Spoiler Alert - I thought this place was brilliant…
A lot is made of that opening hole - teeing off from the small peninsula known as ‘The Battery’, immediately outside the pro shop. Over the beach and Atlantic to an oblique fairway, it instantly sets the tone for what is to come.
What impressed me most, was the unrelenting quality of the subsequent holes. The first dozen are the equal to any links I’ve played. After those first few, you don’t get many more glimpses of the sea - but you are never in any doubt you’re playing an authentic links course. Towering dunes and rumpled fairways - bliss.
The fine fescues of Machrihanish were once described by Old Tom Morris ‘as perfect for golf as any I’d seen’. All these years later, I am inclined to agree. The links wasn’t ‘manicured’, but it was as well presented for true links golf as any I’d seen. Rough in the parts that didn’t matter, but damn near perfect where it did.
The inward half dozen are played alongside the adjacent farmland, and they don’t quite reach the heady heights of the earlier holes. But they are still great golf holes. Perhaps this slight wrinkle of relative consistency is why Machrihanish doesn’t feature higher in many peoples’ rankings. The fact those less dramatic holes are the ones fresher in the mind as you finish your round. But for me, this is a world class links.
While you're here...! If you're looking for a Christmas gift for a golfer, may I humbly suggest a 2021 Links Calendar? 12 of my favourite courses to visit when the world is back open for business, and more importantly, golf. Thanks for following, Sam.
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