Scotland, revisited: The Machrihanish Golf Club, good for the golfer’s soul

By Ron Bellamy | Golf, Scotland |

An iconic opening shot is just the beginning of the fun

MACHRIHANISH, ARGYLL, Scotland — You have to work to get here, to this beautiful, remote village. And then, you have to force yourself to leave.

Near the tip of the peninsula known as the Mull of Kintyre, a 4½-hour drive from Edinburgh, you find The Machrihanish Golf Club, a special place in the world of golf.

More than a century later, Michael Bamberger wrote: “If I were allowed to play only one course for the rest of my life, Machrihanish would be the place.”

The quote helped make Machrihanish a destination. “If you love golf,” said Ken Campbell, 51, the head professional for 29 years, “you’ll meet somebody who knows Machrihanish.”

The Machrihanish Golf Club features one of the most daunting opening tee shots in golf, across a beach to the fairway, the golfer having to decide how bold to be. And then off you go, through the dunes, to play a golf course in which holes seem truly varied, with no sameness, except a consistent spirit of adventure.

“It’s the charm that makes it stand out,” Campbell said. “It’s the romance about the place.”

“The land here is basically for a golf course, isn’t it?” Campbell said. “If you had a piece of land in the world (to build a golf course), this is where you would do it.”

Originally published The Register-Guard, Oct. 11, 2016.

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