Get the skinny on new Machrihanish Dunes from Larry Olmsted on ScotlandGolf.com
Machrihanish Dunes is one of Scotland’s most talked about new golf courses this year. Over on our sister site ScotlandGolf.com, we’ve got the most thorough review of the new course to date from Special Contributor Larry Olmsted. For those who have yet to make the trip down to out-of-the-way Campbeltown, this is a great primer on what to expect.
A few months ago, we posted a story here on WorldGolf.com on the reader feedback about Machrihanish Dunes. To summarize, the reviews weren’t all that great. In fact, it had strikingly similar sentiments from readers who played Kidd’s Castle Course in St. Andrews and came away scratching their heads.
Golf courses in Scotland seem to go through an initial lambasting period before getting some praise, and in recent months, the tide seems to have turned for Machrihanish Dunes, as the course is getting more positive feedback.
What I found most useful about Olmsted’s review is that he compares Machrihanish Dunes to two of Kidd’s other notable links designs: Bandon Dunes and the Castle Course at St. Andrews (those two I’ve played, not Machrihanish Dunes). It helps paint a good picture in the head of what to expect.
Machrihanish Dunes and Kidd’s Castle Course are actually entirely different in design philosophy. At the Castle, Kidd transformed flat, seaside farmland into huge faux dunes. At Machrihanish Dunes, the land is pure links land on a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which means hardly any Earth was moved during design at all.
So in a nutshell it seems the Castle is tricky by choice. Machrihanish Dunes is tricky by necessity.
Personally, I’ve played Bandon Dunes and the Castle Course and the two are hardly alike. I’d call Bandon Dunes the most player-friendly of the three, soon to be four courses at the resort. I always shot my best rounds there and could usually stay away from high numbers. The Castle on the other hand, I think I’d have to play at least a dozen times before I shot my handicap - if I ever did at all.
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