Dundonald - Ayrshire & Arran - Scotland

Dundonald Links,
Ayr Road,
Gailes,
Irvine,
KA11 5BF,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1294 314000


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Dundonald

Dundonald Links originally set out to be part of a golf and residential complex called Southern Gailes but when that didn’t happen, Loch Lomond Golf Club stepped in to snap up the course for its members in 2003, commissioning Kyle Phillips to put the finishing touches to the design. Dundonald Links European Tour First Qualifying Stage Sept 2010 - photo by Doug

Dundonald translates to “Fort Donald” and fortifications have been located near here dating as far back as 200 BC. A golf course existed on the site in the 1900s but this was later turned into a military station named Dundonald Camp. It was here that D-Day landings were rehearsed during the Second World War.

Lying next to the long established courses of Kilmarnock Barassie, Glasgow Gailes and Western Gailes, Dundonald is obviously situated in prime golfing country. The course yardage can vary from 6,415 to 7,300 yards so it can be played as a comfortable member course or as a championship venue.

Only opened in 2005, Dundonald has since proved to be a links of some repute and was the proud host venue for the 2017 Scottish Open, which Rafa Cabrera-Bello won in a play-off. If you like the pampering that goes with golf at the top tracks then this is the place to enjoy such millionaire’s golf for a relatively modest green fee.

The Dundonald experience begins at the gatehouse when the security man lifts the barrier to let you in – everyone from then on seem to know your name. It’s a mirror of the treatment you get at Loch Lomond, but the course here on the Ayrshire coast is a true links layout and the polar opposite of the private layout on the shores of the famous loch.

In 2019 Loch Lomond Golf Club sold Dundonald Links for £4.5 million to Darwin Leisure. The new owners intend to build a clubhouse and will continue to allow playing rights for Loch Lomond members at the links.

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Description: Dundonald Links originally set out to be part of a golf and residential complex called Southern Gailes but when that didn’t happen, Loch Lomond Golf Club bought the course in 2003 and commissioned Kyle Phillips to finish the design. Rating: 7.8 out of 10 Reviews: 44
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Gustav
This course really is your default weekend morning choice unless you play with a member somewhere else or stay at Turnberry. As such we played it after Glasgow Gailes and Western Gailes, which is a shame as it is the ideal opener for an Ayrshire links golf trip with its wide fairways. Mind you, it still has got teeth, especially when the wind is up, which was very much the case when we visited in mid-May 2015. Without ever emulating the fantastic views of Kingsbarns or Castle Stuart, this course shares the modern? philosophy of creating more difficulty in getting close to the pin rather than in finding your tee-shot in the rough, which is a philosophy I fully subscribe to, having almost played 36 holes with the same ball after losing half a dozen in the rough at Western Gailes and the heather at Glasgow Gailes. The hole we will all rememember is the par 3 15th which played a full driver from 155 yards(!) into a very stiff breeze, but three of us still found the green and made our pars.
May 30, 2015
8 / 10
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heffalump
Seriously good course, paper mill not as intrusive as I remembered...gosh its tough though....will continue to rise up as the continue to tweak it....only tiny criticism, do the bunkers all need to be that deep, really? If you play here you will LOVE it.
May 10, 2015
10 / 10
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David Worley
From the championship tees Dundonald is a serious test of golf. For example, the opening hole is a par four of 465 yards and is 435 yards from the medal tee. The first par three is the 4th hole, which is a very testing 220 yards.

The 6th is one of the best holes at Dundonald. This lovely par three of 170 yards has a wet ditch running down the left side. Anything pulled left of the ditch will be in long grass. The green is elevated with dunes at the back where there is a small pot bunker.

The run home from the 15th features four very demanding holes. Fifteen is a par three of 215 yards with a gully and then a raised green with several penal bunkers at the front left. Index 1 is the 16th, a long par four of 485 yards. The green is on two levels and has a bunker on each side.

Seventeen doglegs to the left so you need a draw with your drive. The 18th is the longest hole at 585 yards. There are a number of pot bunkers to catch your drive and three cross bunkers are in place for the second shot. A burn runs in front then along the right edge of 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.
April 29, 2015
6 / 10
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Paul Harrison
On a recent visit to Troon we played Dundonald and had a very enjoyable day. More generous than the other courses we played (Irvine, Western & Glasgow Gailes) you have a chance here of getting the same ball around. The starter was very friendly and informative, the sprinkler heads have the distances to the front of the greens on them and the scorecard tells you if the pin is front, middle or back, both very useful. The course was in great condition with a fine array of holes. Of the Par 3’s two were lovely holes of under 140 Yards and the 15th was a brute into the wind, barely reachable with a fairway wood. The greens allow for some challenging pin positions, the one on the Par 5 fifth was a rascal needing plenty of imagination to get near but the Par 5’s will give you a birdie putt if you play three solid shots. Since our last visit the gorse on the brow of the hill on the right of the 10th has been removed resulting in less time spent ball hunting. The course is defended by bunkers, not narrow fairways and deep rough allowing for a more enjoyable game. The Par 4’s really are a great mix. I would recommend this course to anyone, you will enjoy the challenge it sets.
June 11, 2013
8 / 10
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Jim McCann

Today was my fourth game at Dundonald and I must confess that I’d never really paid too much attention to the green sites or their contours in my previous visits. Not so today as I was struck by the really tough pin position on the very first hole, as this got me wondering where else could the hole have been cut to make it any more difficult! And it was only as the round progressed that I came to fully appreciate how Dundonald Golf Course - Photo by reviewerchallenging many of the putting surfaces were.

It might be less than a week to Christmas and we’ve had some horrendously bad weather in recent days but – apart from large puddles on the fairways at holes 10 and 15 and casual water in many of the bunkers, to be fair – the course was in remarkable condition. Greens, in particular, were of a standard that many a club would be proud to boast of at the high of their summer season.

The front nine grows on me the more I play it (although the par three 4th remains the weakest hole by far on this loop), and it ends with a terrific par four played to a shallow green that sits behind a sneaky wee burn.

The short par four 12th is another fine two-shot hole where the severely rumpled fairway leads to an elevated green that was framed this morning by the snow-covered mountains of Arran across the Firth of Clyde – what a bonnie sight!

Over the last couple of years, Dundonald seems to have opened its doors to a more inclusive golfing clientele through its promotion of reasonably priced green fees so fair play to the club for charging sensible sums of money for what is clearly a superior links product, even in the middle of winter.

Jim McCann

December 20, 2011
8 / 10
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Matthew Adams
A modern links which looks very good for its youthful age, and should mature nicely. I say modern because the course differs from many older vintage courses found in Ayrshire and other parts of Scotland. The rough is (mercifully) quite short and the fairways reasonably generous. The course set-up promotes an enjoyable and fairly quick Dundonald Golf Course - Photo by reviewerround with many options of how to play each hole. Having a great long game is not vital to a good score. The short game is where the course allows the better player to stand out either with subtly-contoured, compact green complexes like the par 3 6th or the more testosterone-fuelled challenges such as the monster tier bisecting the 13th. I was lucky enough to only find out how tough the bunkering can be on the 17th. The bunker at the rear of par 3 11th in particular resembles an attempt to garner infamy for the course. For the first-timer who doesn’t realize its depth from the course guide, and ends up in it, a re-load from the tee would be advisable. The temporary-build clubhouse was unexpected and out-of-keeping, and along with the paper mill backdrop it may be off-putting to some. If you visit courses for the golf it will not matter to you. The welcome from the staff and in particular the starter is just right. The course has much potential with additional space to grow and upgrade its facilities. Highly recommended.
December 12, 2011
8 / 10
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B.G. Donaldson
Our group played Dundonald in September, the last course on a tour of ten courses in and around Ayrshire. We were very pleased. The course was in excellent shape, the conditions suitably traditional ( a bit of wind, rain, sun - all of which would repeat themselves periodically). We found the course challenging and great fun. While I'm not sure I would rate it ahead of Western Gailes, I would recommend it to anyone who was planning a golf excursion to the area.
November 15, 2011
8 / 10
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CJYL
November 19, 2013
Yes, I'd agree that Western Gailes trumps this one by a long way; Dundonald is okay if you can't get a tee-time on the better courses in the area but links golf has to be played next to the sea - Dundonald/Southern Gailes or call it what you will is just a bit mixed-up and confused as to what it really is. Save up for Troon, Turnberry or Western Gailes instead.
Dan Hare
A very enjoyable, accessible and good value game of golf. It's invidious to compare a course to others simply because of proximity, but since others have done so I will join in ! It's arguably on a par with Glasgow Gailes, but I would disagree with the previous reviewers who put it on the same page as the course over the railway, Western Gailes. One is always conscious of being removed from the sea which for me detracts from a links golf course. Well worth playing, but since it is now a pay and play course the conditioning and slow round that we experienced due to hackers in front inevitably make it a three/four ball. As others have stated, the starter is very hospitable. dan
September 03, 2011
6 / 10
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Chris
November 12, 2011
12 of us played here 10th Nov 2011 and loved it, modern style of links bankings at side of fairways so you can’ see any other holes , tough greens with plenty of pace and not a weak hole on the course, lots of raised greens with well guarded bunkers, great layout, definitely put it on your list you wont be disappointed, we rated this just behind Tunberry Ailsa, but above Western Gailes and Glasgow Gailes.
dan
December 30, 2011
I have to disagree that Dundonald rates above Western Gailes - Glasgow Gailes just maybe. You get changed in a Portakabin (a very nice Portakabin, but still...), there are few classic holes and you can hardly see the sea. No comparison to Western Gailes, its stately club house and some classic sea shore holes with greens nestled in the dunes...
Iain Cathro
Lovely course but spoiled by the neighbouring and unsightly paper mill. If you can try to overlook that the course itself is in magnificent condition with excellent greens. Friendly staff also helped make it a good day's golf.
May 12, 2011
6 / 10
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allan mcmillan
I played Dundonald on the day of the Royal Wedding, being one of the first out on the course.The fairways were running firm as I sent an approach shot to the lower tier of the 1st green. Unfortunately the pin was cut on the upper section, and I found these elevation-cahnge greens tricky and difficult to judge. A bogey was the inevitable result. This did not dampen my enthusiasm for a really well-kept course, and I remedied my score by parring the 2nd. The choice of tees is geared to suit eery levfle of player, and the design of each hole looks superb from the blues.Strategy and caution are both required on many holes, with bunker placements and small burns guarding the fronts of most greens. The closing four holes is as good as you could wish for on a relatively new links course. I parred the long 14th and also the beautiful 16th hole, flanked by dunes, pines and the railway. The closing hole is a real grandstand finish to a tricky green. I came in one under par and delighted with a great day out on Dundonald. The courtesy and friendliness of the starter is worthy of the best Scottish courses, and the rest of the staff are also a credit to Dundonald Links!
May 08, 2011
10 / 10
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allan mcmillan
September 09, 2016

I agree with most of the writers observations. The course did set up well for the Ladies Scottish Open, and will host the Men's next year, when we will see the back tees come into their own, setting a stiff challenge for the professionals.