Machrihanish Golf Course

The Machrihanish Golf Course is a classic Scottish links course located on the Kintyre Peninsula and is one of the many true hidden treasures of Scottish golf. Its remote location feeds into the abundant charm of this course, alongside its impressive naturally formed contoured greens and rolling fairways. 

We have shared some of the details and history behind the Machrihanish Golf Course, which forms part of the Old Tom Morris Trail, as well as some of our favourite places to eat and drink around the village of Machrihanish…

Course Overview

Machrihanish Golf Course
AddressMachrihanish Golf Club,Machrihanish,Campbeltown,Argyll,PA28 6PT,Scotland
Location 5 miles west of Campbeltown 
Style Links
Length6,473 yards
Championships HostedScottish Ladies Championship
Scottish Ranking18th
UK Ranking44th
Recent awards/ Accolades46th in the world 2020 by Golf Digest

Course design

The Machrihanish Championship Golf course is set amongst the rugged dunes of the small Scottish village of Machrihanish, which is located on the western side of the Kintyre Peninsula, offering incredible views towards the islands of Jura and Islay.  

This links course is one of the most natural and enjoyable places to golf throughout the whole of the UK. Despite not being overly long or grandiose for a championship course, it certainly provides a sense of fun and entertainment. 

The course has become well known for hosting one of the best opening holes in the world, requiring golfers to drive over part of the Atlantic shoreline itself. The thrilling 423 yard par four that runs alongside the edge of shore called the ‘Battery’ is an excellent test of skill – one wrong move and you may be playing your next shot from the sandy shoreline. 

Course history

In 1876, Kintyre Golf Club was founded and contained an original ten holes which was later expanded to twelve by Prestwick golf professional, Charles Hunter. In 1879, Tom Morris took over to put his prestigious stamp on the golf course by redesigning it and expanding it to the full 18 holes, including the world famous first hole. 

The only further alterations made to the course were made in 1914 by J.H Taylor and later in the 1940s by Sir Guy Campbell. All of these alterations came together to form the spectacular golf course that we now see today. 

Regional history

The village of Machrihanish is a hidden gem located on the south westerly part of the Kintyre Peninsula, lying five miles west of Campbeltown. Many love this quaint Scottish village due to its impressive seaside location, boasting beautiful beaches and rocky headlands. 

Since the opening of the golf course in 1876, the village’s history has been strongly revolved around golf. By 1906, the sheer mass of visitors coming to the village meant that a formal light railway was upgraded in order to carry passengers from Campbeltown to Machrihanish. 

Local hospitality and retail

Where to stay

If you are looking for somewhere with a historic charm, The Ugadale Hotel is the perfect place to explore. Once recognised asthe pinnacle of luxury accommodation in the west of Scotland’, this magnificent hotel is one of the main focal points in the village of Machrihanish Dunes. What better way to kick start your day, than by waking up to a beautiful view of the Atlantic and Hebridean islands while enjoying a hearty scottish breakfast? 

Only 5 miles from Machrihanish in the heart of Campbeltown is The Royal Hotel. A luxury 23 room hotel which enjoys breathtaking views over the Campbeltown harbour. In addition to its multiple guest rooms, the hotel is also home to The Black Sheep Pub and the Harbourview Grill, offering plenty of fine dining options. 

Where to eat

Full of warm welcomes and tasty pub food, The Old Clubhouse Pub was established in 1897 formerly serving as the original clubhouse of the Machrihanish Golf Club. 

Craigards is an award-winning restaurant that specialises in local seafood, shellfish, meat, cheese and game. Their close relationship with a range of local suppliers means that the restaurant is never short of fresh high quality produce, suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. 

For a more informal dining experience, The Tin Roof Diner is a wonderful American style diner offering an impressive selection of delicious food including juicy homemade burgers to warming soup and bread. Once you’ve finished your meal you can even take a wander around the lovely gift shop.  

Where to shop

You are certainly not short of local distilleries near Machrihanish, as the nearby town of Campbeltown has been described as “the whisky capital of the world” with the village once being a major producer of whisky with over 30 distilleries. Some of the most popular ones to explore include Glen Scotia Distillery, The Lost Argyll Distillery, The Lost Benmore Distillery and Beinn an Turc Distillery

If you are still adjusting to the cold Scottish climate then why not pick yourself up a customisable hand-knitted garment made from Anne Stewart Knitwear? Made from the finest wool, each order produced by the team is an original piece.

Iconic landmarks

Take a gentle stroll along Machrihanish’s award winning beach. Stretching for three miles, this beautiful sweeping sandy beach is home to an array of wonderful wildlife including a variety of birds, seals and otters. On a clear day, this beach is truly a rare find with incredible views across to the islands of Jura and Islay, as well as the Irish coast. 

If you want to take a closer look at the coastal and marine wildlife, Machrihanish Seabird and Wildlife Observatory is located six miles west of Campbeltown and is the ideal location for spotting some rare seabirds including Sabines Gull, Leachs Petrel and Balearic Shearwater.

Only a thirty minute drive away from Machrihanish, Saddell Bay is another picturesque beach which can only be reached by foot, and contains the impressive cast iron ‘GRIP’ sculpture created by Antony Gormley. The abstract human sculpture looks out over the Kilbrannan Sound to Arran from the rocks below the Saddell Castle and can only be fully seen when the tide is out. 

The best photo spots

  • Machrihanish Bay
  • Carradale Beach
  • Torrisdale Bay
  • Westport Beach

Our top tips for playing this course

  • See how much of the Atlantic you can carry with your opening tee shot
  • Look forward to playing some of the most unique holes in Scotland
  • Get ready for some spectacular views
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