When Ivan ‘the terrible’ had St Basils Cathedral built, he enquired of the architect upon completion, whether or not he could build anything quite so beautiful again. Sadly for the architect (perhaps sensing future commissions) he answered that he could. Ivan duly lived up to his moniker and had his eyes removed to ensure he couldn’t! Luckily for Kyle Phillips the Scots didn’t resort to such barbaric measures when Kingsbarns opened in 2000 to such acclaim. The result was that commissions followed and the country soon had Castle Stuart and Dundonald to add to their portfolio.

Recognition of Dundonald’s developing status came when it was selected to host the 2017 Scottish Open, its first full European Tour event, and something which might have installed it as Ayrshire’s ‘third’ course behind Turnberry and Troon. Certainly some people questioned its choice but the Dundonald Links stood up well to the task and claimed its fair share of scalps. Ultimately it was Spain’s Ryder Cup player Rafa Cabrerra Bello who won a dramatic play-off to lend the result a bit of kudos. We expect the event to return


Founded 2003
Yardage Championship course, White tees 7100 yds
Par 72
Scottish Ranking 30th
Handicap Restrictions No handicap restrictions apply


Dundonald Links

The Course itself

The Dundonald Links have very kindly solicited various informed views as to which holes define their course. We can’t improve on their offering so reproduce their thoughts for you

1st – At first glance, this hole appears to be a relatively simple opening par 4 with a fairway that runs in a straight line to the green. However, the left fairway bunker will catch any errant tee shot, and the approach shot to the green requires accuracy as anything left or right will throw up a challenge, making par a good score. Depending on which tee you choose, and where the wind is coming from, this can play from a gentle opener to one of the strongest par 4’s on the course.

3rd – This par 5 usually plays into the prevailing wind, and will require accuracy on all three shots to hit the undulating green. The tee shot is protected by a burn, all the way down the right hand side, which then crosses the fairway creating a challenge on your second/lay up shot. The ideal second shot will go down the left hand side to open up the green, but then you will be flirting with the burn and some awkward bunkering that seems to attract golf balls. The final challenge is to get the ball onto the correct level of the green, to leave you a chance for the nigh impossible one putt!

6th – Although a relatively short par 3, this hole requires accuracy and distance control of the highest order. There is a burn running down the left hand side of the green and a bunker short left. They appear to be the main protection of the hole. However, beware of a back bunker that will gobble up anything a fraction long or right. Basically, hit this green, two putt, and run to the next tee with a par on your scorecard!

7th – Each hole offers a different challenge and none of them would look out of place on an Open Championship venue. On the 7th , the tee shot offers the longer hitters two options. Take the risk, cut the corner and leave yourself a shorter iron into a challenging green or lay up between the well positioned bunkers, and give yourself a longer shot into a narrow green. The green itself is anything but easy, with the bowl at the front of the green gathering anything that is short. Anything big of the green runs into the back drop which gives the golfer a challenging pitch shot. If you’re offered a four before play, happily take it, and move calmly to the 8th tee

8th – Slight dogleg par four from left to right which offers all types of challenges. Whilst standing on the tee, you can clearly see the three well positioned bunkers that surround the landing zone from your tee shot. Once positioned on the fairway, you will have a mid-iron into the green which requires full commitment as any loose shot will find itself running down the feed off areas which surround the green. This will result in the finest of chips shots to save par, and any player that makes par would be more than happy to run to the next tee. In the centre of the green there is a slight raise which can come in handy depending on pin location.

11th – Similar to the Postage Stamp at Royal Troon, and the infamous short 7th at Pebble Beach, this par 3 will give you no excuses if you commit to the shot. Playing around the 120 yard mark, this hole is playable by all golfers yet only the most accurate will prevail successfully. The green slopes back to front, with a back left pin placement playing the longest. Deep bunkers protect the front but beware of a back bunker should you go long. Great design, and a great test in this day and age of length, length, length!




Buggy hire, Trolleys, Caddies and Clubs

It might not be totally unfair to conclude that with Troon, Prestwick, Gailes, and Irvine in the immediate vicinity, and even Turnberry not that far down the coast, Dundonald links isn’t short of top quality company. Of this trio of Scottish ventures, Dundonald hasn’t caught on to the same degree that Kingsbarns, and Castle Stuart have (yet). We sense however, that this is a course in the process of being discovered, and having done a good job hosting the 2017 Scottish Open it might yet go to the next tier.

Not everyone is likely to be qualified to play at Royal Troon, and even if you are, the course is one of the harder ones to obtain a tee time for. On Ayrshires ‘Golf Coast’ we frankly have an abundance of riches to plunder though, and Dundonald links is a worthy challenge for those wanting the experience. It’s often said it plays 100 years older than it is, but then this is the Phillips philosophy shining through again.


Driving Range Available Yes
Rental Carts Available Yes
Rental Trolleys Yes
Caddies Yes
Rental Clubs Available Yes
Pro Shop Yes



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