A couple of disclaimers in writing this review: 1. quite a few years ago, one of my daughters attended a wedding on Islay and brought home some souvenirs from the Machrie course for me; I’ve been marking my ball and fixing my ball marks with Machrie logo items ever since, so it’s had a warm place in my heart way before I ever set foot there. And 2. I’ve never played on the pre-renovation Machrie so I had nothing with which to compare my recent golf experience there. We let a 3-ball of locals play through, and they gently groused about the new course, saying they were ‘still getting used to it’.
The newly redesigned Machrie is a wonderful course. I had the pleasure of playing it twice, on May 5th and 6th in brilliant sunny weather. The first day, the wind machine was blowing at max 10—a chilly wind coming straight out of the east blowing right out to sea—and on the second day the wind machine was almost inconceivably cranked up to 11.
The course itself is starkly beautiful: close by the sea, treeless, undulating, scrubbed by the wind; and the layout is imaginative, with many memorable holes. Very few bunkers; the lay of the land presents enough of a challenge. As newcomers, there were many places where we’d have to climb up on dunes or on bluffs to see where the heck we were supposed to go. It’s a course I’d be happy playing again and again, and I would highly recommend a trip there.
Many details are still works in progress: the hotel is still being built, the scorecard was a piece of paper, the clubhouse is a little cabin on the edge of the construction zone, and a course guide would prove a useful tool. But these details are minor ones: the course itself is terrific. Go there; it’s wonderful links golf.
Date: May 17, 2017