West & South West Scotland - Best in Region Rankings 2019

13 November 2019 Respond to this article

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 Jura

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.

Argyll & Bute Top 7 Golf Courses 2019

Rank/ Course Move
1 Ardfin New entry
2 Machrihanish (Championship) Down 1
3 Machrie Down 1
4 Machrihanish Dunes Down 1
5 Dunaverty Down 1
6 Glencruiten New entry
7 Millport Down 2


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 course

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.

Ayrshire & Arran Top 10 Golf Courses 2019

Rank/ Course Move
1 Turnberry (Ailsa) No change
2 Royal Troon (Old) No change
3 Western Gailes No change
4 Prestwick No change
5 Dundonald No change
6 Turnberry (King Robert the Bruce) No change
7 Glasgow (Gailes Links) No change
8 Irvine No change
9 Pestwick St Nicholas No change
10 West Kilbride Up 1
11 Kilmarnock (Barassie) Down 1
12 Shiskine No change
13 Royal Troon (Portland) No change
14 Rowallan Castle No change
15 Troon (Darley) Up 2
16 Largs Down 1
17 Belleisle Down 1
18 Troon (Lochgreen) No change
19 Ballochmyle Up 1
20 Loudoun New entry


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

Southerness Golf Club

Powfoot in Annan moves up one place to the runner-up position, Wigtownshire County at Glenluce also climbs one spot to No. 6 and Kirkcudbright advances a couple of rungs on the ladder to No. 8.

Dumfries & Galloway Top 10 Golf Courses 2019

Rank/ Course Move
1 Southerness No change
2 Powfoot Up 1
3 Stranraer Down 1
4 Portpatrick (Dunskey) No change
5 Cally Palace No change
6 Wigtownshire County Up 1
7 Dumfries & County Down 1
8 Kirkcudbright Up 2
9 Dumfries & Galloway Down 1
10 Lochmaben New entry


Dunbartonshire

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

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.”

Further down the chart, both Hayston and Milngavie make modest one place gains in the county Top 10.

Dunbartonshire Top 10 Golf Courses 2019

Rank/ Course Move
1 Loch Lomond No change
2 Carrick No change
3 Hilton Park (Hilton) No change
4 Hayston Up 1
5 Cardross Down 1
6 Milngavie Up 1
7 Balmore Down 1
8 Douglas Park No change
9 Helensburgh No change
10 Windyhill No change


Glasgow

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

Cawder Golf Club Championship Course

Glasgow Top 5 Golf Courses 2019

Rank/ Course Move
1 Cawder (Championship) No change
2 Cathkin Braes Up 1
3 Glasgow (Killermont) Down 1
4 Pollok No change
5 Haggs Castle No change


Lanarkshire

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

Lanark Golf Club

Drumpellier (at #4) and Carnwath (at #8) both rise one place in the new county table, with Colville Park, which dropped out under the last revision, returning at No. 9.

Lanarkshire Top 10 Golf Courses 2019

Rank/ Course Move
1 Lanark No change
2 Hamilton No change
3 Strathaven No change
4 Drumpellier Up 1
5 Bothwell Castle Down 1
6 East Kilbride No change
7 Easter Moffat No change
8 Carnwath Up 1
9 Colville Park New entry
10 Crow Wood Down 2


Renfrewshire

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

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.

Renfrewshire Top 10 Golf Courses 2019

Rank/ Course Move
1 East Renfrewshire No change
2 Kilmacolm No change
3 Ranfurly Castle No change
4 Mar Hall - Earl of Mar No change
5 Paisley No change
6 Bonnyton No change
7 Erskine Up 1
8 Old Course Ranfurly Up 2
9 Renfrew Down 2
10 Whitecraigs Down 1


Next up, our 2020 Top 100 for Scotland…

Jim McCann
Editor
Top 100 Golf Courses