Prestwick St Nicholas - Ayrshire & Arran - Scotland

Prestwick St Nicholas Golf Club,
Grangemuir Road,
Prestwick,
Ayrshire,
KA9 1SN,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1292 477608

  • Eddie Prentice

  • John Allan and Charlie Hunter

  • Gareth Hardy

Local Scottish rhymeThe members of Prestwick St Nicholas Golf Club originally played on the adjacent 12-hole Prestwick course that held the first twelve Open Championships between 1860 and 1872 (incidentally, there was no Open held in 1871 for anyone who realizes there are 13 years in that time span). The club moved away in 1877 to another piece of land to the south east of Prestwick but fifteen years later, they relocated to the present site where they remain until this day.

Henry Cotton, in the 1930s, spoke of St Nicholas as “a miniature championship course” which perfectly describes the links – its only weakness is its comparative shortness. But then that’s probably what endears it to the older, more discerning golfer, who realises length isn’t everything on a golf course!

Measuring a little more than 6,000 yards, there are two old-fashioned short par fours on the course, one on the outward nine and one on the inward half. “Maryborough” is the 281-yard 3rd hole, played towards the Firth of Clyde from an elevated tee to a green surrounded by punishing rough. The 276-yard 15th, called “Kingcase” is played to a plateau green that runs at an angle to the fairway. Both holes may look straightforward from the tee but members will tell you a par score at each hole is never an easy feat.

Other design traits from a bygone era include a blind approach to the 6th hole, the criss-crossing of fairways at the 6th and 7th holes and the conclusion of the round with a par three hole that plays to every inch of its 227-yard length.

The opening three holes and closing three holes are situated amongst the most undulating terrain on the course with fairways rising and falling like huge waves on a stormy sea. If only the holes on the other side of the Maryborough Road between the 4th and the 15th had the same wild contours – not that they are bland by any means.

Course management is the name of the game at Prestwick St Nicholas. If you can cope with several blind shots, intelligent bunkering, water (at the flooded quarry on the 8th hole), whins, gorse and rough then a good score can be made here as the fairways are generous and the putting surfaces are famed for their quality all year round.

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Reviews for Prestwick St Nicholas

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Description: Prestwick St Nicholas Golf Club is a traditional links course with commanding views across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran. Rating: 6.6 out of 10 Reviews: 14
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Jim McCann
Prestwick St Nicholas - photo by Jim McCannI returned to this lovely wee course to compete in my first Seniors Open, having recently turned 50 - though I can’t for the life of me wonder why so many of the tee markers were placed so far forward on the tee boxes. The Committee surely didn’t think all the competitors would be 70+ year old dodderers… or is that what I’m going to face in the future? Anyway, the course was running very fast and hard with putting surfaces as good as they always are when I’ve played here- really first class greens keeping. The opening and closing three holes are the real highlights, played amongst the most undulating terrain on the property (but I’m sorry, I still don’t like mounding behind the 10th green- it’s fine with uncut grass at the back now, but not shaved on the putting green side). Overall, a fine day’s golf was had in excellent company on a breezy day with the wind quartering in from the Firth on the closing six holes. The course is not the most difficult in terms of length but the whispy rough and patches of gorse have to be avoided at all costs to make any sort of a score. St.Nicholas is recommended as a fair, honest member club where you have to think your way around to make your mark. Jim McCann
June 11, 2008
6 / 10
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allan mcmillan
I played this gem of a course for the first time on May 1st, 2008. The condition of the greens was perfect and they ran true. The fairways were undulating and presented strategic challenges. I thought the holes were varied and interesting, and the views of the surrounding Ayrshire coast on a sunny evening were stunning! My favourite hole was the 16th 'Tom Morris'. A twisting, undulating hole of great character. Well worth playing this course as it is true links standard and a real gem!
May 03, 2008
8 / 10
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Jim McCann

Our fourball played St.Nicholas on a rare February morning (dry and sunny with just a light breeze blowing) so conditions were ideal for a wee winter warmer on the Ayrshire coast. I last played here a couple of years ago and this visit reaffirmed what I’d thought before (and what my three mates thought this time) – St.Nicholas is a cracking wee links course that is much under rated.

The starter mentioned the two stone buildings beside the green at the 3rd hole were old Salt Pan Houses dating back to 1760 – I’m surprised the club make no mention of such a fascinating fact in their very succinct web site pages. An oversight that should surely be corrected.

Some winter tee positions were a little strange. Like the 2nd hole, where the tee was placed 150 yards away (almost at right angles to its normal elevated position). Or the 7th hole, when the hole was totally devalued by placing the tee 150 yards ahead of its normal place (perched on a sand dune on the right of the fairway).

The opening and closing three holes are laid out over great links land and they remain etched in the mind as an abiding memory of playing here so I’d forgotten how good so many of the holes between 4 and 15 really were.But what have the club done with the par three 10th hole? An artificial mound has been created to the left and the back of the green, affording the green some protection from sea spray that comes off the coast nearby but I think it is an abomination – and had the cheek as a visiting guest to tell the club secretary because, like football, golf is also a game about opinions!

The clubhouse locker rooms are so well appointed and the lounge so informal and relaxed – Prestwick St.Nicholas members should be really proud of their club and the way they welcome visitors so warmly. Incidentally, playing here was a real bargain – not only do they offer a cut price winter rate green fee but they also allow a 25% Openfairways card discount per golfer on top!

Jim McCann

February 03, 2007
6 / 10
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Hugh
Prestwick St Nicholas is totally overshadowed by its esteemed ancient neighbour but it many ways and certainly pound for pound, St Nicholas is every bit as good. The character of the course is distinctly different and the best holes for me appear at the start and the finish…… these undulate through wild links terrain while the mid section is flatter and less interesting. Nevertheless it’s a stunning little track and one that I play regularly when visiting Ayrshire and I recommend that you play it and I promise you will be pleasantly and pleasurably surprised.
November 14, 2006
8 / 10
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Jim McCann
March 13, 2013
As so often happens with courses very near more illustrious neighbours (Murcar and Royal Aberdeen, Portstewart and Royal Portrush to mention but two other cases) Prestwick St Nicholas gets overshadowed by old Prestwick which is a real pity. The course has a particularly good opening and closing stretch of half a dozen holes played over some formidable linksland. The course is not overly long at a touch under 6,000 yards from the medal tees and the rough is not too penal though beware if the wind blows. Greens are like putting on a green velvet carpet, even at the end of a long, hard season. The clubhouse has been modernised to a high standard a warm welcome awaits from members that have been met on recent visits. This is a gem of a Scottish links that you'll love and I’m returning to play here in the club’s Gents Seniors Open in June, so I’ll report on my latest St Nicholas experience later this year.