Western Gailes - Ayrshire & Arran - Scotland

Western Gailes Golf Club,
Gailes,
Irvine,
Ayrshire,
KA11 5AE,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1294 311649

  • Golf Club Website

  • 3 miles N of Troon, off A78

  • Welcome Mon, Wed & Fri – contact in advance

Western Gailes Golf Club is wedged between Irvine Bay and the railway tracks on one of Ayrshire’s narrowest strips of links land. Western and its next-door neighbour, Glasgow Gailes, are the northernmost of the exceptional links courses located on this prodigious stretch of Ayrshire coastline.

Four Glaswegians who were fed up with playing on muddy parkland founded the club in 1897. They recruited the first keeper of the greens, Mr. F. Morris, to lay out the course on land leased from the Duke of Portland. Western Gailes is listed in the catalogue of Simpson & Company Golf Architects, but we don't know what work Tom Simpson may have carried out prior to Fred W. Hawtree developing four new holes in the mid 1970s to accomodate a new road.

Western is an unusual layout in that the clubhouse is more or less centrally located. The first four holes head north, parallel to the railway tracks. The next nine holes head straight back along the coastline in a southerly direction, passing the clubhouse along the way, and then the closing five holes head northwards, back towards the clubhouse and once more along the railway line.

Whilst the layout, as we have already mentioned, is unusual but ostensibly nine out and nine back, the holes are wonderfully varied. The fairways undulate gently, interrupted occasionally by three meandering burns that dissect this thin strip of land. The greens sites are cleverly located in naturally folded ground; some are protected by burns whilst others, like the 6th, are in hollows guarded by sand dunes. All the greens are fast, firm and subtly contoured. The 14th hole, a wonderful par five which often plays downwind, provides a huge temptation for big hitters, but numerous bunkers lie in wait.

Be prepared for a westerly wind that can be undeniably ferocious and cunning as it switches direction from south-westerly to north-westerly. On occasions it can be soul-destroying. Western Gailes is a suitably fitting name for this golf course.

Western is a very stiff golfing test – expect to use every club in the bag. The layout measures 6,714 yards from the back tees and Western has hosted a number of important events, including the 1972 Curtis Cup, narrowly won by the USA and the 1964 PGA Championship, won by AG Grubb. Additionally, the course is used for final qualifying when the Open is played at Troon or Turnberry.

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Reviews for Western Gailes

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Description: The holes at Western Gailes Golf Club are wonderfully varied. The fairways undulate gently, interrupted occasionally by three meandering burns... Rating: 8.7 out of 10 Reviews: 47
TaylorMade
Jim McCann

I managed to squeeze a game in last week at Western Gailes - Photo by Jim McCannWestern Gailes and it was a real delight to play again, even if the greens were a wee bit on the bumpy side due to overnight frost.

Holes 5 to 13 which hug the coastline are very good and the winter tee positions at sizeable angles to the side of the holes gave you lots to think about in relation to finding the fairways.

The clubhouse has such a lovely feel to it, with the staff making you feel like a long serving member – not a hint of snootiness or stuffiness here.

Western Gailes is an excellent example of the maxim that clubs with the best courses never have to try too hard to convey that fact to visitors, resulting in a very relaxed atmosphere both on the course and in the clubhouse.

Jim McCann

December 23, 2008
8 / 10
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allan mcmillan
Western Gailes deserves to be higher on the list of great British Golf Courses. It has stunning natural beauty and a rugged grandeur that leaves a memorable impression on the visitor. On a day of brisk wind and sunshine, I kept the ball low and managed to compete with the undulating links. The holes from 4 to 9 were a joy to play and the quality of the fairways and greens were the best I have experienced. The standards in the clubhouse are also first class. I'll be back soon!
November 11, 2008
10 / 10
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allan mcmillan
September 09, 2016

Yes, I reckon Wetern Gailes to be the best and truest links course in Ayrshire. It is secluded beyond the railway line and occupies the finest dune land area. Although some of the holes are not overly long, they do present a tough challenge that demands constantly good shot-making. The club do everything they can to make your visit enjoyable.

colin
Great links golf. If I was being picky I'd say the closing holes become a tad flatter and less interesting, and for the better golfer there are too many short par fours. Doesn't have the sheer brutal challenge and tight bunkering of Troon, but I suspect most ordinary golfers may enjoy Western better. The 4th through to the 7th is a great stretch of golf.
October 14, 2007
8 / 10
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simon freeman
The layout and terrain is so diverse you could play here solidly for a month and not get bored. Brilliant out and back narrow course, jammed between the sea and the railway. Lots of rough, lots of burns and a whole lot of fun. The most tidy links I have ever played- as a links greenkeeper myself I can honestly say I was inspired by the quality of work at Western. Neat wee bridges, sleeper edged ditches, perfectly constructed bunkers, excellent playing surfaces- I absolutely loved every single thing about this place.
August 19, 2007
10 / 10
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Cédric
Not much to add to Jim's review!!!This place is top class!!! Fantastic clubhouse where you can feel the unique atmosphere of a great course…The front nine is probably better than the back nine. Even with almost no wind, this is a tough challenge…Will return anytime!
April 21, 2007
8 / 10
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Jim McCann

Western Gailes is separated from adjacent courses like Barassie , Glasgow Gailes and Dundonald by the railway line but, Western Gailes - Photo by Jim McCannwhat REALLY keeps this course apart from the others is the understated class of the layout – a traditional links course which just oozes quality.

I was fortunate enough to play on a sunny Spring day when the wind was never more than a light breeze and it was an absolute joy to tread the fairways.

The front nine are laid out on ground to the north of the property that is more undulating than the inward half and it is here that the best holes are located. I particularly liked the punchbowl green on the 2nd hole and admired the swale in front of the putting surface on the 3rd – no easing your way into a round here so hit the fairway running or you’ll be punished early on.

The top hole on the card was the 498 yard 6th, called “Lappock” where mounding keeps you in the dark about the cunning green location in the sand hills until the very last minute – a hole where a distance guide is a must for the first time visitor.

The back nine has burns in front of holes 10, 13 and 16 so no slacking off here on your way back to the clubhouse.

All in all, Western Gailes is a must play on any west coast rota of top tracks and with lunch included in the visitors fee, it is surprisingly good value when compared to other leading courses in the vicinity.

Jim McCann

April 16, 2007
8 / 10
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stewart
April 17, 2007
Jim - The sixth is indeed a fantastic hole. Inspired by my recent trip to Ayrshire I just finished James Flanagan’s book, “ Blasted Heaths and Blessed Greens.” He sums up Western Gailes perfectly: “…beginning at the first and running without interruption through the 11th, there are holes—natural and challenging, fair and fascinating—that we not only take the most intense pleasure in playing but that actually articulate why true links golf is the best there is. These holes are routed over the perfect terrain; undulating, mildly hummocky, rising here, tumbling there, the greens sited exactly where—indeed, only where—the greens should be, the fairways marvelously defined by the low dunes and the wild grasses and the heather. We suspect that this just may be the perfect seaside course…. Permit me to insist that Western Gailes is a grand place to play, for it is surely no less.”
stewart
I just returned from 4 days of Golf in the Ayrshire area, having played Glasgow Gailes, Turnberry Ailsa, Turnberry Kintyre, Prestwick (Old), Dundonald and Western Gailes. All were excellent, but the course that surpassed my expectations was Western Gailes. What an interesting and delightful layout. If it had a lighthouse and hosted a few Open Championships I think it would be held to the same level of esteem as Turnberry Ailsa. The green fee is just a fraction of what is charged at Turnberry and includes a fine lunch. The stretch from #6 to #10 is about as good as it gets anywhere. I could play this course every day and never tire of it.
March 26, 2007
10 / 10
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Wimpie
April 03, 2007
I have to agree with the review. I played Royal Dornoch, Gleneagles, Carnoustie, Western Gailes and Turnberry(Ailsa) and the best were Royal Dornoch and Western Gailes. A wonderful surprise and one of the best courses in Scotland. I will return again this year in July and play Muirfield and Glascow Gailes amongst others. Have told everybody that wanted to listen aout this friendly and wonderful course.
Jim Phelps
Western Gailes is truely one of the hidden gems of golf in Scotland. I have played this course for the past two years during my spring golfing excursions to Scotland. It is a wonderful experience that I can hardly wait to repeat.
January 08, 2007
10 / 10
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W
Played the course with 3 friends in October 2006. The green fee was reduced slightly because the greens had been hollow-tined – they were pretty slow, a bit woolly really.Overall we were a little disappointed and would not rank the course as high as 26. All four of us are experienced links players but playing 9 consecutive holes into the wind becomes a little tedious!A good course but not as high as 26.
October 19, 2006
6 / 10
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Andy
Great links course squashed between the railway and the sea. Holes 1-4 go north, 5-13 south and 14-18 back to north, therefore the wind is a big factor. Pretty as a picture at the far end of the course (13th, 14th), so much gorse providing a wonderful scene. Some truly brilliant links holes at Western, par 3 7th and par 4 17th my picks – Highly recommended.
April 27, 2006
8 / 10
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