Aspire Magazine Issue 2 - Page 21

DAYS 4-5: KINTYRE>KENNACRAIG>ISLAY While Mach Dunes Golf Club is located 10 minutes from the Ugadale Hotel, the original course at Machrihanish is barely 10 steps away. And whereas ‘Mach Dunes’ was born in 2009, golf was first played on the site of Machrihanish ‘Old’ 138 years earlier. The legendary Old Tom Morris then created one of the world’s iconic 1st shots; a drive hit over the corner of a beautiful sandy beach below an elevated tee. After that peerless opener, the rest of the front nine might be one of the best in Britain. If time permits, sneak on to low-profile Dunaverty; worth playing for the dell green at the fourth alone. The ferry again beckons though; this time from Kennacraig to the island of Islay, where The Machrie has been beguiling visitors since 1891. Now under the ownership of a British power couple—former BBC chairman Gavyn Davies and wife Baroness Sue Nye, the one-time director of government relations to Prime Minister Gordon Brown—expect From Arran, take a short ferry to the Mull of Kintyre. After a brief drive along this romantic finger of land, arrive to the tiny town of Machrihanish and your headquarters, The Ugadale Hotel at The Village at Machrihanish Dunes. Machrihanish Dunes (whose owners also revitalized the Royal Hotel) opened in 2009 on precious links designed by the applauded David McLay Kidd. Pure, natural fairways look as if a green bedsheet blankets hundreds of boiled eggs underneath, while the greens are beautifully tucked into natural amphitheaters. ‘Mach Dunes’ as it is affectionately known, was quickly named a Great Britain and Ireland Top 100 course within a year of opening. The Ugadale, with its adjoining cottages and haggis nachos served in the Old Clubhouse pub, is also a success. OPPOSITE: Shiskine Golf Course on the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. FROM TOP: The Ugadale Hotel, located at The Village at Machrihanish Dunes; a pint of handcrafted brew. a full refurbish, both on- and off-course. Tour player-turned-architect D.J. Russell helmed the golf overhaul. While altering such a legacy isn’t without controversy (even if deemed a success, some will never accept it was justifiable), the results are exceptional. Once impossibly exacting in inclement weather (a common Scotland golf theme), it’s more easily played and makes better use of the stunning seaside locale. Yet it also retains plenty of quirk. DAY 6: ISLAY > JURA Your final destination? The neighboring island of Jura (population 200!), just a five-minute ferry ride away. Ardfin has just opened for limited play. Similar to The Machrie, it has a notable backer in publicity-shy, multi-millionaire Greg Coffey. The former Australian hedge fund manager bought the 14,000-acre Ardfin Estate in 2012. Its site is unrivaled, with over half its holes located near cliffs or running alongside the beach akin to Scotland’s Kingsbarns, New Zealand’s Kauri Cliffs, and Pebble Beach in the U.S. Ardfin is a labor of love, for while the setting was phenomenal, the site was originally useless—every grain of sand was imported from Ireland in order to cap the entire site. The result is a breathtaking venue, with an equally breathtaking price tag. Though a private club, fortunately Ardfin isn’t completely inaccessible. DAY 7: KENNACRAIG>LOCH LOMOND>GLASGOW Now the agonizing bit. Leaving this bit of heaven. After taking the ferry from Islay to Kintyre, loop round Loch Lomond to Glasgow via a breathtaking pass between Glen Kinglas and Glen Croe. This will undoubtedly add an exclamation point to any trip. Effort is required for this golf break, and if you want to impress back home with bucket list-venues, it won’t tick those boxes. Yet if you want character, soul, and a sense of adventure—just like Scotland’s varied lands—it’s simply impossible to beat. PLAY TEE TIME AT MACHRIHANISH DUNES, WHICH MEASURES 7,175 YARDS, FEATURES SIX GREENS AND FIVE TEES AT THE OCEAN’S EDGE. MACHRIHANISHDUNES.COM ASPIRE | ISSUE TWO 19