A short conversation with Henry the starter at Western Gailes and you will understand how passionately members feel about their beloved links. After playing the course and witnessing the stunning views it is easy to see why they feel so strongly.
The course runs on a narrow strip of land between the railway and the sea. With seven holes to the right of the clubhouse and ten to the left golfers are constantly aware of the oceans presence and never stray far from the sea. The course oozes history and character and has held a number of top amateur and professional events. This includes the Curtis Cup, PGA Championship, Seniors, Scottish and Boys Championships and the course is regularly an Open Championship qualifying venue.
The signature par-3 seventh runs parallel with the ocean and is protected by 6 bunkers which surround the green. It is representative of everything which is good about the course; stunning views which accompany a stern test of links golf.
For the Volkswagen Regional Final the rough was thick and the fairways were narrow and despite a beautiful calm day competitors were given an extremely tough test. The course was playing so tough that no one was able to break par and those who refused to give up were rewarded with a place near the top of the leaderboard.
Three more winners were found to take part in the 2007 Volkswagen Masters UK Final at Celtic Manor in September. Winner of Group A was Bill McMahon who playing off 7 shot an impressive round of nett 71. McMahon was the only player to shot level par which included an impressive 38 on the back nine.
Group B was won by Ian Dodds (pictured right) from East Renfrewshire Golf Club who plays of a handicap of 13. A round of nett 76 was good enough to take victory, highlighting how difficult he course was playing. The 13 handicapper was shocked to have sealed a place in the final particularly after struggling late on.
?My front nine was better than my back nine. The back nine got a bit messy mainly because I was wayward with the driver and the putting was a bit inconsistent but I was able to hold it together,? said Dodds.
Finally Group C was won by Stewart Shearer (pictured left) who is also from East Renfrewshire Golf Club. The 21 handicapper plotted his way around the course brilliantly and appreciated that scoring would be high around this difficult layout.
?At my level of handicap keeping the ball in play is the key. There?s a lot of rough here and avoiding it was key. I knew that bogey would be a good score on most holes.? Shearers intelligent approach was good enough for a nett 74 and a place in the final.
All three players will join all other regional finalists for the two day UK Final. From there three winners will be found to represent the UK at the world final in South Africa.
DATE: June 11
T: 01294 311649
STATS: par 71, SSS 74, 6,640 yards
Ranked No. 32 in the Golf Monthly Top 120 Course Rankings
Western Gailes sits on the Ayreshire coast of Scotland and with a standard scratch at three over par you know you are in for a true test of links golf. In 1903 Harry Vardon won the first major championship at ?Western?.
The course has played host to the Curtis Cup, PGA Championship, seniors Scottish Amateur Championship and is used for final qualifying when The Open is played at Turnberry or Royal Troon.
Upon arrival very friendly welcome awaits and an excellent clubhouse boasts panoramic views across to the Isle of Arran. A popular club for visitors and members alike, this is a real golfers club.