Ayrshire, Scotland is known for its rustic countryside and fertile land, with the occasional castle ruins around the corner. And no region of Scotland can boast three Open Championship hosts all within a 30-mile stretch of coastline like Ayrshire on the southwest coast, where the Ailsa Craig volcanic rock looms 10 miles offshore from Turnberry.
In fact, the Open Championship all began at Prestwick Golf Club in 1860, then just a 12-hole routing. Today, there's a full 18 holes, but many of the course's old world intricacies, from blind shots to the famous "Sahara" bunker on the 17th, will keep the modern player on edge.
Located just north, Royal Troon is the relevant test for today's top golfers as the area's most regular Open Championship venue.
Turnberry's Ailsa Course, which hosted the 2009 Open after a 15-year drought, is the prettiest and most modern of the bunch, thanks mostly to a course redesign after the links were used as an airfield during World War II. Today, two 18-hole courses complement Turnberry's more than 100-year-old five star hotel.
The best links outside the Open rota is Western Gailes, an Open qualifier closer to Glasgow than the other three, while Glasgow Gailes and Dundonald Links are worthy (and more affordable) solid seconds.
Prestwick Airport (PIK) is a good option, though Glasgow Airport (GLA) receives flights from more international and long-haul destinations and is about 30 miles from Prestwick. Edinburgh (EDI) is less than two hour's drive to Prestwick.
September 24, 2009