Carradale Golf Club Course Review

The sensational and sporty nine-holer at Carradale Golf Club is the dictionary definition of a hidden gem

Carradale Golf Club - Hole 6 - Feature
The sixth hole is typical of the outstanding natural beauty that runs over every inch of the course
(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Carradale Golf Club Course Review
GF
9 Holes: £15; Day: £25
Par 65, 4,576 yards
GM Verdict The most engaging, life-affirming and scenic of 9-holers that is more than worth any detour
Favourite Hole The par-4 6th with the beach down on the left and stunning hillside beyond

If ever there was a course that summed up hidden gem in its various different categories and guises, it would be this absolutely charming and unassuming 9-holer located in stunning scenery in Argyll. Run by its members, it is a joyful place to play. Anyone who values scenery and setting should be smitten with Carradale. What this sporty course lacks in length, it more than makes up for in interest, spectacle and sheer joy. There are four par 3s, none of them easy, and five shortish but tricky par 4s. The greens are small, it is beautifully presented, and it will more than reward any effort made to visit.

Carradale Golf Club - Hole 1

The opening hole, played up to a raised green

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The course opens with a par 3 played up the hillside. As you leave the tee, you may still be wondering what the fuss is all about. As you reach the green, you will no longer have any doubt.

Carradale Golf Club - Hole 2

A tricky approach awaits at the second

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

If you can tear yourself away from the breathtaking views, the second plays down into the valley, over an old drystone wall and up to a wide, shallow green.

Carradale Golf Club - Hole 3

The third is a tough par 3 and a short par 4!

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

There is a choice of tees next making it a brute of a short hole or a genuine birdie chance.

Carradale Golf Club - Hole 4

The fourth green with the firth and the Isle of Arran beyond

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Heading back inland, where the views are equally compelling, the 4th is a short par 4 to a raised green.

Carradale Golf Club - Hole 5

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The 5th is the mirror opposite of the 4th, and with a completely different backdrop.

Carradale Golf Club - Hole 6

Looking down on the sixth green with the firth beyond

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

This is followed by the signature hole - Pudding Bowl - arguably one of nine signature holes really.

Carradale Golf Club - Hole 7

It’s all carry at the lovely par-3 seventh, Port Righ

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The par-3 7th/16th plays over rocky outcrops down to a green at the southern end of the course.

Carradale Golf Club - Hole 8

Yet another fabulous view back over the green at the eighth

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The final short hole comes at the 8th/17th, but is remarkably different from the front and back tees.

Carradale Golf Club - Hole 9

Looking back down the final fairway

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

As you head back up the closing drive-and-pitch par 4 to the clubhouse, your main thought is likely to be, “Is the first tee clear and can I go out again now?!”

There is much to be said for 9-hole golf courses. Carradale will never host the Open Championship, the Scottish Open, or even the Argyll Open. However! If there was an Open for courses, and the criteria for success were to include setting, originality, value, views and wow-factor, then Carradale Golf Club (opens in new tab) would be a contender every time!

Rob Smith
Rob Smith

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played 1,150 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions last year, he still managed to play 80 different courses during 2021, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. Rob is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.