I visited Dundonald Links in November, in -believe it or not- dry and sunny weather. It was my first introduction to links golf and the pot bunkers that come with it. You know what, let’s not go there, as in not even talk about it. Okay, very well, you better stay out of them 😅
Set against the mesmerising backdrop of the mountains of Arran across the Firth of Clyde, Dundonald Links is a top-class modern links course. With large undulating and well-defended greens. Originally known as Southern Gailes, the course was further developed by the highly-acclaimed golf course architect Kyle Philips. Dundonald has a well-deserved reputation as a demanding championship venue. The course is set to host the 2022 Trust Golf Women's Scottish Open.
Dundonald Links is a great course. Regardless of whether you are a single handicap golfer or still relatively new to the game, you will enjoy it. The wind is (of course) a great influence on your game. It makes club selection difficult at times. But most importantly, let me give you that piece of advice, stay away from those nasty bunkers as they will mess up your score. I played the course in November 2021 and the course was in great shape with good greens then. This can only mean that course conditions are even better (almost) any other time of the year.
For me, the signature hole is the par 3 11th. A short hole, but the 3 bunkers short of the green are ready to collect any average tee shots. And if you think hitting more club will at least avoid those bunkers, then there is even a worse one straight behind the green. You can't see it from the tee box. Good thing I did not know about it when I hit my tee shot. On the green.
The new lodges at Dundonald Links opened in November 2021 and they are just fabulous. The luxury lodges have been custom-designed with golfers in mind with fully-fitted kitchens, a patio area, golf equipment storage rooms and bedroom suites with en-suite bathrooms. There is even a practice green with every cluster of lodges so you can practise your putting skills just after breakfast, before you go out on the course. Or after your round when you left many shots out there on the greens.
The lodges differ in size but are all finished to the same high-quality standard. The largest (6-bed) lodge even has a pool table to enjoy over drinks. The addition of the lodges, make Dundonald Links the ideal place to stay when you want to play some of the other courses in the area as well, such as Royal Troon Golf Club, Kilmarnock Golf Club & Prestwick Golf Club.
The new clubhouse is just something else. In line with other high-end clubs & clubhouses, the facilities are top notch. Of course, it has a golf shop with A-brands and all the things you need before your round or the odd souvenir to remember your trip in years to come. But next to that, it has a state-of-the-art gym and luxurious changing facilities with a sauna and steam room. The clubhouse boasts the utmost refined comfort and elegance while being utterly contemporary in style.
And then there is the whisky tasting lounge. Just behind the bar sits a private, dedicated whisky tasting lounge, perfect for sampling some of the finest whiskies. Enjoy the whisky tasting experience with fellow connoisseurs and truly soak up the atmosphere and heritage that the clubhouse has to offer. This is totally unique and yet it is so identifiable with Scotland. So it makes sense in a way and it really reminds you of the fact that you are in Scotland. Even for none-whisky drinkers it is nice to do a tasting to learn more about whisky while in Scotland.
There is a very expensive cask of Bunnahabhain Canasta whisky. Just make sure people don’t ask for that when you invite the people in the clubhouse to a drink after you hit your hole-in-one earlier. It will set you back £125 per glass.
For starters, the fantastic golf course is a great reason on its own. But in addition, the new clubhouse and facilities are really good. The addition of the lodges make Dundonald Links the ideal place to stay when you want to play golf on some of the other courses in the area as well, such as Royal Troon Golf Club, Kilmarnock Golf Club & Prestwick Golf Club. Especially if you want to spend some (more) time in the whiskey lounge.
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