Andy Marshall PGA Professional’s Top 10 Courses in Ayrshire
Prestwick St Nicholas Golf Club – is the 26th oldest golf club in the world – co-founded in 1877 by Old Tom Morris – winner of 4 Open Championship titles.
The course is a traditional Scottish links, possessing as it does a sandy, free draining soil, gorse, deep bunkers and a seemingly ever present wind which tests the skills of players of all abilities. The sandy soil allows golf to be played here all year round as the heaviest rain drains away very quickly.
The course measuring just over 6000 yards (and having a par of 69 from the white tees) may be short by modern standards but don’t be fooled – the first 3 and last 3 holes are amongst the most testing of the course – with some undulations, gorse to carry and difficult greens to approach. The course (with sea views from every hole) meanders in classic links style down the coast towards Ayr for the first 12 holes – before turning back to home and provides amazing views of the Firth of Clyde Coast to the Island of Arran and Ailsa Craig in the distance. A mix of classic links holes will keep you on your toes and keeping the ball in play will reward you. After the par 3 12th hole you turn for home towards the clubhouse and ensure you prepare for the last 3 holes which can test any level of golfer.
There are many great holes on this course but 3 memorable ones for me are:
The 3rd hole – Maryborough – 281 yards from an elevated tee to an elevated green surrounded by punishing rough – a real risk and reward hole with the stunning Island of Arran in the background. It is straight as you see it. Make sure your approach shot is accurate and good for distance or the ball may end up back at your feet.
The 16th – Tom Morris (the signature hole of the course) – 371 yards is a testing Par 4 with a lot of run-offs on the fairway.
My advice would be to favour the left side of the fairway off the tee and hit an extra club for your approach, as anything short of the green is a tricky ‘up and down’
The 18th – Home – is a tough finishing hole – a 227 yard Par 3 – the tee shot is daunting – anything too far right will result in the golf ball hitting the Clubhouse or bounding down the car park Out of Bounds A Par to finish on this hole is a great score.
Prestwick St Nicholas is always in excellent condition – a joy to play – doesn’t need to be long to test your skills and with the excellent clubhouse facilities available (with stunning views right on the seafront) and lovely attentive staff – you won’t fail to enjoy your visit to the club.