Learn more about the ten courses within ten miles of the town centre in this Troon golf course guide
Troon golf courses guide
Golf in Scotland is a little different. In ‘the home of golf’, the sport is accessible and available to anyone who wants to play. There are exclusive options, of course, but there are also many and varied clubs and facilities delivering quality, affordable golf that’s open to all.
Across the country there are towns where golf is part of the fabric of life – places like North Berwick, Carnoustie, St Andrews (of course) and Lossiemouth, where golf courses are actually within the town, where people walk the streets with clubs on their backs, where people talk about the game in shops, bars and restaurants.
Troon is such a place. Although perhaps most famous for the grand old club at Royal Troon and the historic links that will host The Open Championship for a ninth time this year, this is by no means the only golf available in town.
There are three excellent courses to be found on Troon Links, starting just by Troon train station – the Darley, Lochgreen and Fullarton layouts – while Kilmarnock Barassie Golf Club lies at the north end of Troon with Western Gailes and Dundonald Links just beyond that.
With Prestwick just south of Royal Troon, there’s an incredible selection of courses within just a few miles of the town centre, and it is easy to see why it’s such a golfing hub for locals and visiting players alike.
Let’s focus, though, on the courses at Troon Links. Run by the council, these tracks are well maintained and are extremely popular for both casual golfers and members of the clubs that make use of the links. As the fees on the panel show, the golf itself is great value for money.
The clubs: Troon Welbeck, Troon Merchants, Troon St Meddans, Troon Bentinck Ladies and Troon Fullarton have been established over the years to provide affordable and accessible membership, as well as competition and camaraderie between Troon’s golfers.
As an example, Troon St Meddans holds no fewer than 120 Medal competitions annually and Troon Welbeck runs comps nearly every Saturday and Sunday through the year, as well as every Wednesday from March to September. There are some prestigious tournaments and those who enjoy success will gain a little fame through the town.
The Cunningham Rosebowl is one of Troon Welbeck’s big events, held each April over the Darley and open to any South Ayrshire Season Ticket holder (see panel) with a valid handicap. It was one of the St Meddans players who took the title this year – R. Archibald, while Craig MacKenzie was the scratch prize winner.
Troon is a place where competitive golf is instilled into players from a young age and the town produces more than its fair share of excellent golfers. Michael Stewart is a good recent example: the Troon Welbeck member was the 2010 Scottish Amateur champion and he went on to play in the victorious GB&I Walker Cup team of 2011 in which he secured 2.5 points, including a foursomes half against a certain Jordan Spieth.
The three courses at Troon Links provide great variety and each a fine test of golf. The Darley is perhaps the most popular and most links-like in nature. It presents a stern examination of your accuracy with many of the holes narrow and gorse-lined – this is a track where playing to handicap is seriously challenging.
The Lochgreen (below) is the longest of the three courses at 6,822 yards. It was over this layout, which blends links and parkland characteristics, that Jack Nicklaus qualified for his first Open Championship back in 1962.
The Fullarton is a much shorter course at just under 5,000 yards, but, with a par of 64, it’s no pushover and will ask some testy questions of your short game.
This one is great for those looking for a quicker round, or for beginners and juniors. There’s a good focus on junior golf in this area and Kilmarnock Barassie Golf Club at the north end of Troon will host the Junior Open early in Open week this July.
During the summer Troon Links is a bustling hive of golfing activity with all three courses well utilised, and this enthusiasm for the game bubbles over into the town itself.
The main streets tend to be lively during the warmer months and restaurants like The Lido and Scotts are full of golfing parties comparing their tales from the fairways.
A good off-course option for golfing visitors to the town is The Jar. It stocks more than 300 different single malt whiskies – some extremely rare (and expensive) – but it also offers far more affordable tastings which present a perfect opportunity to toast your day on the links.
Those looking for something more lively might head to the South Beach Hotel, which regularly plays host to some excellent live music.
With impressive and affordable courses, thriving clubs, great competitions and a strong variety of off-course options, Troon is a true golfing town and a place where anybody who enjoys swinging a club will feel right at home.
Where to play
Stats: Darley – 6,308 yards, par 71;
Lochgreen – 6,822 yards, par 74;
Fullarton – 4,867 yards, par 64
GF: Darley £20-£29; Lochgreen £23-£33; Fullarton £15.50-£21
Various visitor packages can be found at: golfsouthayrshire.com
Ordinary annual Golf South Ayrshire Season Ticket costs £417 and allows play over eight courses: Darley, Lochgreen and Fullarton, plus Belleisle Park (two courses,) Girvan, Dalmilling and Maybole
Where to eat and drink
The Lido: lido-troon.co.uk
Other off-course options
The Jar Troon whisky tasting
Live music at the South Beach Hotel
For more details on golf, accommodation and attractions go to ayrshiregolfscotland.com