Machrihanish Golf Club, a 19th century course, has always been one of the world's great hidden gem links courses. Now, with the addition of 21st century Machrihanish Dunes Golf Club, there are twice the reasons to make the journey to the Mull of Kintyre, not to mention recent upgrades in area accommodations.
Machrihanish Dunes opened in 2008, more than 100 years after Machrihanish, though the two play beside each other on similarly rugged, coastal dunesland. Machirhanish Dunes was laid out on a Special Site of Scientific Interest and thus virtually no sand could be moved.
The result is a course design by David McLay Kidd that is full of both sunken and elevated greens, tees and tumbling fairways. Few shots are played to the same level, and that's just what the operators of the course wanted when plotting it out: a return to the expeditious nature of 19th-century golf.
When the course originally opened, the rough could not be cut with machines, and sheep were called upon to do the job. That's changed a bit in recent years, as the thick fescue that lines fairways has been thinned a bit, and certain other playability factors have been improved, as well.
In addition to the new 18-hole course, which features a full driving range and chipping area plus a small pro shop and bar, the owners have also invested in the Ugadale Hotel, a 22-room luxury hotel located across the street from the famous opening hole of Machrihanish, "Battery."