After a strong start to our trip (Royal Portrush, Royal County Down and Ardglass), we continued to Scotland where we started by playing Western Gailes. We had first planned to play Royal Troon, but the visitor season was starting only the following Monday and Royal Troon is not well known for its flexibility.
So, after asking a couple of Scotts on what to play (Dundonald was already booked for the afternoon), they said without an hesitation "play Western Gailes". A couple of weeks before, Paul, my golfmate, met one of the members who offer to join him (jacket and tie for the breakfast) for a foursome.
We got to play Paul and I against our new friend and a pro (eventually beating them on the 18th with a nice 25 footer!) which made the round even more unforgettable.
But back to the course, I must say it was THE best surprised of the trip. We absolutely loved every single hole of this (very) challenging course, a true links stuck between the railroad and the sea. The first 4 holes are played in one direction, the next 9 in opposite direction and the final 5 help you head back to the clubhouse. The fairways, bunkering, rough, greens are impeccable and many holes are mesmerizing.
If I had to pick, I'll go with the 4-7 stretch with the 4 offering a view of a forest (only seen on this hole) then you make a U-turn to play the very long par 4 5th which is perfectly straight, the par 5 6th where a good strategy can lead you to a birdie (4 birdies in our group thanks to our member friend) but could lead you to a disaster too, and then the very solid and extremely well protected par 3 7th!
The course is 120+ years old with a great clubhouse and a unique feel, and it was one of my best golf experiences ever (and unexpected!). Highly recommend it!!
Set on a superb sea-side strip, Western Gailes is one of the finest links courses in Scotland. We played it against the wind and it became very tough, so we should make good strategic decisions. In my opinion, seventeenth is my signature hole.
Western Gailes has a time-honored clubhouse, it's perfect for a true classic golf experience.