Irvine - Ayrshire & Arran - Scotland

Irvine Golf Club,
Sandy Road,
Bogside,
Irvine,
Ayrshire,
KA12 8SN,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1294 275979

  • William McMahon

  • Willie Fernie, James Braid

  • James Smallwood


When Robert Adam, a young man from Leven in Fife, moved to Irvine, just north of Troon on the West Coast of Scotland in 1884, he found no golf course within comfortable travelling distance. His desire to rectify that situation, and the drive and leadership of one, James Stewart, led to a meeting of thirteen men at the King's Arms in 1887 to form a Club on land in Bogside, a tract of land belonging to the 14th Earl of Egilton.

Irvine Golf Club's current design owes much to the work of James Braid in 1926, and its status is confirmed by its regular hosting of national events including the Open Qualifying events held there prior to the Open Championship at Royal Troon and Turnberry.

Of medium length, it begins with one of five par fours over 400 yards, while successive shortish par fours, 4th and 5th call for accuracy on a course where gorse and heather define the fairways. A further long par four is again followed by a short par four, the 7th.

“Braid”, a 373-yard par four, opens the back nine, before we reach the longest hole on the course, 465-yard “Grandstand”, named because the remains of the old grandstand on the Bogside Racecourse lies to the west of this dogleg.

Views of Arran dominate the 12th tee, one of eight par fours on the back nine, which continue to test the golfer’s, resolve. The lone par three on the home nine is the 16th where a cross-bunker demands a solid carry to the green. The challenge on the 17th is more the green itself, while the 18th once again introduces sand as the main hazard.

Irvine Golf Club has produced three former Scottish Amateur Champions, a testimony to its quality and it provides yet another reason to travel to this wonderful golf country, the South West Coast of Scotland.

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Reviews for Irvine

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Description: Irvine Golf Club represents a tough test of golf. It's a classic traditional links course and plays host to Open Championship Final Qualifying... Rating: 7.2 out of 10 Reviews: 19
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Paul Harrison
During a stay in Troon on 18th Sept I made the short trip (15 mins) to Irvine GC and well worth the journey it was to. On arrival I had a chat with John The Caddiemaster who was very informative and he got me off before a large group. I found the course to be in great condition and the greens were superb the equal of any I’ve played this year. Off the yellow tees the course has 2 Par 3’s, the rest are Par 4’s but don’t let this put you off as there are a nice variety of Par 4’s even the short ones posing a test and on the longer ones keeping your ball out of the gorse is a challenge. All in all, this course is a tough test especially on your first visit when playing to your handicap would be an achievement. The Clubhouse is a lovely old building with spacious rooms and is steeped in history. If you are in the area and serious about your golf this club is well worth a visit, you won’t be disappointed.
September 24, 2012
8 / 10
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B.G. Donaldson
Our group enjoyed our day at Bogside. We were fortunate to play under calm and mild conditions and found the course in excellent shape. We met many members who were playing their own competion that day and were greeted in a very friendly manner. Each seemed eager to know how we liked th eir course and happy to hear that we had had a very fine day. It's an excellent value for the traveling golfer. Lovely nineteenth hole for visitors where we enjoyed an excellent snack of soup and our pints.
September 11, 2011
6 / 10
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Jim McCann

I played the course today after securing one of the last winter tee times available (with 50% off regular green fees) and I came away feeling well pleased to have renewed my acquaintance with an old personal favourite that deserves to be ranked FAR higher in the current Scottish listings.

Only 16 holes were in play due to extensive work taking place on the two short par fours at the 4th and 5th but my playing partner and I at no time felt we’d been short changed – in fact, the very friendly chap behind the counter in the pro shop told us to play “wherever we liked” if we felt inclined to make up the loss of these two holes!

Greens weren’t great to putt on, Irvine Golf Course - Photo by Jim McCannit has to be said, with some better than others in terms of pace and bumpiness.

Nonetheless, it felt grand to be out on such a beautiful sunny morning after the recent atrociously bad weather and we were prepared to overlook the odd conditioning lapse at this time of year.

The five bunkers that surround the green on the par three 8th have all been refaced over the winter and they now form formidable obstacles at this short hole.

The 13th (“Snodgrass”) is a terrific par four on the inward half, boasting, as it does, one of the most intimidating tee box driving positions in Scottish golf.

It’s a pity there doesn’t seem to be much land available to extend the layout beyond its current length of 6423 yards as it deserves to be played by the top pros when they play in final qualifying when the Open’s held at Troon or Turnberry.

Take time to read some of the correspondence on the wall outside the lounge in the clubhouse where you’ll find old letters from companies owned by the likes of Willie Park, Ben Sayers, Sandy Herd and Harry Vardon – fascinating stuff from some of the golfing greats of a bygone era..

And if there’s a more informal, reasonably priced bar menu in Scotland, I’ve yet to find it so fill your boots both on the course and in the clubhouse afterwards when you play at Irvine.

Jim McCann

March 16, 2011
8 / 10
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William Stewart
March 31, 2011
I have been a member of Irvine GC for 27 years and thought that your report on the course was very fair. The green's were poor last year by it's normal high standard.Over the last 2 years new tees have been added to the 2nd 5th 6th 11th and 17th although they are not used in club competitions.If later in the year you have a free day please get in touch with me and I will try to arrange a game off the back tees it would be interesting to hear your views on them.
John Crawford
August 02, 2013
This is not a links track. Its heathland at best, can't even view the sea. Too many stupid holes mixed in with some brilliant holes for me. Needs more variety in both terms of holes and routing. Great greens though.
Hugh
January 03, 2014
Donald Steel mentions Irvine alongside Glasgow Gailes and Barassie in his book Classic Golf Links. George Peper and Malcolm Campbell list Irvine in True Links. What does John Crawford know that others don't?
Andy-Webbo
If you are a traditionalist then this course perfect for you. I played it in July 2009. The clubhouse is a step back in time and full of character with the cheapest food I have ever encountered at a golf course.The caterers were summoned by using a bell in the main bar.The members and staff were all very friendly, as was the pro.Giant paintings of past Scottish Amateur champions that were members of the club adorn the walls. There is also a small section ddicated to golfing memorabilia connected with the club. This course is not long but challenges all aspect of your game. There are risk and reward holes like the short par 4 4th. Teh best hole on the course for me is the 14th the "spectacles". A lengthy par 4 with a small green protected by two bunkers The greens were superb, fast and firm and the course in great condition.This course is quirky and a classic James Braid layout not spoilt by modern technology although some of the bunkers are no longer in play, still well worth a visit. It is steeped in history and tradition and I can see why it continues to hold major amateur events. A must play especially at £50 a round!
August 15, 2009
10 / 10
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Martin Jordan
Irvine is a delightful club very much in the mould of near neighbours Western Gailes. A club which oozes old school charm where, the visiting golfer is always made feel most welcome. A gentle first three holes gives way to the engaging 4th which, if you are feeling brave enough, is almost driveable. Make sure you don’t go left as a re-load is almost inevitable if you do. Holes 4 and 5 are a trifle eccentric; the 4th is all uphill whilst the 5th finishes with a steep drop to the green. Both look fairly straightforward but take it from me they not. It just proves that a hole doesn’t have to be long to be testing. The back 9 also has memorable holes. The 13th, where the fairway is only hinted at by a far off marker post. A wee tip, slightly left of the marker is your line. The 14th is the quaintly named, “The Specs”. I presume, because the green is guarded by two bunkers which resemble a pair of glasses, the size of which, would keep Vision Express in business for life? 17 and 18 are two fabulous finishing holes with the 18th leaving you with a daunting drive over two more specsesque bunkers. Irvine has something for everyone. It appeals to me as it admirably demonstrates that you don’t need to be a monster track to be an Open qualifying course. It may not have the kudos of some of its neighbours, but don’t let that deter you, as this understated beauty should be considered a must play course in everyone’s Ayrshire itinerary. MPPJ
December 14, 2008
6 / 10
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colin
A very quirky course, which does annoy some people i know, but personally, in this case i find enjoyably interesting. The only real complaint i have is that, as a reasonable golfer, all the bunkering from the tee is superfluous. Obviously the bunkers were placed by Braid in an era when the ball didn't travel as far, but now, if you can hit the ball more than a couple of hundred yards they don't come into play. While this is good for a score, it doesn't feel as if I'm being tested from the tee. Time for a slight makeover? Fun course though.
October 27, 2007
6 / 10
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Ian Shanks
December 18, 2007
Every hole oozes character and a different challenge. Always kept in immaculate condition with tremendous greens all year round.
Jim McCann

Irvine is the last of the great courses on the west flank of Scotland that I have played, on a stretch of coast from West Kilbride down to Turnberry. Irvine - Photo by Jim McCannIt's not quite up there at the heady heights of Turnberry, Troon or Western Gailes but it can more than hold its own against the likes of Gailes, Barassie and Dundonald.

And yet, compared to those half dozen links courses mentioned, Irvine has more the feel of a heathland course, with gorse and heather keeping fairways tight in many places.

Holes 4 and 5 are charming back-to-back short par fours, each measuring less than 290 yards then hole 6 drops in elevation down to the Garnock River (to the level that a “proper” links would be played).

The first of only two par threes is not played until the 8th and the hardest hole (by far) when I played today was number 12 – two huge bunkers on the left at the kink in the fairway pressure the drive before a long approach can be played to a still distant green.

The second par three on the card allows a wee breather before the biggest surprise of the round – two excellent par four holes to finish.

The 17th has the railway running all the way down the left to a wickedly sloping green before a blind tee shot is played over two enormous, sleepered bunkers up to the final fairway – a thrilling end to a round.

Greens, aprons and bunkers were maintained to the highest standard (which made the use of wee metal bins as tee markers seem quite out of place) but overall, Irvine is a very under rated course in my humble opinion.

Add the fact that the enormous clubhouse is run on a seemingly informal basis – with a very reasonable menu for hungry golfers – and you will understand why it is deserving of a five ball mark.

Jim McCann

October 03, 2007
8 / 10
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alex sherratt
October 05, 2007
Agree with you on the above Jim, we played this course a few years back and twinned it up with a visit to Prestwick St Nicholas, both good, testing courses and quite rightly deserve to be Open qualifiers !
Phil MacBeth
January 02, 2014
I played Irvine Bogside today and really don't have many positives to speak of. Tee boxes were very poor, greens were poor (despite the time of year) and the course was very wet underfoot. The greenkeepers need to do more to present the course better, at all times of year. I find it almost insulting that this course is played so high up this 'top 100' list as it certainly doesn't merit it's spot. I can't recall one hole that wasn't bland or simply better than a bit "meh". The course is on a par with the municipal courses at Troon, at a push. It's really not worth a visit if you're in the area, nor is it good value for money.
Hugh
January 03, 2014
Just as Shakespeare's tragic play is an anomaly, I suggest Mr Macbeth that your comments are also. In parts of the west of Scotland, December 2013 was the wettest since records began. No mortal greenkeeper can do anything about torrential rain and hurricane force winds. Even the world’s best links courses get soggy and occasionally flooded under these extreme weather conditions.
Phil MacBeth
January 06, 2014
Hugh, I played at Gailes Links, Turnberry (Ailsa) and Gullane (admittedly not West Coast) in December and have nothing but positives to speak of regarding their condition, and overall enjoyment. Irvine Bogside is as described, a bit of a bog. Perhaps the level of finance simply isn't available in comparison to the courses I've listed above and perhaps that's why the drainage is pretty poor. However, that aside, it's got to be the most bland links course I've played in many years. I simply cannot recall one hole that is worthy of a mention. It is no surprise that it won't be used as Open Qualifier when The Open returns to Troon, Gailes Links holds that honour, and quite rightly so. It's a course befitting The Open, with time and money clearly being invested into it's presentation. I'm glad I got the chance to play at Irvine though, it's allowed me the chance to experience it and decide that I won't return for an open competition.
Journeyman pro
March 13, 2014
Phil I would suggest that you contact the club if you feel you have had such a wildly disappointing visit. All other reviews on the site are constructive and complimentary I feel that some of your comments are ill advised and totally out of context when put against the rest. I''m sure the green keeper at irvine knows his job well as the condition of the greens and course are complimented in most posts here. I doubt he would be so disrespectful as to come to your work and knock the bins of your shoulder.
Brian Coutts
October 12, 2014
Phil, thought you would like to know Irvine Bogside has been selected to host the final qualifying for The British Ladies Open held at Turnberry 2015. Not to bad for a bland links.
jon dougherty
This is a really great links.It is tough with several tough par4's especially on the back 9.We were really looked after by the pro who managed to get us out before the members started and this really helped ous to enjoyour round.The holes are each quite different and require good solid iron approaches to get any birdie opportunities.The back 9 in particluar is tough ,but the 17th and 18th (next to the railway) are both fine holes and a great finish.This course may not be as illustrious as some of its neighbours especially Turnberry but is well worth a visit .
July 27, 2006
8 / 10
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Hugh
Irvine is a fine classic links set a little way away from the shoreline. Some great holes oozing character and charm, including the tricky 4th and 5th, which provide a great test of golf despite their modest length. One of the best of numerous Open Qualifying courses in this area. The greens are quite magnificent and the club is one of the friendliest I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. Well worth playing when in the area and great value too.
August 29, 2005
6 / 10
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