Built on what was once known as Southern Gailes golf course, the Dundonald Golf Links was created by Kyle Phillips as a links alternative to the members of the Loch Lomond Golf Club.
Fresh from his success at Kingsbarns, where he created large man-made dunes, here Phillips worked on building a softer links with bumpy ground contours, deep pot bunkers and undulating greens regularly protected by snaking burns. Some of the burns work well, but others like the blind ditch on 13, are problematic. Were the golfer able to see the trouble on 13, or indeed if it was set further back from the putting surface to allow long, bumping approach shots it would be much better. In a sense the same is true of the 9th hole, which features a green angled to the rear but frontal traps that prevent clever chasing approaches.
The best use of the roving ditch is on the terrific par five 3rd hole, where trouble runs down the right side of the fairway and then cuts across the hole 150 yards from the green. The other really good long hole is the 16th, but strangely there are quite a few fours and fives here that are a little soft and uninspired. Generally speaking the green shaping is impressive, but often the targets feature more movement than the fairways and the odd flat hole/wild green combination fails to really hit the mark.
Set partly alongside the Ayrshire rail track and with pleasant views of the nearby coastline, Dundonald has a classic Scottish links feel and is a good, solid layout to test your game against. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of Kingbarns, but most will enjoy a game here.