Western Gailes Golf Club: Course Review, Green Fees, Tee Times and Key Info

Set 'twixt railway and sea, the venerable course at Western Gailes in Ayrshire offers an enjoyable ride through the purest links terrain

Western Gailes Golf Club
There's a nine-hole stretch mid-round at Western Gailes that plays right beside the shore
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2023/24

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Western Gailes Golf Club Key Information

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AddressGailes Road, Irvine, Ayrshire, KA11 5AE.
Phone Number+44 (0)1294 311649
Green Fees£210-£225 per round May to mid-Oct; £125-£165 shoulder seasons
Visitor TimesMon, Weds, Fri - 9am-midday & 2.00-4.30pm; Tues, Thurs, Sat, Sun - selected one hour afternoon slots (see website)
ParMen: 71 blue, white, yellow, green; Ladies: 71 white, yellow, green
Slope RatingMen: 146 blue, 144 white, 137 yellow, 129 green; Ladies: 144 white, 138 yellow, 131 green
Designed byF Morris, Fred W Hawtree
Golf Monthly Verdict

Western Gailes Golf Club

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Set on a sliver of linksland, Western Gailes is the epitome of a true Scottish links. This fine old course’s setting on the Firth of Clyde brings splendid views across to Arran as the course heads first north, then south for nine shoreside holes and finally north again. 

There are mischievously placed natural-style bunkers plus several inconveniently located burns to negotiate along the way. The course is reminiscent of Royal Lytham in that the bunkering generally dictates your strategy for playing the holes on what is, essentially, flat linksland.


- Some super shoreside holes playing through natural amphitheatres in the dunes

- A good selection of risk-reward where burns must be factored in

- Great views of Arran especially from a couple of tees set right beside the beach


UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 46

For many golfers, this venerable old course overlooking Arran on the Ayrshire coast just north of Royal Troon, gets pretty close to pure links heaven.

It dates back to 1897 and plays over a classically slender links strip, often only two holes wide, between sea and railway. Just across the railway lies the 21st-century links at Dundonald.

Western Gailes heads first north then south for a long stretch, before a final five-hole northward trek back to the central clubhouse. It has long sat in the middle part of Golf Monthly's Top 100 courses in the UK and Ireland rankings. 

Sandhills and sea views abound as you tackle one glorious links hole after another. But despite its age and traditional feel, Western Gailes rarely relies on blind shots for protection.

It prefers to use the natural terrain and a number of cunningly placed bunkers to make you think. That, along with the ever-present Firth breeze and some inconveniently located burns.

Those bunkers have been changing character of late as the club works to restore them to their more natural state under the guidance of Mackenzie and Ebert. Some excellent new run-off areas have replaced certain greenside traps to add a different element to your short-game recovery options.

The sandhills may not be as towering as on certain 21st-century links. But few make as stunningly effective use of the natural routing between dune ridges as Western Gailes.

A number of holes play to isolated greens set in shallow natural amphitheatres. The 6th and excellent par-3 7th greens stand out in this regard. The latter has an amphitheatre feel for its entire length on account of the dune ridge along the beach to the right and a slightly lower one flanking the left.

There’s a real sense of awe and occasion when you play these holes, even if you’re on your own.

There are many great stretches of coastal holes around these shores. But there may just be no better run anywhere than Western Gailes’ southbound stretch from the 5th to 13th along the Firth of Clyde.

Western Gailes Golf Club

The 6th is one of strong run of holes along the shore (Photo: Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

What The Top 100 Panel Said

Gordon Ross UK&I Top 100 panel
Gordon Ross

The course presents a very fair test of golf. The fairways are generally wider than they appear from the tee and the bunkers are clearly in view. I enjoyed the way the course has been set up as it enables the golfer to plot their way around and, if done well, there are no nasty hidden surprises

Andrew Oliver UK&I Top 100 panel
Andrew Oliver

This is a brilliant natural links site and while the long run of holes in one direction can dent the variety, you can’t argue with the quality on offer. Conditioned to a high standard and full of intrigue and challenge but ultimately very fair with only the odd blind shot. Definitely not a poor relation to Troon or Prestwick and now, with characterful bunkering, more than holding its own.

Western Gailes Golf Club location

Western Gailes Golf Club Green Fees

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March 13th to April 30th 2023 (not Saturdays)£125inc soup and sandwiches on weekdays
May 1st to October 15th 2023 - weekdays - round£210inc lunch
May 1st to October 15th 2023 - weekdays - two rounds same day£280inc lunch
October 16th to 31st 2023 (not Saturdays)£165inc soup and sandwiches
May to September 2023 - Saturdays£225Row 4 - Cell 2
May to September 2023 - Sundays£210Row 5 - Cell 2

Enquire about tee-time bookings at Western Gailes

Western Gailes Golf Club Scorecard

Western Gailes Golf Club scorecard

(Image credit: Western Gailes Golf Club)

Best Courses Near Western Gailes


<a href="https://www.golfmonthly.com/courses/top-100-courses/prestwick-golf-club-course-review-60573" data-link-merchant="golfmonthly.com"">PRESTWICK
Much has changed at Prestwick since it hosted the first of its 24 Opens in 1860, but its wonderfully, rumpled terrain still provides a tangible link with the challenge those early Open competitors faced. It is both historically significant yet still hugely relevant and great fun. That is Prestwick’s charm. A unique opportunity to immerse yourself in The Open’s very earliest history.


<a href="https://www.golfmonthly.com/courses/top-100-courses/dundonald-links-golf-course-review-green-fees-tee-times-and-key-info" data-link-merchant="golfmonthly.com"">DUNDONALD LINKS
An ever-improving links blending the best of the old and the new. This Kyle Phillips design is a modern alternative to its traditional neighbours with many memorable holes. These include the par-4 13th which hugs the railway line and where a burn awaits short of the larger-than-life, two-tiered green. With its new clubhouse and accommodation, Dundonald Links is fulfilling its original potential

Best Places To Stay Near Western Gailes

Dundonald Links, Gailes -  Book now at Booking.com
You can stay in the new accommodation at Dundonald Links just across the railway from Western Gailes. There's a fitness centre on site plus free private parking, a restaurant and a bar. Every room is equipped with a desk, a flat-screen TV, a coffee machine and a private bathroom with shower and free toiletries. Some rooms also boast a kitchen fitted with a fridge.

The Gailes Hotel & Spa, Gailes - Book now at Booking.com
The four-star Gailes Hotel offers modern accommodation and a contemporary restaurant a ten-minute drive from Prestwick Airport. Leisure facilities include a fitness centre, hot tub and sauna. The en suite bathrooms include both shower and bath, as well as Scottish toiletries. The Coast Restaurant offers a wide range of dishes created with the finest locally sourced ingredients. 

Western Gailes Gallery


  • 2023/24 - 46
  • 2021/22 - 47
  • 2019/20 - 49
  • 2017/18 - 52
  • 2015/16 - 54
  • 2013/14 - 52
  • 2011/12 - 51
  • 2009/10 - 46

Frequently Asked Questions

What designed the course at Western Gailes?

Unlike many courses in the Golf Monthly UK&I Top 100, Western Gailes can't lay claim to a big-name course architect of the time. The club was founded in 1897, with the first nine holes opening for play by spring 1898 and the second nine by May 1899. The man largely responsible was the club's first greenkeeper, a Mr Morris, who shaped the course naturally over the existing links terrain. Certain things have had to change over the years for various reasons, but the links remains largely unmodified from its original layout.

What are the best golf courses in Ayrshire?

Ayrshire is the third most 'successful' county in the Golf Monthly UK&I Top 100 rankings behind Surrey and Merseyside. This is largely because of its strong associations with The Open Championship. Leading the way in the county are Turnberry's Ailsa course (3rd) and the Old course at Royal Troon (17th). Then there's Prestwick (43rd), which hosted the very first Open and 24 in all, with Western Gailes (46th) lying fourth in the county in our Top 100 and probably the eyes of many other observers. Dundonald Links (99th) just across the railway from Western Gailes has just entered our Top 100 for the first time.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response