West & South West Scotland – Best in Region Rankings 2019
This is the last of three regional news releases in connection with our fifteen districts in Scotland, covering Argyll & Bute, Ayrshire & Arran, Dumfries & Galloway, Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire. We publish ranking charts for each of these seven geographical areas, incorporating 70 courses in total, with almost half of them making it into our national listings.
Now that our biennial revision process has been completed for this country, we’ll shortly be announcing the latest edition of our national Top 100. So, without any further ado, we present what we consider to be the best golfing layouts in the west and southwest of Scotland, offering a marvellous mix of links, parkland and moorland tracks that you can dream about ticking off your “must-play” list in the New Year.
Argyll & Bute
The course at Ardfin on the island of Jura missed out in our re-ranking process two years ago as it had only just been built. Now it enters our Argyll & Bute chart in the No. 1 slot, brushing aside three other very highly regarded layouts in the locality, all of which are competitively ranked within both our Scottish and Great Britain & Ireland standings.
Ardfin Golf Course
Despite having no posted reviews since the end of 2017, a sufficient number of our raters have played Ardfin and our US Consultant David Davis revisited the estate a few weeks ago to see how things are progressing... David was again very impressed indeed.
Beppo Buchanan-Smith, who formerly worked at his family’s Isle of Eriska hotel & spa near Oban, now looks after the hospitality elements at Ardfin and he told us the current plan is to reopen before Easter next year: “Play will remain strictly limited to no more than twenty rounds a day and we will be operating the Quadrangle building and Jura House for guests to stay and therefore non-resident play will be by prior appointment as resident guests will have priority.”
Green fees are still to be set but at least it looks as if casual play will be permitted.
|2||Machrihanish (Championship)||Down 1|
|4||Machrihanish Dunes||Down 1|
Ayrshire & Arran
There’s very little movement in our Top 20 for Ayrshire & Arran, where the Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry is still the district No. 1. In our review of the month for October 2019, Mark White reckons the Ailsa is one of ten courses that “are in the discussion of the best golf course in the world.” He continued: “Trump Turnberry is an amazing golf course. The views from the clubhouse are excellent. The views from the hotel are even better. It has great food and a comfortable place to eat. It has a very large pro shop and fabulous locker room. The golf course, however is the star of the property, no matter how excellent the hotel, spa and clubhouse.”
Trump Turnberry Ailsa Golf Course
Brunston Castle in Dailly, first owned and built by a Belgian diamond merchant in the early 1990s, had a number of private owners over the years before club members took over the lease of the course and the clubhouse in 2013. Unfortunately, with membership figures dropping to less than a hundred, the club closed its doors in January this year and the course has now been replaced in our county chart by Loudoun Gowf, which dropped out last time around.
|1||Turnberry (Ailsa)||No change|
|2||Royal Troon (Old)||No change|
|3||Western Gailes||No change|
|6||Turnberry (King Robert the Bruce)||No change|
|7||Glasgow (Gailes Links)||No change|
|9||Pestwick St Nicholas||No change|
|10||West Kilbride||Up 1|
|11||Kilmarnock (Barassie)||Down 1|
|13||Royal Troon (Portland)||No change|
|14||Rowallan Castle||No change|
|15||Troon (Darley)||Up 2|
|18||Troon (Lochgreen)||No change|
Dumfries & Galloway
The course at Southerness is still the No. 1 layout in Dumfries & Galloway, with four of the five reviews posted in the last two years awarding it a 5-ball rating. Opened for play just after the end of World War II, it’s a Philip Mackenzie Ross design that plays to a par of 69 with a Standard Scratch Score of 73 so golfers will have their links skills tested to the full when playing here, especially if the wind gets up on the exposed Solway Firth.
Southerness Golf Club
|4||Portpatrick (Dunskey)||No change|
|5||Cally Palace||No change|
|6||Wigtownshire County||Up 1|
|7||Dumfries & County||Down 1|
|9||Dumfries & Galloway||Down 1|
The No. 1 course is Dunbartonshire is still Loch Lomond, venue for fifteen editions of the Scottish Open, starting three years after it first opened for play in 1993. Laid out on the banks of the famous loch by former design partners Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf, the course isn’t the easiest to access but David Davis was here last year and had the following to say about his playing experience:
Loch Lomond Golf Club
“The opportunity to visit Loch Lomond is a real treat and doesn’t come easy or often for anyone except the select few. However, when you get really lucky and are given the chance it’s always nice to see what kind of treatment the lucky members become accustomed to. The service is second to none, every wish is taken care of and special attention is paid by the staff to make sure your adventure is perfect.”
|1||Loch Lomond||No change|
|3||Hilton Park (Hilton)||No change|
|8||Douglas Park||No change|
The Championship course at Cawder is still the No. 1 in Glasgow district, fending off a strong challenge by Cathkin Braes as it moves up one place to the runner-up spot. Located in Bishopbriggs, on the outskirts of the city, Cawder Golf Club operates two 18-hole layouts, both of which were designed by James Braid, though the Championship has been modified several times since it was first set out in the early 1930s so how much of Braid’s work remains intact is debateable.
Cawder Golf Club Championship Course
|1||Cawder (Championship)||No change|
|2||Cathkin Braes||Up 1|
|3||Glasgow (Killermont)||Down 1|
|5||Haggs Castle||No change|
Lanark remains at the top of the tree in Lanarkshire. Six holes which were instigated within the current 18-hole layout in 1851 are recognised as forming the 15th oldest golf course in the world. Old Tom Morris extended the original course to eighteen holes in 1897 then James Braid made some changes thirty years later but nothing much has changed in almost a century since then.
Lanark Golf Club
|5||Bothwell Castle||Down 1|
|6||East Kilbride||No change|
|7||Easter Moffat||No change|
|9||Colville Park||New entry|
|10||Crow Wood||Down 2|
The course at East Renfrewshire holds onto its No. 1 status. It’s yet another layout from the prolific James Braid – who is said to have had a hand in more than 400 golf designs – and the course recently underwent some renovation of its closing holes, with new drainage installed and bunkers modified.
East Renfrewshire Golf Club
Erskine and the Old Course Ranfurly are the only two courses to make upward moves in the new chart, the former rising one place to number seven with the latter (up two) tucked in behind at number eight.
|1||East Renfrewshire||No change|
|3||Ranfurly Castle||No change|
|4||Mar Hall - Earl of Mar||No change|
|8||Old Course Ranfurly||Up 2|
Next up, our 2020 Top 100 for Scotland…
Top 100 Golf Courses