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Top 5 Golf Courses in Argyll & Bute 2015

03 July, 2015

Top 5 Golf Courses in Argyll & Bute 2015

Argyll & Bute Best in Region rankings updated

Argyll & Bute covers a wide expanse of mainly hilly territory on the west coast of Scotland and the local authority for the region provides administration for the second largest area covered by any Scottish council. A couple of dozen golf clubs are scattered throughout this big district, where most of the courses comprise small 9-hole layouts.

These little tracks might never make it into any of the ranking lists but it would be unwise to dismiss them out of hand as they’re bursting with character and lots of fun to play. Turning our attention to courses that have made the Top 5 chart for Argyll & Bute, the first three positions remain exactly the same as last time.

The Championship course at Machrihanish retains the number 1 position and this highly regarded old links is a magical place to play golf in a wild, romantic location. Originally set out by Charles Hunter in 1876, Old Tom Morris and J.H. Taylor also made their mark on this layout before Sir Guy Campbell made further improvements to coincide with development work at the airport next door.

Machrie, on the island of Islay, remains at number 2 on the new list. This delightful old links, laid out by Willie Campbell in 1891 and modified by Donald Steel in the late 1970s, has recently changed ownership, resulting in a complete remodel of the layout by architect D J Russell. One of the Top 100 Team will visit the upgraded links this July so we’ll be able to see the exciting new changes first hand and report back on the improvements in due course.

Still the number 3 course in the region, the David McLay Kidd-designed course at Machrihanish Dunes is a newcomer in Argyll & Bute, only opening for play in 2008. Built on a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the course has had a number of environmental constraints placed upon it to protect the wetlands and dunes through which the fairways are routed, all of which allows players to experience an almost pure, elemental game of links golf.

Up one position to number 4 in the rankings, the course at Dunaverty lies to the south of Machrihanish and Machrihanish Dunes, at the southern tip of the Kintyre peninsula, and it’s an unfortunate fact that this very short 4,800 yard layout often gets overlooked by golfers visiting the other two big name courses. Nevertheless, if good old-fashioned links golf is your thing, playing lots of par threes and short par fours, then this little charmer is just the place you want to acquaint yourself with.

The number 5 spot in the chart belongs to a new entry, Millport, located on the isle of Great Cumbrae, which is accessed via a short 15-minute ferry ride from Largs, on the mainland. The club has been in existence for over 125 years and its course is a James Braid design that dates back just over a century. Popular with day-trippers and golf societies, Millport is a holiday course that still offers a decent challenge, as a standard scratch score of 69, one over the par, testifies.

We’re very grateful to all the clubs and professionals in this region who contributed to our re-ranking process. To view more details of the courses in our newly updated Argyll & Bute Top 5 rankings, click the link. If you’ve played extensively across this region and would like to get involved in shaping the next edition of the chart then please drop Editor-in-Chief Keith Baxter an email at [email protected].

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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