Part links, part meadowland

Girvan

Girvan Golf Club

Date Reviewed
July 12, 2021
Reviewed by Ed Battye
Girvan is very much a tale of two halves although mathematically speaking it is actually a story of 8/18's (or should that be four-ninths?) and 10/18's.

Maths was never my strong point at school but I do know that I absolutely love the first 8 holes at Girvan; rustic, old fashioned holes played over true linksland which gets this course off to a wonderful start.

They are not long holes and neither are they great holes but is there such a thing as poor links golf? Thanks to firm ground conditions and natural undulations I don't think so.

The entire course stretches to only 5,086 yards (par 64) and these opening 8 holes only cover around 2,200 of those but there is an unbridled joy to golfing over them in close proximity to the sea.

Four of the holes are one-shotters with the best saved for last. The 8th has an amazing green complex, falling away on all sides and with a running approach most likely required at this 233-yarder the rumpled hogsback fairway is no friend in a time of need.

All the short holes are very good and the 5th is a real stunner - another fine green complex and a backdrop to die for.

The par-fours are not quite as appealing but still very good. The first is a jaunty opener and I was fond of the fourth too but it is the short holes that stand out.

The only real criticism I could have of these holes was that the greens were not great. And by that I mean more the condition - they were very woolly and extremely slow.

After crossing the road to play the final ten holes we are no longer in true golfing territory. A critic might say the second half of the course is just played in one large field and although this is incredible harsh we are now in an open meadowland with lusher grass and a few clusters of trees.

There are still some fine and unusual holes and the golf is far from poor but it is the contrast that deflates ones soul a little.

The short 10th is a fine par-three and the closing trio (driveable par-four, an almost impossible par-three played up and over a sheer wall of rough, and a tight par-three where your tee-shot must go between trees akin to kicking a conversion through a rugby goalpost) is an entertaining end to the round.

Can Girvan be classed as true links? George Peper and Malcolm Campbell didn't think so but if it had one more links holes it would probably have made their True Links book. It misses out by a case of where to draw the line. In my book it is very much a 'part-links' in the same mould as Pwllheli, Seahouses, Porthmadog and a couple of others.

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