Far and True!
Machrihanish is not somewhere you just happen to come across in your travels!
It is remotely located near the tip of the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland's west.
There are a number of ways to get there...by light plane from Glasgow it is a short flight, but the small planes can't cope with golf bags and the luggage of someone who has been on the road for weeks...Ferries are intermittently running from Turnberry & Portrush, but this is yet to become a serious option for Travelling golfers....and road transport from Glasgow is also not attractive to the time poor, given the traveling time each way is around 4 hours.
So Machrihanish only attracts the serious or seriously informed golfer!
Machrihanish is now an even more attractive golfing destination with the addition of the brand new Machrihanish Dunes next to the old course, and the renovated Ugadale hotel and apartments ensuring a very comfortable stay.
Machrihanish GC dates from the 1870's, with Old Tom Morris influential in taking the course from 12 holes to 18 holes in 1879.
The course is one of the most natural golfing links in the world. With a nine holes out, and nine in format, it is the front nine that really captures the imagination as it moves through a dramatic dunescape by the sea.
The back nine has some fine holes, but generally is sited in less undulating land adjacent to the farmland, and most holes head in the same direction...back to the clubhouse!
There does appear to be acres of magnicent dunesland totally unused in the routing, but I doubt whether any consideration has been given to making changes. Machrihanish is not the sort of course to appeal to everybody. In my opinion there are too many blind shots and hidden bunkers for this to be considered a great course, but it is a personal favourite of mine nevertheless.
The opening hole is known as the best starting hole in golf, and for good reason with the tee shot angling over the beach and surf. Working out what angle to hit, and then implementing is not necessarily the soft starter we sometimes need with tired, stiff old travel weary bodies.It is also very picturesque hole!
Other holes of note include Islay, the short par 4, third hole. It has a blind tee shot but then the hole plays down a valley to a longish valley green.
Jura is a short par 3 with a table top green at hole 4, and it too is just a lovely hole.
Gigha, the short par 4, eighth hole is also a ripping hole with a challenging drive just to hit the fairway, and then a short iron over more heavy rough to an elevated green.In fact the entire front nine is quite memorable as classic rolling links golf with never a dull moment.
The back nine never reaches the same level of excitement but there are no bad holes.Of these the Long Hole, the par 5 twelfth hole with its quirky green was the most interesting...
Machrihanish is just a joy to play, and more than once if you can.
It is hard to get to, but worth the effort.