Toughest golf holes in Ayrshire

Ayrshire is home to over 50 courses – including three Open Championship venues – but it also features some of the toughest golf holes in Scotland. Whether you’re paying a pilgrimage to the birthplace of The Open, sampling some of the finest links in the world, or testing yourself against some of its James Braid-designed courses, you’ll find dubious doglegs, epic drives, and Saharan sand traps that will leave even the greatest golfer weak at the knees.

We’ve picked out some of the toughest golf holes in Ayrshire – and Scotland – below. Are you brave enough to undertake the golf challenge of a lifetime? If you are, the Salt Lodge Hotel in Troon is the perfect base for your adventure! Don’t forget to sign up to be the first to know of our trade and package offers!

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Planning a trip? Check out some of the incredible courses that await you below and don’t forget to sign up to be the first to know of our trade and package offers!

The 9th at Trump Turnberry

It simply doesn’t get more atmospheric than this. This epic, 248-yard par three set in the shade of Turnberry’s landmark lighthouse and the 13th century ruins of Robert the Bruce’s birthplace is nothing short of one of the most dramatic holes on the planet. Buffeted by salt-specked coastal winds, this is one of the toughest holes on Trump Turnberry’s Ailsa course. Are you up to the challenge?

The 17th at Prestwick

For any lover of golf, a trip to Prestwick is a pilgrimage; a place to play the sport in its truest form. While other courses in Scotland have evolved, Prestwick has been preserved – and nowhere is that more apparent in its 17th. Known as ‘Alps’ for its blind approach, the current 17th is the original 2nd hole from 1851 and the oldest existing hole in championship golf. Playing it – and attempting to escape its famous ‘Sahara’ bunker – is one of the greatest, and toughest, experiences in Scottish golf.

The 8th at Royal Troon

This is, without doubt, of the planet’s most famous par threes – and one of its toughest. William Park, writing in Golf Illustrated, once described its green as “a pitching surface skimmed down to the size of a postage stamp.” The name stuck. The stamp is protected by five deep bunkers and depressions which will ensnare any shot that is even the slightest bit inaccurate. It can embarrass the best players – and provide an amateur with a taste of greatness. Are you brave enough to test yourself against one of golf’s toughest holes?

The 6th at Dundonald

Dundonald was once the setting for rehearsals for the D-Day landings and its legacy as the home of war games has persisted. The 6th, a 170-yard par three with deep bunkers, an elevated green, and a cavernous ditch running its entire length, will test even the strongest short game. Epic scenery, immaculate greens, and challenges to conquer – Dundonald has quickly established a reputation as one of Scotland’s ‘must-play’ links.

The 14th at Western Gailes

If you’re the type of golfer who likes to use every club in the bag, Western Gailes is the course for you – and the 14th is its ultimate challenge. Boasting gorgeous greens guarded by half-hidden burns, undulating fairways, and a ferocious and often-cunning coastal wind, it’s no surprise the course is used as the final qualifying when The Open is played at Troon or Turnberry. The 14th is a par fiendish five that often plays downwind and offers a tempting challenge for big hitters – who often come undone by its numerous bunkers. Are you up to the task?

The 11th at Royal Troon

A 482-yard par four that was seemingly designed by the devil himself, Royal Troon’s 11th was once described by Arnold Palmer as “the most dangerous hole I have ever seen.” Many would share that sentiment. Flanked by a railway over its entire length and blanketed with thick gorse, this is a hole that has defeated even the greats of the game. Doubt its dubious reputation as one of the world’s toughest golf holes? The mighty Jack Nicklaus once hit a ten here…

Other adventures

Looking for more adventures to undertake on your next trip to Ayrshire? Check out our guides to the incredible walking and cycling routes and fantastic food and drink on the doorstep of the Salt House Hotel in Troon!