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 don't cope well with golf bags and the luggage)
- Ferries are intermittently running from Turnberry & Portrush
- and road transport from Glasgow is also not so 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!
However Machrihanish is now a more attractive golfing destination with the opening of Machrihanish Dunes adjacent to the old course,
Add the recently renovated Ugadale hotel and apartments and you have all the components to ensure 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 holes 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 and most holes head in the same direction...back to the clubhouse!
However 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 sure is fun!
The opening hole is known as one of the best starting holes 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.
But remember to take a picture- it is a memorable moment and it is also a very picturesque hole!
Other holes of note include:
- the short par 4, third hole (called Islay). It has a blind tee shot but then the hole plays down a valley to a longish valley green.
- the short par 3 at hole 4 (Jura) with a table top green in a lovely setting
- the short par 4, eighth hole (Gigha) is also a ripping hole with a challenging drive and then a short iron over heavy rough to an elevated green.
In fact the entire front nine is quite memorable. It's classic rolling links golf with never a dull moment along the way.
The front nine does remind me of the rolling dunescape at Barnbougle Dunes in Australia, one of my favourite courses
The back nine never reaches the same level of excitement but there are no bad holes.
Of these the par 5 twelfth hole (Long Hole) with its quirky green was the most interesting...
Machrihanish is hard to get to, but worth the effort when you do
Having made the journey, stay a few days and play more than once if you can.
It's a lovely place and a joy to play!
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