News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Gusting WESTERN GAILES GC
« on: July 09, 2015, 04:20:59 AM »
Being formed in 1897 Western Gailes isnít nearly one of the oldest clubs in Scotland, nor is it one of the most famous links. Western Gailes, however, does enjoy a reputation as a no nonsense course which tests the golfer.  Proof of this respectability is the many occasions the club has hosted Open Final Qualifying, the Scottish Amateur Championship and the 1972 Curtis Cup.

The course is compressed on a threadlike property between the sea and the railway.  At one time the club had its own train stop and it wasnít until Hogmanay 1966 that the last train left Gailes Station.  Being two holes wide, nine holes essentially head north and nine south in three groups (4 out, 9 back, 5 in).  Nine lay of the land holes were originally built by the first green keeper. Gradually the hand of man has intervened due to WWII training (modified 10th & 17th) and F Hawtree's three (3-5) new holes in the mid 1970s due to the construction of a new access road to the harbour.

Due to the north-south orientation of the links and the prevailing westerly or southwesterly wind, the golfer should quickly realize that Western Gailes is a very difficult test of driving the ball.  To complicate matters, many holes dogleg against the wind making the choice of line paramount for success.  Balanced against this unrelenting barage of cross winds, there are seven holes at 350 yards and less.  Some may wonder if this is a recipe for much of a muchness and if truth be told that is a fair criticism of Western Gailes. 

While only 303 yards on the card, the opener is a good test of one's mettle and certainly a warning of things to come. 




Many holes offer plenty of width up to the fairway turning point, then narrow down with rough and bunkers. #2 is one such example with the added complexity of legging hard left to a green nestled under the fold of a rise. There is a strong temptation to aim left and allow the wind to shift the shot right, but left is dead man's country.




More to follow.

Ciao

 
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 08:30:24 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Greg Taylor

Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-2
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2015, 07:51:15 AM »
Get ready for a severe test of golf everybody...!




Steve Wilson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-2
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2015, 07:58:13 AM »
First of all, Sean, are you following me around.  First Prestwick and now Western Gailes.  This replicates my late May schedule south of Glasgow? 


Secondly, Michael Graham, also of this site, and I experienced the "very difficult test of driving the ball."  Michael experienced it as less difficult as his low Scottish ball flight produced some lovely piercing tee balls that stayed under the wind and arrived at their intended destinations.  I, at times, had to aim thirty yards left of target to end up only twenty yards right of target when the wind was from the left which would have been, as you delineated, on the first four out and the last five in.  In other words, I was aiming at the "dead man's country" and on occasion I found it.

[size=78%]The winds were truly Perranporthian in proportion which will have meaning to those who were present at last year's BUDA in Cornwall.  Indeed, when Michael and I ventured out we were the only ones on the course except for a movie crew shooting an internal safety film for United Airlines.  There presence caused us to have to play a temporary green on the par 5 6th, I think.  So much for the notion that it's never too windy for the locals.  In the course of our round we determined that much ink could be saved and a much more accurate name for the course [/size][/size]could be rendered by removing the "i" from Gailes.

[/size][size=78%]We questioned chap in the golf shop if what we experienced was the prevailing wind and were informed that it was only about twice its usual velocity.  There was a lot of good stuff at Western Gales (sp) and I would like to try it sometime with half the wind and a lower ball flight.  One condition is possible, the other, i suspect, a vain hope.[/size]

[/size][size=78%]I am looking forward to the rest of your tour and impressions.[/size]


Some days you play golf, some days you find things.

I'm not really registered, but I couldn't find a symbol for certifiable.

"Every good drive by a high handicapper will be punished..."  Garland Bailey at the BUDA in sharing with me what the better player should always remember.

Alan Ritchie

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-2
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2015, 08:11:25 AM »
My only time here was watching the last day of the european amateur where Richie Ramsey saw off Gary wolstenholme but Ireland won, led by some wonderkid with curly hair. Was really impressed and felt the front 9 was awesome. particularly I think the second par 5 and a great par three down the hill. look forward to the rest of the tour

Greg Taylor

Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-2
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2015, 11:52:47 AM »
Having already Sean's rating in the "Your Last Ten" thread I'm disappointed for Western... I have always had it higher and there are some stand out holes... It's nudging a 7 for me. Great Club House and general vibe too.

JC Urbina

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-2
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2015, 12:33:09 PM »
Sean A,


Thanks for reviving interest in the discussion of golf course architecture.  Western Gailes is so enjoyable to look at and play, your first few holes on the photo tour are a nice reminder of golf in its simplest form. 


On every trip that I have made to the Links Lands of Scotland I have always made time for a return trip to WG.  Last time I did not play but walked the golf course to remind  myself of  some of the smallest but enjoyable landforms in golf.  After my walk I sat up at the clubhouse on one of the benches and reflected with the Caddie Master my first trip to Scotland.  He asked why I found this place to be so special, my reply.  Its the character of the golf holes, narrow in some places but with variety.  The tee shot not always visible as some would like but for me the sense of uncertainty is what I enjoyed so much about links golf.  Walking and wandering where you would find your ball as you approached the ball in the landing area.  Never knowing what shot you may have to pull off for your next attempt. 


It is such a departure from what the U.S golfer expects.  They want predictability, I love the sense of adventure, never boring always entertaining.


Looking forward to the rest of the tour. 

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-2
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2015, 05:55:45 PM »
Only course I've ever had to stagger off because it was too windy to play. Steady 50-60mph and during our round maximum gust went from 82mph to 88mph.
Cave Nil Vino

mike_beene

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-2
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2015, 07:34:08 PM »
You mentioned the routing and I think it deserves more comment.By basically going out and back on each 9 (although the nines "line up"), you get to change directions one more time and are close to clubhouse after 9.An efficient use of a thin property.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-2 New
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2015, 06:44:46 PM »
Thanks all.

WESTERN GAILES TOUR CONT

#3 is quite short, but a pack of brutish gorse bushes lies in wait on the left for the slightly errant tee shot.  In truth, unless one can reach the green its sensible to play shy of the evil weed. 


Western Gailes is similar to Troon in that a handful of shortish two-shotters out of the blocks must leave many golfers wondering when the hammer will come down.  Well, not quite yet.  #4 simmers along quite amiably and despite the seemingly single minded wind, this hole is a bit of a doddle.  That said, the fairway creeps almost imperceptively toward the right fairway bunkers.


Life becomes a bit more arduous on the 5th.  Wind inevitably shoves tee shots toward a plethora of bunkers running down the left of the fairway.  They can't clearly be seen, but we know....


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 27, 2020, 03:47:15 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Michael Graham

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-5
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2015, 08:38:05 AM »
Sean,


Looking forward to the rest of the tour. As he already mentioned, Steve Wilson and I had a thoroughly enjoyable round at Western Gailes in late May. The wind wasn't perhaps as strong as Mark C experienced but it couldn't have been much less. I think apart from Steve and I there were another two or three groups on the course. Definitely a course that rewards repeat play. Steve and I both got caught out by the burn on the back nine. The only real disappointment of the day was having to play to the alternate green at the par 5 6th and the alternate tee on the par 3 7th.


Michael

Paul Gray

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-5
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2015, 08:58:29 AM »
On a rather grim looking Monday afternoon (it seems the heatwave is long gone now), Sean Arble, as is so often the case, has inspired me to travel the 800 yards to the first tee down here at Hayling.


Great work Sean. My first impressions are of a course laid out expertly by nature and gently assisted thereafter by man. I'm looking forward to this one.
In the places where golf cuts through pretension and elitism, it thrives and will continue to thrive because the simple virtues of the game and its attendant culture are allowed to be most apparent. - Tim Gavrich

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-5
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2015, 06:12:32 PM »
Paul

You are very welcome.

WESTERN GAILES TOUR CONT

For some reason I don't seem to have photos of 6 or 7; perhaps the two best holes on the course.  Temptingly short, yet a form of fool's gold, the short three-shotter 6th is a dead certain five if the golfer follows the visual clues.  Even after a good drive, trying to hit the blind semi-punchbowl green in two is a form of the game requiring more pounds per square inch than nearly all golfers possess...even Seve would have eyed up the space right of the marker pole.  After two good shots the green poses more problems in that it runs away from play....quite a remarkable hole.

A mid-length par three with a seemingly under-sized green located in a holler follows.  Forget where the hole is located and play to the centre of the green.  Very much following a theme of trying to hang onto to any part of the fairway while being bashed by a right crossing wind is the loud and clear message first bellowed on the 5th. It is the burn shy of the green which is introduced, a keynote which will feature on three later holes.  The side closes with my favourite type of hole...and this is a good example of the short par 4.  The design implores the golfer to lay-up shy of the right bunkers some 260 yards out, but the seduction of a sub 300 yard par 4 is more than many golfers can resist.  There is cranky ground down the middle which will inexorably impede the progress of the brave tee shot...most likely leaving the golfer floundering. 


There is a certain difficulty in taking advantage of an aggressively well struck tee shot.


Looking back toward the tee.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 06:54:17 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Stewart Abramson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-5
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2015, 10:01:07 PM »


For some reason I don't seem to have photos of 6 or 7; perhaps the two best holes on the course.  Temptingly short, yet a form of fool's gold, the short three-shotter 6th is a dead certain five if the golfer follows the visual clues.  Even after a good drive, trying to hit the blind semi-punchbowl green in two is a form of the game requiring more pounds per square inch than nearly all golfers possess...even Seve would have eyed up the space right of the marker pole.  After two good shots the green poses more problems in that it runs away from play....quite a remarkable hole.

A mid-length par three with a seemingly under-sized green located in a holler follows.  Forget where the hole is located and play to the centre of the green.  Very much following a theme of trying to hang onto to any part of the fairway while being bashed by a right crossing wind is the loud and clear message first bellowed on the 5th.



Sean - Hope you don't mind my filling in photos of 6 and 7.



Western Gailes #6 (Lappock) par 5 -2nd shot aim between the 2 mounds




Western Gailes #6 (Lappock) red post guide for 2nd shot safe shot is to post right of green




Western Gailes #6 (Lappock) view from behind green back to fairway




Western Gailes #7 (Sea) par 3




Western Gailes #7  (Sea) green



These are indeed two excellent holes. These photos are from my first day of my first trip to Scotland. Straight off the plane in Prestwick I played  Glasgow Gailes, Western Gailes, Dundonald and Barassie my first two days . I was so jealous of the locaals having these courses within yards of one another, and the topped it off with Prestwick down the road the third day

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-9
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2015, 09:38:36 AM »
Thanks Sean. I loved WG. The inward nine, though less linksy, I thought was also excellent. I am looking forward to a refresher of the holes there.


A quick story. I was playing the 15th (?), which runs along a railway line. I hit my drive to the right, near the rail line. As I was getting to my ball a train roared past. For some reason I glanced up and there in a car window was my wife waving like mad. She was returning from a day in Glasgow. I will never forget the moment. There was something dream-like about it. 


Bob

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-9 New
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2015, 03:49:29 AM »
Jason

Thanks for the pix.  I think it is quite clear why taking on #6 in two is either very bold or very stupid.

WESTERN GAILES CONT

The 10th is not dissimilar to #8.  A shortish par 4 played diagonally near or over a ridge.  The fairway is shaped like a revolver handgun with plenty of room left, but no margin for error right. 


As is the case on several holes, there is a burn short of the green which adds nothing to the hole considering the greenside bunkers.


The heat is turned up for the 11th.  The familiar pattern of doglegging against the wind remains, but a dime thin fairway is on hand to greet the player.  The green too is a more difficult target sitting on the ridge.  Considering the prevailing wind this hole could stand to be substantially widened or the rough considerably thinned.  #12 moves away from the ridge and like the 11th, can play very long.  One may think respite is on offer for the 13th, but this heavily fortified short par three will often play downwind.

Turning back for the run home, #14 requires a steady nerve to split the bunkers on the drive. 


Bunkers continue to harass until putter is in hand.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 27, 2020, 03:51:41 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES 1-14
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2015, 05:32:22 AM »
WESTERN GAILES CONT

The bunkers fronting the 15th green leave enough space to hit a lower ball flight than may seem prudent. Many might think this detail is small beer, but when the wind blows......


Dead straight and another burn hole; even from the daily tee carrying the water miles short of the 16th green can be a chore. 


The penultimate hole, while perplexing, is certainly one which gets the player thinking.  The drive offers no clues as to the layout of the hole.  Its like hitting into a field knowing the second will require something extra special, but who knows what?


It turns out we play over the ridge to a blind fairway that for all intents and purposes looks like it was designed for another hole much further left.  We have the pole as a guide, but the pole doesn't reveal how dangerous the line is.  Golfers approach from the right...across the width of the fairway. I am not convinced this is a very good hole, but it does command respect.  Besides, all courses need a bit of controversy. 


Not in the least controversial, Home is however, a very good finisher.  Many golfers will play too far left trying to avoid a pair of bunkers guarding the right side of the fairway.  There is a very good chance the bunkers well short of the green will then be in play. 






The clubhouse is very comfortable and stately.  Even the lockeroom oozes character.


Western Gailes has long been on my bucket list and it was wonderful to finally visit.  With holes such as 6, 7, 9 and 17 the course can certainly claim a seat at the top table of Scotland.  However, due to the narrow property, Western Gailes does not offer enough variety to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of Scotland.  In particular, the driving aspect of the game is heavily weighted toward trying to find fairways which narrow at the driving zone while fighting a cross wind.  I would also note the heavy use of burns which cross fairways shy of greens at right angles. That said, it is no great shame not to hang with the Dornochs of the world as few courses can.  For those looking for a tough day of driving the ball without being beat down by long yardage then Western Gailes will suit you to a tee.   2015

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 07:17:22 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2015, 06:54:21 AM »
My one visit was late in the evening with light winds and beautiful evening sunlight.  In that setting, there was a magic to the place unique among the many courses I have played in my life.  The course did not seem overly narrow that day.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2015, 06:58:32 PM »
Jason

I don't think Western Gailes is terribly narrow.  Its just that the same question is asked over and over again on the tee.

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 06:54:21 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Mark Smolens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2015, 10:18:01 AM »
On my visit to Scotland in '91, we played Glasgow Gailes the afternoon of our first day, and then drove across the road (or, at least it seems in my perhaps foggy memory that it was just across the road) to Western Gailes. Seems that my pro buddy had met the Manager, Gibson Beattie, the year before and bonded. Mike brought Gibson, no lover of the single malt from his home country, a bottle of Tennessee's finest Jack Daniels. Gibson met us in the parking lot, caressing the gift in his arms as if it were a new-born baby. Instead of playing the next day after 11, he had us show up at 8:30, and he'd complete our three-ball and make us four.

After a great day on the links we retired to Gibson's apartment, on the second floor of the clubhouse, with a huge picture window overlooking Ailsa Craig. We watched Wimbledon on the telly, and Gibson introduced me to several examples of single malt (while he hit the Jack hard). The next day, at Prestwick, my caddy Roger had to tee my ball up for me due to having been grossly overserved.

I heard that Gibson was no longer at WG, but a fabulous memory. Thanks for the pics and the tour...

David Stamm

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2015, 11:17:49 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to do this, Sean. WG has always been a course that I wanted to learn more about. Mr. Huntley has always spoken very highly of it, and it has always looked solid to my eyes.
"The object of golf architecture is to give an intelligent purpose to the striking of a golf ball."- Max Behr

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2015, 04:08:08 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to do this, Sean. WG has always been a course that I wanted to learn more about. Mr. Huntley has always spoken very highly of it, and it has always looked solid to my eyes.


David


Western Gailes is better than solid...its very good and holds its own in tough company.  It is easy to see why people love the place. 


Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

MClutterbuck

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES GC
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2019, 02:02:05 PM »
Who designed Western Gailes? I have seen credit given to Willie Park Jr., Willie Fernie and Fred Morris...

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES GC
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2019, 08:32:08 PM »
Who designed Western Gailes? I have seen credit given to Willie Park Jr., Willie Fernie and Fred Morris...

F Morris designed at least the original 9 holes.  I don't know which holes were lost or remain.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES GC
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2019, 05:08:51 AM »
MC


Fernie was there before and a couple of years after (1893 and 1895 from memory). I don't think Park Jnr was there until c.1912 around the same time that he consulted at Glasgow Gailes across the road. In between times there was an awful lot of tinkering as tended to happen with the old classic links. How much of that tinkering resulted in wholesale changes, not sure but I think it is clear from the original plan and from the changes made for the road that Sean refers to that there has been quite a lot even if the direction of travel ie. general direction of the routing, hasn't changed.


I'm not sure how long Morris was greenkeeper for but suspect not that long. Hugh McMillan was the long time greenkeeper and a lot of the changes that were done were enacted by him. Whether they were his ideas, or the committees, or some other like Fernie or Park I can't say. It's not a course I've tried to research but instead have managed to pick up bit and pieces about as I've gone along.


Niall 

MClutterbuck

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Gusting WESTERN GAILES GC
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2019, 12:40:12 PM »
Niall, thanks.

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back