditch on the left at around 200 yards and on the right at 245 yards. The green is a double green which is shared with the 6th. The closing hole features a narrow fairway with bunkers mainly on the left. Do not over club with the second shot as out of bounds is behind the green.

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.
May 01, 2015


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The incentive of a day at the seaside meant a trip to the garden shed to fetch the clubs for the first time in several months. They seemed a bit surprised as it was on the windy side where I live some fifty miles from the coast and they worked out - correctly - that where we were going conditions would be 'challenging'. Anyway, enough of these meteorological musings... I have the good fortune to play West Kilbride on a fairly regular basis and never regret coming here. It is a strange melange of the mundane, the quirky and the classsic. Hole 2 is rather silly as is 11. But these are compensated for by the excellence to be found at the short 4th, the very testing uphill 5th, the fine par 3 9th and a superb sequence of holes along the beach on the way home. The last two holes offer little by way of excitement however. Overall, a solid four-ball course.
March 07, 2015


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From the moment you tee off, out of bounds danger lurks tightly along the 1st fairway, and your approach shot must carry the small burn. This can be tough and testing into a north west wind. The 2nd hole is an interesting hilly dogleg with raised green. A good quality par 5 follows, playing downhill to a well bunkered green. The quality of holes only gets better as the course follows begins to follow the Ayrshire coastline - with stunning views over to the isle of Arran.The standard of green keeping is 1st class, and even on a wet day the greens drain quickly and run fast and true. The fairways are narrow but fair, and this is a good quality links experience which competes with Dundonald; Prestwick St. Nicholas and Irvine Bogside. The clubhouse, catering and changing facilities are also well maintained , and overall West Kilbride represents a good value golf experience.
August 14, 2014


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Played a couple of weeks ago for the £25 winter fee, and a great game of golf on a very enjoyable, friendly course with stunning views across to snow covered Arran. The pick of the holes are worthy of a 5 ball course, but overall a great value 4 ball course not to be overlooked when on the Ayrshire coast.
April 09, 2013


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i played this course yesterday and was at first very surprised with how dry it was as I had been looking for somewhere to golf between Christmas and new year (given the wet weather we have just had )but no problems here apart from the odd soggy area the course was in fantastic condition ,I thought the first few holes did not show to much potential but by the 5th the course was showing great promise and after the stretch at the turn it was clear this course was a cracker lots of great holes and lots of options on the shot i would advise anyone in the area to give it a go £25 winter rate and £45 great value great views and great course !
January 04, 2013


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martin brown
January 09, 2013
I played West Kilbride in August, first day part of taking in Royal Troon, Prestwick & Western Gailes. Thought it was excellent value even at weekend rate. Some very good holes along the seas shore. Obviously overshadowed by its illustrious neighbours further down the coast but a good first day / travelling day course to break you in gently. A good honest 4-ball rating IMO. Marty B
We found West Kilbride to be an enjoyable start to our Ayrshire tour this year. Having played many of the usual suspects on earlier trips we were glad to have made the effort to travel a few miles further up the coast to play this lesser known course. After a long journey in the car this was the perfect way to ease our way into things especially as you can play here for £30 on the weekend after 3.00pm. The course is set in picturesque surroundings within the pretty seaside town of Seamill with excellent sea views across to the Isle of Arran. There is enough trouble to keep you focused on the way round with a nice variety of holes particularly around the turn. You will need to keep your wits about you on the back nine as many of the holes coming home have the beach as a constant threat. The course is not overly taxing on a calm day and you can get away with some wayward shots landing on adjacent fairways, which doesn’t tend to happen at the bigger clubs down the road. All in all though, this is a fine course that is worthy of its place in Scotland’s Top 100. Brian W
August 31, 2012


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I was a tad disconcerted when I first discovered West Kilbride was one of the 43 Scottish courses featured in Rolex’s 2010 book, “World’s Top 1000 Golf Courses”. Don’t get me wrong, I like the course but to have it in this reference book - along with Bruntsfield Links, Dalmahoy (East) and Carrick - at the exclusion of other stick-on Tartan Top 50’s like Machrie, Duke’s and Boat of Garten just didn’t seem right at all to me. So I returned today for the first time in seven years to double check if my initial impressions about the place were somewhat jaundiced and on reflection, West Kilbride Golf Course - photo by reviewerI think it’s a course that fully merits its place in the Scottish Top 100 but it definitely punches above its weight with the current high ranking position that it holds. Why, even locally, there are a couple of other links layouts in Ayrshire I’d comfortably rate higher than West Kilbride. In fairness to the club, a lot of work has been done over the winter to create/repair bunkers and install smart new paths around some of the teeing areas so nobody has been resting on their laurels in terms of maintenance. Regarding the course itself, the sequence of holes between the par threes at the north of the course around the turn is certainly engaging, as is the run for home along the shore starting at the 12th- it’s just a pity that it seems to take nearly half the round until any real excitement is injected into proceedings! I really don’t want to be over harsh here as there are comparisons to be drawn with Kilspindie, that wee gem on the East Lothian coast, plus the views across the Firth of Clyde to Arran on a sunny day like today are simply stunning. It’s as solid a four ball course as you will find and brilliant value for money, especially when played in low season for a reduced green fee. Jim McCann
March 05, 2012


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Always mentioned as a "hidden gem" when American web sites rate courses on the Ayrshire coast I think it's time the club decided to raise the profile a bit. I had the pleasure to play the course from the blue (medal) tee's on the 3d April 2011. There was only about a 1 club wind but what a challenge these fairly new tee's present! Instead of an easily reachable par 5 third hole, it's been transformed into a tricky beast at 527y from an elevated tee. The 6th which is a bit dull from the yellows is 70 yards longer from the tips and a tough hole instead of drive and flick with a wedge. The same goes for the 8th, 10th and 16th that, while not benign from the yellows, become almost monster like from the blue's, at least if there's any kind of wind blowing. All in all it is very hard to fault this place and if your golf isn't 100% you can always just enjoy the location. From the backtee's this course is a proper championship course and the sheer beauty of it with the views of Arran and the sea makes it my pick over Barassie, Glasgow Gailes, Irvine and Prestwick. From the yellows it is very enjoyable if the wind isn't blowing too hard. The facilities are conservatively dated although the showers and toilets have been renovated to modern standards. The staff and pro are nice and friendly and the fayre is reasonable and not bad. West Kilbride is slightly off the beaten track but the motorway up the coast past Irvine makes it easy and quick to get to. 40-45 minutes from Glasgow and 15-20 minutes from Troon/Prestwick Airport should make this a must visit for tourists. The only thing lacking is the marketing and publicity from the club itself. However, I think they're quite happy being a hidden gem and get the occasional visitor rather than bus loads...
April 13, 2011


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