Real character across a course designed by nature and made great by centuries of tradition...
Western Gailes Golf Club
Links golf provides a true test of skill and character across courses designed by nature and made great by centuries of tradition. This is particularly the case on the Ayrshire coast where the elements of nature, architecture and tradition come together to provide a test of golf like no other on a course that should feature on every players ‘must play’ list – Western Gailes.
From its traditional clubhouse with views over the hills of Arran and the sharp outline of the Ailsa Craig, Western Gailes Golf Club, founded in 1897, provides a classic test of golf across an undulated terrain with plentiful pot bunkers, meandering burns and finely contoured greens, all set in surrounding sand dunes.
The reputation of Western Gailes as one of the game’s ﬁnest and more exacting courses has spread worldwide as evidenced by its numerous visitors from around the world including golﬁng legends from this and the last century. The great Harry Vardon arrived at Western Gailes in June 1903 celebrating his fourth Open victory. In 1923 its attractions were being lauded by the then US Open Champion Gene Sarazen who played the course with three other outstanding professionals. Greats from the second half of the 20th century such as Gary Player, Tom Watson and Tony Jacklin have also visited, while from the modern game Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson have all tested their mettle over this classic links course.
The course is situated between the railway and the sea, so typical of the classic Ayrshire links courses, with both being very much in play for the errant golfer. Any change in the strength or direction of the wind, that usually varies between south-westerly and north-westerly off the adjacent Firth of Clyde, provides new challenges that are compounded by the undulating terrain and ﬁnely contoured greens cleverly located and set in the folds of the surrounding sand dunes. Together with the line of dunes running down the coastal stretch from the 5th to the 13th holes, the out of bounds wall from the 14th onwards, the plentiful supply of pot bunkers plus the meandering burns, all combine to present variety and a memorable challenge.
There have been many memorable events at Western through the Club’s history, many of which are ingrained in the folklore of the Club and feature humorous tales centred on members and staff alike. Notable golfing highlights include:
1903 – Open Professional Tournament promoted by Western Gailes won by Harry Vardon
1923 – Scottish Professional Championship won by A.W. Butchart (Barassie)
1927 – Scottish Amateur Championship won by Andrew Jamieson
1934 – Scottish Amateur Championship won by Jack McLean for the third successive time
1946 – International match Scotland versus England. England won 10 – 8
1953 – Scottish Amateur Championship won by D.A. Blair
1961 – Scottish Amateur Championship won by J. Walker
1964 – PGA Championship won by Tony Grubb – of note, after 36 holes a Western Gailes member (Billy Jack) led the tournament
1966 – Scottish Amateur Championship won by R.D.B.M. Shade, his third of five consecutive victories
1972 – Curtis Cup won by USA 10 – 8
1974 – Scottish Amateur Championship won by G.H. Murray
1981 – Scottish Amateur Championship won by C. R. Dalgleish, who went on to play and captain GB & I in the Walker Cup
1984 – British Seniors Amateur Championship won by John Owens (USA)
1989 – Jack Gow – a Western Gailes member – played the 13th and 15th holes each in one shot in the same round. He used the same ball and club at each hole.
1996 – Scottish Seniors Open Championship won by Charlie Green (Dumbarton)
1998 – British Seniors Amateur Championship won by David Lane (England)
2002 – Scottish Amateur Championship won by A. McArthur
2007 – European Men’s Amateur Team Championship (notable players include Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Victor Dubuisson, Richie Ramsay): Gold Medal – Ireland (beat France 41/2-21/2); Silver Medal – France; Bronze – Scotland (beat England 4-3)
2011 – Scottish Amateur Championship won by D. Law (Scotland)
2017 – Scottish Amateur Strokeplay Championship.