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. It is also special amongst seaside courses that are no more than two holes wide, in having its clubhouse in a more or less central position leaving seven holes to the north and eleven to the south.
The course is never other than an excellent test of true links golf. 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.