Scotland has given us many things over the years (some good, some bad) from the deep fried Mars Bar and Gin & Tonic to the Microwave and the Television. Thankfully for us they also invented the game of golf – with the first written record in 1457!

Robert Burns, most famous for writing “Auld Lang Syne” in 1788,  is another famous product of Scotland, and today is the 25th of January, also known Burns Night! He was born in Ayrshire – home to some of the best golf in the world. Since the famous poets death in 1796 (aged just 36) there has been a real abundance in the number of golf courses on the West Coast of Scotland. So here at UK Golf Guide we thought we would have a look at three of the most famous golf courses in the Ayrshire region (often referred to as Scotland’s Golf Coast) – all of which have had the privilege of holding The Open Championship numerous times.

But to start with here’s a poem written by Seiichiro Otsuka, who was so surprised when he found out that Robert Burns was never inspired by the famous Scottish game he wrote his own!

Address to the Golf Ball

Great Mischieftain o’ the human race,
Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
As lang’s you traivel straight.
Ye aim tae reach that distant hill
Nae bother tae play wi’ skylark shrill.
The dinky dimples o’ your saucy face
Should stay awa safe frae ills o’ life,
The whins, waters, traps an’ trail
That lie between us and our holy grail.
Ay ye sleekit, tyrannous, drunken beastie, gae straight!
Why the hell do ye gae left and richt?
Now don’t squat there deep drowned in bunker
Like a stupid fried egg in stinker.
Poor devil, I’ll gie ye one last chance
Tae be my trusty, couthy crony.
If ye wish tae prove yersel worthy o’ my gratefu’ prayer
For once, gae straight and get in there.
Amen, and grant me a day sae groovy
And a glorious-ever bonnie burdie.

Prestwick Golf Club first held The Open Championship in 1860 and did so consecutively until 1870, the last Open it held was 1925.

Prestwick Golf Club Hosted the Open Championship 24 times

Picture the scene…it’s Wednesday 17th October 1860, a small group of men are making their way towards the sand dunes of Prestwick Golf Club. They are about to make history – the first ever round of the Open Championship was played at Prestwick, over 150 years ago! Who would have thought that it would still stand up today as one of the leading events in the world of sport?

Unfortunately for Prestwick Golf Club, there last Open Championship held in 1925. This was mainly due to the problematic issue of crowd control, there simply wasn’t enough room to cater for the growing population of spectators – players balls would often hit the crowds and deflect away, meaning play was often disrupted.

However, the course is still open at present and today’s golfers can expect a traditional links layout, which shares its borders with Royal Troon. There are a number of blind holes, deep sleepered bunkers with wooden steps to take you down to the bottom and greens which are especially quick and firm – the majority being relatively small with malevolent undulations which are tricky for any golfer to negotiate. The par-71 track measures a respectable 6,544 yards and the course’s challenge remains intact to test even the most recent generation of golfers.

Royal Troon Golf CLub has held The Open Championship on no fewer than seven occasions, most recently when the unheralded Todd Hamilton triumphed in 2004.

Royal Troon – Hosted the Open Championship 7 times

Royal Troon was originally founded in 1878, as a five-hole golf course, after a gathering in the local pub by a crowd of golf enthusiasts. Even in sight of its rather menial background, it has developed into one of the finest links golf courses in the whole of Scotland. Proving time and time again to be a serious test of golfing prowess, especially when the weather conditions turn against the player, making power as just as important as accuracy when looking to shoot low.

Again, like Prestwick, Royal Troon is a traditional links layout which runs out and back. The first few starting holes are relatively straightforward – running next to the Firth of Clyde – and it’s from these opening holes that you are able to observe the stunning views of the distant Ailsa Craig, in the south, and the imposing mountains of the Isle of Arran, to the West.

The 7,175 yard, par-71, layout is heavily laden with bunkers that are strategically hidden from the tees; therefore shot selection is key to taming this brilliant course. As well as being home the longest hole on the Championship circuit, a monstrous 601 yard par-5, the course is also home to the shortest as well, a 123 yard par-3, famously know as the “Postage Stamp”.

Troon’s centenary year was in 1978, and it was then that the royal patronage was granted. Royal Troon Golf Club remains the first, and last, golf club in Great Britain to have been approved the “Royal” status under the 50 year long reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Turnberry is a truly spectacular place for a round of golf, however it is probably best known to the world since Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson’s legendary duel in 1977.

Turnberry – The Ailsa Course – Hosted the Open Championship 4 times

Often referred to as the most picturesque of all the Open Championship courses, which is easy to see why when you get there! The course was originally created by Willie Fernie of Troon in 1906 having been commissioned by the third Marquess of Ailsa to design a championship length course on part of her Culzean Estate.

Turnberry is the most recent addition to The Open rota and to date it has hosted the Open Championship a total of four times. The course measures a total of 7,204 yards and is a par-70 layout, with the last four holes being particularly demanding, beginning with the short 15th which drops away sharply to the right hand side of the green. Wilson’s Burn winds its way round the front of the 16th, catching anything that comes up short of the green, proceeded by a lengthy narrow par-5 that twists erratically from the tee to the putting surface. The hotel is then the ideal backdrop for the spectacular closing hole, which was named “Duel in the Sun” in 2003, where many a memorable moment has taken place during the closing stages of Open Championship history.