Glasgow (Gailes Links) - Ayrshire & Arran - Scotland

Glasgow Gailes Golf Club,
Gailes,
Irvine,
Ayrshire,
KA11 5AE,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 141 942 2011


“As one approaches Prestwick,” wrote Bernard Darwin, in his 1910 book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, “the train seems to be voyaging through one endless and continuous golf course – Gailes, Barassie, Bogside – I write them down pell-mell as they come into my head – Prestwick, St Nicholas, St. Cuthbert, Troon, and several more beside.” Add Turnberry, to Darwin’s list, and you can see why this prodigious stretch of Ayrshire coastline is so special. Glasgow Gailes, and Western Gailes, its next-door neighbour, are the northernmost of these exceptional links.

Glasgow Gailes Links is home to the Glasgow Golf Club, founded in 1787 and the 9th oldest golf club in the world. In those days, golf was played some 30 miles away, in Glasgow City. It was surely an absolute joy for the members when the Gailes course opened for play in 1892 – at last, no more muddy, parkland golf. The opening of Gailes made Glasgow Golf Club unique, with two courses, 30 miles apart. Willie Fernie originally designed the course, but Willie Park Junior revised the layout in 1912.

Glasgow Gailes is a classic links. “The turf is something softer – at least in my imagination – than that of the East Coast courses,” wrote Darwin, “and the greens are wonderfully green and velvety.” There is no doubt that the turf ensures tireless play, and it’s just as well, because there are plenty of courses to play on the West Coast.

Notorious for its whin (gorse) and heather-lined fairways, Glasgow Gailes is a tough cookie. It’s a final qualifying course when the Open is at either Turnberry, or Troon. Needless to say, it tests the very best professionals.

Many of the holes are fraught with danger, with out-of-bounds lurking beyond the railway line and the perimeter of the course. Straight and solid driving is required to card a good score. Beware of the wind – it can be a serious hazard.

Glasgow Gailes is kept out of the limelight by the other legendary links courses situated along this stretch of coastline. But you will be hard-pressed to find a better unsung layout than Glasgow Gailes Links. It really should be included on any must-play list – it’s a genuine test and host to Open Championship Final Qualifying from 2014 to 2017.

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Description: Glasgow Gailes Links is a classic golf course. “The turf is something softer – at least in my imagination – than that of the East Coast courses,” wrote Darwin, “and the greens are wonderfully green and velvety.” Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Reviews: 31
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B.G. Donaldson
I read my own review from four years ago and found that I rated it five balls and the review was certainly complimentary, but I seem to remember thinking that the course was not nearly as exciting as many of the others we played. I have changed my mind. I saw the Gailes Links in a completely different light this time around. First, it was in superb condition as they were preparing the course for the Open qualifier. The greens were the best we played among the eleven courses on our tour. I remember number 5 particularly: A par five with a partly blind approach to bowl-like green. Number 6, an elegant par three, is a perfect follow up. We played that day in a hard rain for nearly the entire round, but the conditions didn't diminish my admiration for the course. I still rate it five balls, but it is a very stong five-ball rating.
June 30, 2015
8 / 10
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Gustav
Having just played Glasgow Gailes, Western Gailes and Dundonald in three days together with three other experienced links golf enthusiasts, we quickly agreed we had played three very different takes on the links golf theme, but also unanimously voted Glasgow Gailes as our no.1. Why? It is not the most beautiful or spectacular and playing it as the first round of the trip the scoring was not the lowest in a 3-club wind...I think what swung the vote was the quality of the greens - far superior to the other two (at least in May 2015) and the bigger variety of holes. The prevalence of heather vaguely reminded me of the most open parts of Sunningdale New, but the wind quickly brought that comparison to a halt!I have also played the big Ayrshire beasts (Prestwick, Troon and Turnberry) on previous occasions and whereas I would not strike Turnberry or Prestwick off any list, I would also not hesitate in pencilling in Glasgow Gailes as my third choice.Any drawbacks? Not sure lady golfers, however talented, would feel very welcome, which is a shame in 2015....
May 29, 2015
8 / 10
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David Worley
Glasgow Gailes is in that marvellous stretch of land between Troon and Irvine that yields lovely springy turf fairways. In 1924 the club purchased Gailes golf links from the Duke of Portland, twelve years after the course had been revised by Willie Park Jnr.

The par five 5th is rated index 1. This hole was lengthened by way of a new tiger tee so it now measures 593 yards from the back. This is a good looking hole with a very narrow fairway for the last sixty yards.

The inward nine opens with two solid par fours, each well in excess of 400 yards. The par three 12th is a real tester. It is 220 yards from the back to a green that is hard to see because of a thick patch of gorse about half way from the tee.

Sixteen is a long par four of 438 yards with rough and the railway line on the right. Three cross bunkers may catch the second shot. The round closes with two straightforward par fours, the 17th being the easier of the two.

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 28, 2015
6 / 10
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Scott Bowen
Enjoyed a beautiful day at Glasgow Gailes on August 10. The entire experience was a delight-fast, firm conditions, despite recent rain, excellent, true greens, and isolation from everything except golf. The course is well planned and quite challenging, with subtle drop-offs around the greens throwing shots into unwelcome spots if you were the least bit off line. Don't get me wrong, that's what is supposed to happen on a well designed green site. Each hole was different and the wind conditions changed constantly because of the routing. For me, the quality of a course is defined by how memorable each hole is the next day, and I recall each hole at Gailes Links easily. There's a reason why this course is the only Scottish qualifying site for the Open Championship. It has all the elements of a championship site, and the conditioning is superb and consistent. I hope the members know how good they've got it. What the course lacks in scenery or spectacular sandhills, it makes up for with superb links golf holes.I rate this place above Western Gailes and Troon, and if I am ever able to return to this part of the world, I will seek this course out. This is the best of links golf. That should speak volumes.
August 10, 2014
8 / 10
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David Jones

Had the pleasure of playing Glasgow Gailes recently. The wind was quite something, at least 4 clubs into us for most of the front nine and verging on the unplayable. The heather made for an additional interesting complication and I can safely say I wondered after the first three or four holes if we would have to call it a day. However, the course was nothing but fair all the way and when we reached the turn and had the wind on our tail it became a real pleasure to play! The course was straightforward but very well laid out and in fantastic condition - the greens were true, if a little slow. The course was not too hard a slog (wind excepting) and really was a delight to play. I would say it wasn't quite up there with Western Gailes but gave Dundonald a run for its money and knocked the socks off the Kintyre at Turnberry. A very welcoming bunch, good value and lovely little course. Just stay out of the heather and try and try not to play in the middle of a gale......

June 20, 2013
6 / 10
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Ivan
September 15, 2013
Played the course for the second in the first week of September and would agree with all the comments made above. On the day we played the greens were a good pace and very true. If every you are in the area, I would recommend this as a course to play.
Paul Harrison
We visited as part of The Gailes Experience deal (£215 to play Dundonald, Western Gailes & Glasgow Gailes) and found the course in great nick. On arrival the staff were very welcoming and attentive to our needs. A special mention for the fairways which were like carpets, absolutely superb. The course is fair with any gorse or rough being a reasonable distance from the fairways. The greens were lovely, true but not overly fast. All in all a must visit course and if you visit using TGE and add 2 nights in a local hotel, you have a fantastic break for under £300.
June 10, 2013
8 / 10
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Jim L
While playing Turnberry or Royal Troon we added an afternoon at this famous golf course which is in demand and no wonder....following the recent announcement that the Royal and Ancient have selected Glasgow Gailes Links as the sole golf course in Scotland that will host the Final Open Qualifying from 2014 to 2017 playing off the championship tees (6,903 yards) In superb condition we enjoyed the round. A friendly welcome awaits and golf wear is acceptable . We played off the yellow tees 6,300 yardsGlasgow Golf Club Gailes Links course located along the coast from Troon. The club has an easy online booking facility
June 05, 2013
10 / 10
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Bernard
June 11, 2013
Strange review.
B.G. Donaldson
Our group greatly enjoyed our day at Glasgow Gailes. We played soon after the announcement that the course would be used as an Open qualifier for the next five years, an honor of which the members were justifiably proud. We found the course in excellent condition,and one of our group had an eagle on number three, the number one stroke index hole. The heather is pleasnat to the eye but should be avoided at all costs. It's just a very good golf course and may be at times overlooked by traveling groups like ours. I was glad we included it.
September 14, 2011
8 / 10
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Jim McCann
I returned to Glasgow Gailes seven years after first playing here and came away very impressed with the place. Forget the fact that the club has upgraded the clubhouse, installed an extensive practice area, tarmaced the car park and completely spruced up all paths and signage - though all of this has certainly elevated Gailes to the top tier of Scottish visitor venues, as befits one of the oldest clubs in the world. No, concentrate on the course itself and you will find that the current green fee of £40 a head for a visiting weekday fourball in the afternoon is one of THE genuine bargains of this or any other golfing season.

Golfers can tell from the tee box on the opening hole that accurate driving will be a key factor in scoring well at Gailes by surveying a relatively tight fairway with wispy grass on either flank - heather and gorse will encroach close to the short cut grass on many of the holes during the round. The first green also bodes well for true links lovers when they see a wonderfully shaven front apron that allows a running shot to be played between a pair of protective greenside bunkers - many of the greens will allow this type of traditional links stroke.

The course is laid out on largely level terrain but - at my favourite hole on the front nine - brilliant use of a ridge and dip in the landscape is employed at the 5th to hide a wickedly contoured green beyond a narrow neck of fairway that kinks slightly right of the line of play.

I wasn’t overly fussed by the loop of four holes around the turn at the northernmost part of the property (I like to have holes revealed to me as I arrive at them, rather than see what lies ahead) but the elevated greens at the short par four 8th and 9th were really tough to score on if an over hit approach was played at the former and an under hit shot was executed on the latter - which is precisely the manner in which I underachieved at both holes, of course!

I loved the two par threes on the back nine; the target at the 12th is more visible now due to the removal of gorse to the left of the hole and the semi blind 15th shows no mercy to any tee shot played long or left of the narrow green as the fall offs from the green are quite severe. Three solid par fours conclude the round at Gailes, the best of these being the short 17th where a semi blind approach over a ridge just might yield a birdie before turning towards the clubhouse.

Willie Park Jnr’s redesign of Gailes marks its centenary next year and it’s only fitting that a course of this quality should be used to co-host the Amateur Championship (along with Royal Troon) as well as providing the venue for the Men’s Home Internationals in 2012. Those top amateurs will be playing from back tees that measure 6903 yards in total (with a standard scratch rating of three over par) but you take my word for it that the regular gents markers are more than capable of testing your golfing abilities to the full. Jim McCann
July 08, 2011
8 / 10
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Shaun
Good solid course in excellent condition, well worth a visit.
October 11, 2010
6 / 10
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