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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Reviews for Dundonald

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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
TaylorMade
Hippo

This is a stunning course. At 6,700 yards off the Blue Tees it is a little long which adds to the challenge. The greens are excellent and full of gradient. Pin positions cam vary from gentle to hideous. The bunkers are dangerous. Particularly the 15th. Avoid these at all costs. Each hole is lined by rolling banks that make the holes feel individual and sheltered from the rest of the course. Tee shots vary particularly the par 3s. Today I hit Rescue, 9, 8, 4. The 16th is hard. Very hard. So is the 10th. A real challenge. The burn on 3 and 18 make you think on these par 5s. Having played Glasgow Gailes, Ailsa, Kintyre, St Nicholas and St Cuthbert. This is the biggest challenge and with the exception of Ailsa (obviously) the best lay out and enjoyment. Enjoy.

April 12, 2011
10 / 10
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allan mcmillan
I played Dundonald on a calm, sunny February morning and was bowled over by the beautifully kept fairways and greens. Sure, it is not a traditional or long- established links course, but it is surprisingly good nevertheless, and the value is superb.The starter is a real gent who offers good advice before the round, and I got off to a wonderful score with a 4 at the long first hole with its long narrow green. With ithe burn splitting the fairway in half, the 3rd hole is a real conundrum and makes you think carefully about which club to hit. The par 3 6th is a real gem of a hole, the attractive, sloping green sheltered from the west by small pine trees. I really came to life on the back nine, and enjoyed the long par 5 14th,the short but challenging 15th, and the lovely 16th hole (stroke ind.1) undulating along the side of the ayr - glasgow railway. The food and welcome that awaited me at the end of a great round was fantastic. Well done to all the staff at Dundonald for their professionalism and courtesy!
February 21, 2011
10 / 10
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steve grainger
nice course, however I too, would be of the opinion that it didnt have the mature feel of both Western Gailes and Glasgow Gailes. Off the tee wasnt too much of a challenge and certainly i found it quite a bit easier than Western in particular. Also there is no permanent clubhouse at the moment which lessens the experience. However I would agree with the previous comments about the quality of the par 3's.
September 07, 2010
6 / 10
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Terry Parker
This continuous stretch of land that courts the west coast of Scotland offers a delectable concoction of solid links courses of which Dundonald was the last I had the pleasure of sampling. The immediate vicinity presents an additional three courses all considered to be in Scotland’s top 50, so the competition is indeed profuse. I would deem Glasgow Gailes and Barassie to be overrated, with Western Gailes providing nothing short of heavyweight competition.

Inevitably we have the Loch Lomond brand and dynamism of Kevin Gyle competing against the established tradition and natural wonder of Western Gailes. Off the record, we were informed that the owners are trying to sell the Dundonald. It’s no secret that Loch Lomond is struggling financially and it is likely that they are trying to offload what is considered to be the member’s winter course. Read what you will into these rumours and stories but if the outcome is a £30 green fee (applicable Monday to Friday for post 15:00 tee times) then you won’t catch me complaining.

The course itself is a delight to play. Previous complaints about immaturity can be dismissed as you would never now that Dundonald is a relatively young course. It plays like a dream and seems to naturally unfold as you meander through the fairways and surrounding dunes. The greens are of exceptional quality and struck me as being extremely versatile. The pin positions were rather conservative during my visit but the potential to crank it up a notch was more than evident given the complexity of many of the greens.

You cannot review Dundonal without mentioning the bunkers as it presents some of the fiercest, cavernous, gaping black holes that I have ever come across. Truly daunting and wickedly located. There is a plentiful abundance of potential to hold a EPGA event on this links. Contrary to what some may suggest there is nothing overly contrived about Dundonald. Granted it does not have the sea views of Western Gailes that seem to augment the organic experience but it does not play or feel like a manufactured links.

There are plenty of memorable holes with three of the four par 3’s being of exceptional quality. The 6th. 11th and 16th demand the type of shot that makes me play this beautiful game. As you stand on these Tee’s you are presented with a jaw droopingly inviting shot full of risk and reward. Exactly what a par 3 should offer. I all too easily fell into the trap of grabbing the driver out of the bag and blasting into the unknown when faced with the unfamiliar. There is far more to this course thatn meets the eye and in retrospect I wish I had thought a touch more strategically from the tee and I may of kept the ball in play and carded a half decent score. It’s tough in parts with the back 9 being much harder. I didn’t play anywhere near my handicap but still cannot wait to return. Given time this course will close the perceived gap between its alleged more illustrious neighbour and it will certainly rise up this top 100 list.
July 22, 2010
10 / 10
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Ian Henley
Dundonald is rightfully becoming yet another great course on the Ayrshire coast. It's closest neighbour, Western Gailes is a measure of the very best in the area and this relatively new layout (separated by the railway line), has a youthful maturity exemplified by its testing championship design as well the attention and effort that goes into developing greens and fairways that in time will match any of the great links. We played Western Gailes and Dundonald the same day and you inevitably find yourself drawing comparisons. Whilst Western Gailes has been established for over a 100 years and boasts the coastline vantage point, Dundonald does have 18 holes to rival, if not eclipse the challenge of its neighbour. Some of what Dundonald has created is man made, but the creation of dunes, raised and contoured greens with spectacular bunkering held great interest for the whole round.

The short holes are an excellent mix and it is worth highlighting the 15th - A long carry with a fearsome greenside bunker located deep beneath the raised putting surface. This would grace any open championship track and would be the potential "card wrecker" for any great score coming in. The shortest of the par 3's are the 7th and the 11th. Both are well protected, but the 11th plays straight into the wind (as you head toward the sea). Taking a wedge and lobbing It high in the air is not the shot, but from a tee not much more than a100yards it is hard to tell yourself to do any different!! As you head down the 12th you only see glimpses of the sea, however what the Gailes loses and Dundonald gains is its abundance of pine trees which provide an attractive routing and backdrop to many of the holes. A number of par 4's and 5's are framed beautifully and are toughened by the meandering burn which is a feature of the course. The 2nd, 9th, 14th and 16th capture the pleasure of pine mixed with links with clever use of bunkering along the fairways and around the greens.

As a course we were left feeling that Dundonald rightly commands its place in the Top 100 and compliments the traditional Western Gailes experience. The staff at Dundonald made us feel very welcome and as a package it should be on your play list when visiting the west coast of Scotland. Ian Henley
July 07, 2010
8 / 10
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allan mcmillan
I arrived on the first tee on a sunny February afternoon. I was the last man on the course and the starter could not have been more helpful in his advice and encouragement. Playing from the blue tees I could see this magnificent course just as Kyle Phillips had planned it. A feeling of having the place to yourself as you stroll down each well laid out fairway and approach the large but very tricky greens. The clusters of pines were shining around each green as the winter sun illuminated every swale and hollow on this under-rated layout. The sixth hole is a little beauty, with fair but challenging tests around the green. Another favourite of minbe is the long par 4 sixteenth,which hugs the railway line south, where I considered myself as doing well at the end of the day, witht the light slowly fading, to score a 5. The welcome and the facilities back at the clubhouse were excellent, and I will definitely return to play here again.
March 09, 2010
10 / 10
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claes gunnarson
Finally in Scotland! My father in law had just turned 70 and my present for him was a trip to Scotland to discover the home of golf. This was his first time outside Norway playing golf and he was nervous as hell. I booked Dundonald in the afternoon because I think the ondulations are easier to discover with the sunset setting in. It turned out to be a fantastic afternoon and the nerves of my father in law was long gone after having discovered every bunker on the first hole, 5 if I am not wrong. I have played golf for over 30 years at hcp 3 and this round will rank among my 5 best. The holes shaped in way that you don´t want to leave the tee. I just love when you can visualize the way you are gonna play the hole and don´t have to hit and hope for the best. THe fairways were great for being such a young course and the greens were very fast and even although I might have preferred them a litte softer. By the 12th we played the rest of the round in perfect sunset and it felt like heaven. The course is not long for a lowhcper and there are not much heather and water either. But you have to manage you game and put on the Crenshaw feel on the greens. The clubhouse looked somewhat unworthy such a fine course but the service was great. My father in law sunk the last put and was probably many over his hcp but you could tell by the tears in his eyes that he had one his best days of his life. We will be back!
January 18, 2010
10 / 10
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Patrick McGarey
I played on a windy Sunday afternoon in October 2009. The course was pretty crowded, unfortunately including several truly clueless groups shooting high scores and devoting Nicklaus-like attention to each of ~120 shots per man. (Fast play is usually a given on Scottish courses, so this was disturbing. Some firm marshall intervention would have been useful). That aside, the layout is consistently interesting and well worth playing. A great and varied group of par 3s, with nice variety among the par 4s and 5s (short and long, dog-legs, etc.) as well. Not the easiest place to find (several miles inland), and not on a par with classics like Turnberry and Prestwick, but well worth your time if you're playing a number of courses in Ayrshire.
October 14, 2009
8 / 10
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JAS
December 26, 2010
(several miles inland) Eh??? If stood on the 13th tee you turned 90 degs left you would be the width of the railway and 2 Western Gailes fairways from the sea. Fully agree about the consistently interesting though and yes it is well worth playing especially on current green fee specials
Campbell Hall
I played on Saturday before going to watch the Open on Sunday, had mixed feelings about the place. The condition of some of the fairways was poor, I'd put this down the age of the course. The green on 11th was very patchy, if any of the greens at my local course was as bad as that the members would be up in arms. Having said all that the layout is good fun and challenging, I also like the fact the holes are seperated by mounds, giving a feeling of seclusion. It's a good modern take on the traditional links layout, however having played Kingsbarns a few years ago, Dundonald felt like a poor relation. I understand it's up for sale and Loch Lomond have financial problems. It really needs a bit of TLC and investment, a proper club house is surely a must. Not sure who would buy a club surrounded by such quality competiion though?
July 21, 2009
6 / 10
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Shaun
Good course, great back 9 and very attentive service, experience only spoilt by poor quality greens.
June 04, 2009
6 / 10
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