In 1895, the founding members of Paisley Golf Club laid out a rather basic course on a 40-acre site that had previously been used for grazing on the Bushes Farm, to the south of the town. For half a century, golfers were apparently content to play on this small, somewhat cramped 9-hole layout until just after World War II, when the local authorities decided to build houses on the property.
A new location for the club was identified on higher ground at Gleniffer Braes and the architect chosen to set out the fairways on this moorland tract was Philip Mackenzie Ross, who had just completed the new course at Southerness and the reconstruction of the Ailsa at Turnberry. Built by John Hamilton Stutt, who constructed many of James Braid’s courses, Paisley’s 18-hole layout was opened just in time for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.The course is cleverly routed, with both nines rising up the braes from the clubhouse, only to return back down again at the par four 9th and 18th. Feature holes here include testing par fives at holes 3 and 12 and tempting short par fours at holes 7 and 11, whilst the heroic 200-yard 15th (“Silver Tassie”) is a sensational downhill par three that’s alone worth paying the green fee. And with a standard scratch score of one stroke over the par, Paisley’s more than capable of offering a decent test of golf.
I played here for the first time last August and really enjoyed the course. Returning just the other day, I liked it even more as it reaffirmed what I’d thought the first time: this is a track with definite Scottish Top 100 potential.
It’s not too long at just under 6,500 yards from the back tees but a SSS of 72 versus a par of 71 tells you it’s no pushover. What I like most is the course’s routing. Philip Mackenzie Ross knew a thing or two about golf course design – laying out both the Ailsa and Southerness about the same time as Paisley – and his two loops of nine fit the difficult landscape on the braes perfectly.
The par fives at the 3rd and 12th are wonderful 3 shotters whilst the plunging par four 5th and short, doglegged par four 11th are both terrific holes. “Silver Tassie,” the 200-yard downhill 15th has to be one of the best par threes in Scottish golf - if only the closing three holes that follow were a little bit more exciting this would elevate the course up another notch again.
Nonetheless, this is a strong 4-ball track that deserves recognition as one of the more solid member club courses in Renfrewshire.