Scotland, the Home of Golf, is blessed with dozens of superb options for your next golf getaway – places with illustrious names, historic pedigrees, and unforgettable links golf courses.
But when it came time to select the one golf resort in Scotland that offered the very best of everything, the members of Golf Tourism Scotland chose one that had been open just four years: The Village at Machrihanish Dunes.
In November 2013, Machrihanish Dunes earned the coveted GTS Gold Standard Award for ‘Best Resort Experience’, fending off high-calibre competition from such notable names as Gleneagles and Turnberry.
So what makes Machrihanish Dunes so special? For a start, its location. Machrihanish Dunes is situated on Scotland’s west coast, on the primordial Kintyre Peninsula – right next door to famed Machrihanish Golf Club. Old Tom Morris, designer of that beloved course, proclaimed that “the Almighty had golf in his e’e when he made this place,” and with two superb courses on offer there now, it was only a matter of time before the world discovered what a magnificent golf setting it is.
The GB&I Top 100 David McLay Kidd-designed links at Machrihanish Dunes features five tees and six greens at the ocean’s edge. It has been called “The world’s most natural golf course” for its raw, minimalist design. As Kidd said upon the completion of the course: “This is purist golf. You’re going to get some good bounces and some bad bounces. You’re going to see some fascinating views. You’re going to see things you’ve never seen before – things you never thought possible on a golf course before. But it is nature, just the way I found it.”
The course, which played host to the 2013 International Pairs competition, has earned rave reviews from golfers of all standards – and from all corners of the world. It’s authentic links golf, with blind shots, vexing bunkers and greens that will challenge every part of your short game. It’s a course that constantly encourages creativity, and therein lies its charm. No-one leaves Machrihanish Dunes without having been challenged – and inspired. It’s a wonderful modern-day example of the way golf began.
But as good as the course is, there’s much more to Machrihanish Dunes than just a wonderful golf experience. The resort’s accommodation options, including two newly-restored, historic hotels and eight luxurious golf cottages, are among the finest in Scotland. The Ugadale Hotel, Scotland’s ‘Golf Hotel of the Year’ in its own right in 2012, offers beautifully-appointed rooms and suites, many with breathtaking ocean views. In the hotel you’ll also find a wonderful fine dining restaurant, The Kintyre Club (pictured right), a full-service boutique spa and a fitness centre.
Next door, in The Ugadale Cottages, families and golf groups enjoy ideal accommodation in the form of spacious golf cottages, each of which offers two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining area and lounge. Also in The Village is The Old Clubhouse Pub – a traditional golfer’s pub that once hosted Old Tom Morris himself. Guests at Machrihanish Dunes rave about the standard of the rooms and food in the Village. (You haven’t lived until you’ve tasted the delicious “haggis nachos”.) And a quick look at any of the main hotel review sites will tell you all you need to know about how warm the welcome is here; top-notch service is the norm, from staff whose warm smiles seem ever-present.
A few miles away, overlooking Campbeltown Harbour, you’ll find the Village’s second hotel: The Royal. It gives resort visitors the option of staying in-town. The Royal features 23 rooms, all with views of the bustling harbourfront. Again here, there is a superb restaurant – the Harbourview Grille – and a lively pub, The Black Sheep. Guests of both hotels can avail themselves of the shuttle service provided by the resort, which can whisk you from hotel to hotel or to the golf course, airport or ferry landing. Campbeltown is served by twice-daily Flybe flights from Glasgow, while CalMac offers ferry service from Ardrossan and Arran. Better yet, make the scenic drive down Sir Paul McCartney’s “Long and Winding Road” and marvel at the natural beauty of the Kintyre Peninsula.
Whatever route you take to get to Machrihanish Dunes, there’s a good chance you’ll come away having had the “best” golf experience of your life.