From the point of arrival at this course to the point I left was one of the greatest golfing experiences of my life to far. The weather was good with only a calm breeze to trouble me on the round. Generally it stayed dry and other than a hole or so where there was some dizzle, conditions were perfect. Complementary range balls, good range, challenging putting green. I played the Ailsa on 21st October on a Twighlight offer which was great value considering the heratige of the course. I was paired up with two other players and we played the tournament tees. The tees and fairways were immaculate and the rough was a good challenge at a height of about 12-18 inches in length. Unfortuanely they had scored all the greens which had left some tramlines that meant your putts didnt run true. However I had difficulty in complianing which it was probably my putting stroke. The first 4 holes were a rather calm test and got you warmed up for 5 onwards. Number 5 is a beautiful par 4 that provides an open tee shot before the approach feels very enclosed as the banks rise on each side, the golden rough provided a beautiful scene. Number 6 was a challenging par 3 and despite the warnings from my excellent caddie (Bobby) I pushed it right of the flag and was prompted collected by the enormous bunker. This monster had a face at least 6 foot high. It took me 4 to get out, 2 in the face, one 15 feet out which rolled back in and a final one all the way out. Of particular note is numbers 9 and 10 which feature the light house and the remains of Robert the Bruce's castle. While only a par 69, the course length was a good challenge and I often found a long iron or fairway wood in my hand to the par 4's. The bunkers were incredible and very well kept. They had an acceptable amount of sand to prevent plugging your ball. Number 16 was a bit of a strange hole wherby it had a crowned green that was difficult to hold the ball on. I was distraut to walk onto the 18th tee to realise that my experience was soon to be over, but with a good teeshot and an approach to 20 feet, the birdie I holed made it a little easier to take. This is (and still is) my favorite course in the world so having not played it before I had some very high expectations for it. It didnt let me down and there will have to be something very special to beat this. This course is a must play and while it doesnt count in the scoring of the course itself, I could not speak more highly of the staff at the course that made this a truely wonderful experience.
Date: August 26, 2013