Golf Course Review of Troon Darley Golf Club

Troon Darley Golf Club

Troon Darley Golf Course

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Quick Summary: A real hidden gem that offers superb value

Our 5 Star Rating: 3.8

The Darley links is one of three courses emanating from the starters office at the Troon Municipal golf complex which is owned, managed and run by South Ayrshire Council.

The words ‘municipal’ and ‘council owned’ would simply deter some people from even considering a round at this course whilst others may head there with some trepidation.

And whilst the course may well indeed find itself down the pecking order of a golfing itinerary in Ayrshire that’s only because the quality of other nearby venues is so high and so deep.

However, the Darley is a very good golf course in its own right and I was extremely impressed with the links on my visit here in September 2015. The style of course is similar in nature to that of nearby Irvine, Gailes and Kilmarnock – an inland heathland/links hybrid. There’s no view of the sea but the firm and mildly undulating terrain certainly plays like a good old fashioned links and with deep bunkers, plus an abundance of gorse, the course presents a stern challenge. The yardage is 6321, par 71 and SSS 72.

Like all three of the Troon courses the first and final holes are less than inspiring. All six of these holes are basically played in a massive field alongside each other and where most of the rough has been cut back, presumably to ensure a quick getaway on all courses. For the record the two holes on this massive expanse of land for the Darley are two sub-500 yard par fives. Neither set the pulse racing but they are far from poor.

In-between, however, from the second hole right through to the 17th there is plenty of very good golf to be had, at times better than that. The second itself, at least a two minute walk across a main road, has a lovely green complex whilst the ravine that angles across the driveable third (another long walk from the second green) must be considered in play but not as much as when you traverse it again at the 429-yard 14th which is likely to be with a much longer shot.

Holes four through to eight all go about their business in an unassumingly impressive manner and where staying in play is crucial because this where the gorse is at its most prominent.

The front nine concludes with an absolute gem of a par three, a 166-yarder named ‘Citadel’ played to a hidden green nestled in the dunes with a sneaky drop-off to the right, and this starts a run of mightily impressive holes which continues right through until and including the 16th.

The land around the tenth, 14th and 15th is at its most undulating and this makes these three holes a real joy. The drive at ten is a tough one because the fairway falls the opposite way to which the hole plays whilst the green complexes at 11 and 12 are classic links golf at its best.

This run of excellent golf ends at the delightful short 16th before you head back to flatter ground at the 17th and then re-cross the road to play the final hole.

My overall impression of the Darley is one of very solid, consistent golf with the stretch of holes from nine to 16 standing out slightly above the rest. The greens were in good condition for the amount of traffic the course gets and whilst they played a little greener and softer than my personal preference would have dictated they putted nicely. On the whole they are quite flat with just subtle borrows.

This course will not even get onto the radar of the visiting golfer heading to Ayrshire but it’s one I would seriously consider playing as it’s just about at the same standard as the more recognised ‘second-tier’ course in the area and can be played at a fraction of the cost.

On the same day I also played the Lochgreen course (Fullarton is the third) and, despite the slightly cheaper green-fee, I thought the Darley was the superior course, certainly the most interesting and varied. A green-fee on the Darley was £28 whilst the Lochgreen was £32 but if you play them on the same day it will set you back just £39 in total.

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