Rowallan Castle - Ayrshire & Arran - Scotland

Rowallan Castle Golf Club,
Kilmaurs,
Ayrshire,
KA3 2LP


  • +44 (0) 1563 530550

  • Golf Club Website

  • 5 miles N of Kilmarnock, off the B751

  • Welcome, some weekend tee times also available

  • Niall Campbell

  • Colin Montgomerie with Ross McMurray of EGD

  • David Addison and Ross Aitken

When you think of top-flight golf in Ayrshire, you automatically think of the famous links courses running along the coast from Troon to Prestwick and Turnberry. Well, it’s time to think again as the new inland course at Rowallan Castle near Kilmaurs is all set to complement these golfing greats in fine style.

The course is laid out within an historic 600-acre estate that dates back to the 16th century with fairways draped across a gently undulating landscape that incorporates open meadow, wetland and woodland sites. Water also plays a part at a number of holes but never in a dominating, obtrusive fashion.

Designed by Colin Montgomerie with Ross McMurray from European Golf Design, Rowallan Castle is the latest in a burgeoning portfolio for Monty and EGD that now includes the likes of Carton House in Ireland, Royal Golf Club in Bahrain and Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Turkey. With quality projects like these to their name, it’s no surprise to find that Rowallan Castle is another classy track from the same design team.

The three short holes on the outward half (“Ross’s Quarry” at hole 2, “Doctor’s Bend” at hole 5 and “Old Castle” at hole 8) are all contenders for signature hole on the property. The green to the first of these sits behind a lovely wetland area to the right of the hole, the second has a pond lurking to the left of the green and the third requires an elevated tee shot across a shaded valley to a raised green with a stream to the front.

Two holes – the 490-yard par four 11th (“Goat Fell”) and 609-yard par five 16th (”Laird’s Ride”) – are the pick of the holes on the back nine and both dogleg downhill to the left. The former is a formidable two-shotter and the latter will take two mighty blows to get anywhere near a raised green protected by a pond and three enormous bunkers – good luck with getting anything less than a five on this hole.

Rather uniquely, Rowallan also boasts a testing par three 19th hole ("The Decider") where informal match play games that are still tied after 18 holes may be decided before proceeding to the more conventional 19th in the modern new clubhouse.
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Reviews for Rowallan Castle

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Description: Rowallan Castle Golf Club is laid out within an historic estate with fairways draped across a gently undulating landscape that incorporates open meadow, wetland and woodland sites. Rating: 3.8 out of 6 Reviews: 32

My first visit to Rowallan Castle made quite an impression on me, sticking in my mind for good and not so good reasons. The good being that it is not every day that you get to play with a course designer, providing a commentary on his layout which was both entertaining and highly educational. The bad, the monstrosity of the pylon on the 13th fairway, Rowallan Castle Golf Course - Photo by reviewernow thankfully gone. But that was 4 years ago and a return visit was long overdue. Most of the reviews below this mention that the course drainage has been an issue. The last day of September 2014, saw a bone dry course albeit with preferred lies, and as Scotland has been unseasonably dry for the last 2 months it would premature to suggest that the drainage issues have been resolved, but it would fair to say however, that progress has been made. This review will be very similar to my piece from 2010. The par 3s, especially holes 2.5 and 8 are still terrific, the bunkering remains exceptional, the pylon free 13th an added bonus. What is evident is that the course has matured and gone up a notch in my opinion. I was almost tempted to move it up to a 5 ball mark but holes at 4, 14 and 15 just hold it back for me. That being said if the course can withstand the rain with the improved drainage it is a very decent track and excellent value for money on teeofftimes. MPPJ
4 / 6
Rowallan Castle
October 02, 2014


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I played this course in a 4 ball bounce game on Sunday 8th September 2013, in order to use the last of my Scottish Golf Show vouchers.Many of the previous comments very much reflect what we have to say about the course itself. Although there had been some recent rain, I expect a golf course of this supposed standard to stand up to this with relative ease. Unfortunately this wasn't this case as all fairways encountered were sodden in a number of areas. Some very strange drainage decisions have been made here with some open drains featured in prominent landing areas from the tee's.I can see the course improving greatly with the introduction of necessary drainage measures as the greens and tee's were in good condition, although perhaps not to the level as some suggest here.The challenge of the course itself in terms of layout was excellent, just a shame that such a major factor as drainage solutions are letting the property down so badly.For that reason I won't rush back!!
3 / 6
Rowallan Castle
September 09, 2013


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I played Rowallan Castle in a Europro Pro-Am event earlier today. I had never played the course before so had read a number of reviews ahead of playing - I was anxious given the number of references to poor drainage and the recent rain - even though this was after a prolonged dry spell.I am happy to report that we enjoyed a fabulous day. The weather held dry and warm (with storms all around as we reached the end of the round) and I was really impressed with the course. A stiff challenge to say the least with a real championship feel and importantly in excellent condition throughout with wonderful greens.Monty has done a great job, really tough strategic bunkering, very interesting layout with a number of standout holes and with the possible exception of the 10th, no real weak ones (the 10th being a little bland that's all).Our team had a mixed handicap range from 9 to 18, yet we all enjoyed the course greatly. Clearly we were lucky that there has been a spell of great weather, but equally, last year was exceptionally wet - but I didn't play it then so cannot comment. We all thought the course was an enjoyable and very tough challenge and a welcome addition to the Scottish offer with strong hints of The Roxburghe & Spey Valley.Off the course the Glasshouse is a lovely place for coffee and lunch, and the staff were great. The visitors locker room is far too small and perhaps more importantly, there is no driving range/significant practice area but as criticisms go, they are important observations, but did not take away from a great day.Would happily return which I suppose is the ultimate accolade - mainly for the golf course itself - but overall we had a great day.,
5 / 6
Rowallan Castle
July 30, 2013


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played rowallan on the 31/05/2013 using the scottish golf show vouchers, was a tad worried reading some of the reviews about the drainage but there was no signs of any water apart from where it should be, tees were good fairways were great to hit off and the greens were superb. layout was great with some lovely looking holes especially the par 3's, the members of staff were very friendly and the whole day was just fantastic will 100% be back to play it asap
5 / 6
Rowallan Castle
May 31, 2013


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I played this course for the first time on 19th December 2012 (I love golf too much to stop during the winter months!) and was fearing the worst, given the wet weather and some of the reviews on here about the drainage. However, I was mightily impressed with the course condition. The fairways are not any worse than other courses I have played over the recent winter months, in fact they stood up pretty well. The tees are in great knick and the greens were absolutely superb, especially given the time of year - I cant wait to play this course in the summer when the sun is shining! Some really spectacular holes, especially one or two of the par threes. The huge par 5 number 16 also stood out for me as did the approach to the castle on the 18th. The clubhouse has been finished to a high spec as well, however facilities are very small which I can forsee problems with in the busy summer months, although the friendly and attentive staff more than made up for this. The receptionist that was on when I was there was also smokin hot, which always helps!
5 / 6
Rowallan Castle
December 19, 2012


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Luke Duncan
January 16, 2013
I find this post very hard to believe, given that in the summer the fairways are bogs and in embarrassing condition. By any chance do you work for the club? If so please stop wasting everyone's time on this by trying to convince them that the course is playable. I seem to remember in the summer power trolleys and normal pull type trolleys were banned. Not good at all,and as for a 5 ball rating...........laughable!
This course SHOULD be up there in the top 100 courses in Britian but sadly it is terribly let down by......you have guessed it LACK OF DRAINAGE. Its all well and good having a good design / layout and greens but in my view the only reason the greeen are good is because 9/10 of them are elevated compared to the rest of the hole. The fairways on almost every hole are completely sodden making it impossible to enjoy the course and layout when nearly every iron shot results in a splash of mud hitting your face. There is no point in seeking relief from caual water as there is literally no where within 100yds to take relief....I have played this course loads of times and never left it with anything but mud upto my knees. I really cant tell you how dissapointed I am with the place. There are often no trolleys allowed on the course, frequent course closures at the slightest whiff of a rain shower, the standard of changing facilities are good but very limited in size for a course wanting to position itself as a Championship venue. I could go on and on but please take my advice and save ur money for somewhere that has proper drainage..
3 / 6
Rowallan Castle
October 30, 2012


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As a member and golfer of several years I feel perfectly placed to accurately sum up Rowallan Castle. It is a fantastic layout which WILL be up there with the best in Scotish parkland courses but if and only if Mr Cambell decides to insert fairway drainage and soon - very soon. The greens are really really good as are the design of the holes however at the slightest sight of a rain cloud then wellies are needed along with a full change of clothes. A modern course in a wet area requires drainage and lots of it however very very little has actually been put in the course and as a result it is always wet unless there is a dry spell of many many days. I fear that unless the drainage issue is sorted out soon then Rowallan will gain a reputation that it may never recover from. It may be an expense that a private owner wishes to avoid but if you want to entice visitors and keep members i'm afraid it is a necessary evil. Please sort it out because if you do this WILL be a joy to play and will leap up the top 100 golf course list. Could and should be 5 ball rating but drainage badly lets it down. Sorry.
2 / 6
Rowallan Castle
September 29, 2012


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Not a well drained course, but greens excellent.Could not recommend playing this course until something was seriously done to their drainage.
3 / 6
Rowallan Castle
August 28, 2012


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I cannot understand how anyone could give this course a 6 ball rating, putting it into the realm of championship and Open courses. When I played the fairways were as bad as any I have ever played, more akin to a poorly maintained municipal course. My trousers ended up caked in mud and my shoes sodden. The staff were offhand if not rude, and to cap it all, when we finished, the clubhouse was locked up at 7pm. The only saving grace was some of the par3s, and the views of the historic properties. To have this course in the top 100 Scottish courses is nonsensical.
1 / 6
Rowallan Castle
August 17, 2012


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Anon
August 20, 2012
I can totally agree with this review. I was going to write my own post but whats the point when this one sums the place up. What was not mentioned though was the fact that when I played it in August after around a week of great weather, there was a restriction on power trolleys and preffered lies were in use, this was a week or so AFTER the Europro event that was held there, so theres no excuse as to why this was.
After keeping a close eye on reviews on my course on this site and various others, it has became apparent to me that after each negative report on Rowallan there seems to be a pattern where a positive review is followed shortly after. Remember this is for people who pay the money to play these courses, not for management to post their own views on the course which is what is clearly happening. If you do not like what is being posted do someothing about it and spend money on drainage which seems to be the only issue with Rowallan Castle.
3 / 6
Rowallan Castle
July 23, 2012


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David Jones
July 24, 2012
These series of reviews really do some up just where this website has sadly gone wrong. While I'm not keen to promote censorship, the standard of this website have fallen so low in the last 2 years it really does make you wonder. Take the scoring of the reviews below, one guy writes a silly review with a low score then for a week we get reviews in defence declaring it a 6 ball course no less. Do me a favour, all of you..... please take the petty arguments to youtube where their contributors love this playground stuff. Better still, just flop them out so we can see who has the biggest? There was a time, just before Tandridge high jacked this website, that you felt you could plan a holiday around reviews on here. I used to look forward to seeing where regular contributors such as Jim McCann, Cedric and Ian had played and the stories they had to tell. Can we have the old website back please?
Keith Baxter
July 24, 2012
David, since you don’t promote censorship, perhaps you’d email me directly if you have an idea, or even a process that might raise the standards to your liking. [email protected]
Harre
July 26, 2012
To give this course 6 balls is so ridiculous it's not worth talking about. It's not worth 1 either but that's at least closer to the truth considering the condition it's been in and the attitude of the staff. Regarding process improvement I'll be mailing you some ideas Keith. /Cheers, H
Matthew Adams
July 26, 2012
I’m sure members at Rowallan Castle or any top100 track are proud of their home course and don't take kindly to less than glowing reviews. Overly effusive reviews may result in short term increases in visitor numbers but will lead to real golfers leaving real feedback. Perhaps every contributor could declare their current course membership status and members be precluded from reviewing their home course. At the very least, members’ reviews could be highlighted / shaded to show their origin, and the score they give excluded from the course’s overall average ranking. Contributors should also have played the actual course (within the last 12 months) rather than having walked past it. Keep up the good work Top100.