The Machrie - Islay


Beautifully situated near Laggan Bay, on Islay, the southernmost island of Scotland's Inner Hebrides, and yet only four miles from the town of Port Ellen, The Machrie offers stunning accommodation and links golf of the highest standard. Located in Argyll, on the dramatic Atlantic coast, in the very heart of Whisky country, the championship links originally laid out by Willie Campbell in 1891, is now a masterpiece redesigned by DJ Russell and reopened in 2018. Set on unique dunelands, with stunning Hebridean views of the ocean, the peaks of Beinn Bheigeir and the Paps of Jura, the exceptionally maintained course features inspired run offs, contoured greens and revetted bunkers, providing an array of shot selections around the greens which will let the imagination run wild. With fantastic accommodation options, a warm and friendly welcome guaranteed to visitors at the hotel and from the team at the professional's shop, and featuring state of the art practice facilities, The Machrie is a truly majestic venue to stay and play at while enjoying a Scottish Golf Break. Golf Scotland. Golf The Machrie - Islay. Golf Argyll and Bute.


History: The Machrie was founded in 1891, when the original course overlooking Laggan Bay on Islay’s south-west coast was laid out by Willie Campbell, who was the professional at Prestwick in the 1880s and a perennial contender at the Open Championship. Campbell spent only two days on Islay designing the course. He concluded: “This place was made for gowf.” The course he left amid Islay’s wild dunes was one of a kind. Laid out across, not along, the dunes, it was a throwback to the days when blind shots were considered essential in a great seaside course. The Machrie’s reputation was quickly established and in 1901, the Great Triumvirate of Harry Vardon, JH Taylor and James Braid, who amassed 16 Open Championships between them, came to Islay to play a challenge match that was followed around the world. 

The Machrie was redeveloped on several occasions from the 1920s onwards, most notably when a local farmer reclaimed some original land in the 1970s. But it always remained the home of the Islay Golf Club, which has staged the famous amateur competition known as the Kildalton Cross since 1900. Although a quintessential 19th-century Scottish links, the Machrie was, by modern standards, unfair and sometimes confusing. There were also safety concerns to consider with no fewer than seventeen blind shots on the layout.

The course was brought up to modern championship standards by DJ Russell from 2013 to 2018. He set out piecing together eighteen quality golf holes along the original layout. Russell's vision, from the outset, was to make the course a lot more fairer than it had been and to increase its enjoyability as a test by implementing these changes. Russell's creation is a spectacular links golf course. The route played today represents the latest stage in The Machrie’s long and gradual evolution. It may have been modernised, but The Machrie has lost none of its charm.

The Machrie Golf Course: The Machrie is a magnificent modern expression of a classic links course. Set upon dunes that offer stunning views to the ocean and mountains, whilst waves roll in on a soundtrack from the sea, it's location is nothing short of breath taking. Blessed with wide fairways, you'd imagine it may be easier to negotiate than other links courses situated on thin slithers of land, however, looks can be deceiving and hitting the fairway doesn't necessarily mean guaranteed success. Hitting the right spots on these rumpled, fast running fairways will be rewarded with clear sights to beautifully contoured  greens. Otherwise, you may find yourself playing blind shots at your target. Brilliantly crafted and requiring strategy, imagination and good decision making, when so many options are available, this course offers joyous golf and is so much fun to play. The Machrie is an eighteen hole, par 72 (men), par 72 (women), course. It has tees ranging from 5,086 to 7,024 yards.

SGB Signature Hole: Name: Big Strand. Number: Hole 8. Measuring 394 yards (M) and 300 yards (W) this visually stunning par 4, asks the tee shot to be driven through a valley, with the reward being a generous fairway at its end. The ideal line is dictated by the pin position, but we prefer centre right as any drive down the right hand side will feed off the slope and leave a good angle of attack. The approach shot is played over a huge swale that protects the front of the green, and the eye can often be drawn to a cavernous bunker to its left. Concentrate on hitting the three-tiered, pear shaped green and don’t be short as it's a long way back down to the swale's bottom. Once safely on board, the green plays wider than it looks because of the surrounding slopes. But putting is tricky as the surface is dominated by the distinctive lower-tier at the front and a subtle tier to the rear. Oh, and the next hole is a belter too.

Pro shop, Practice & Changing facilities: Pro shop: The Machrie’s fully stocked pro shop provides a wide range of the best golf apparel from top brands and caters for every golfer’s needs covering women, men and junior selections. They also stock accessories that will create a perfect gift to entice other golfers and a selection of gifts for the non golfer, featuring cashmere scarves, picnic blankets and a range of Islay whiskies. Club and shoe hire, trolley and buggy rentals, and Trackman hire/ simulator golf are offered from the professional shop and Golf Academy. In addition, the professional team offer lessons and tuition, combining science, best teaching practice and experience using the latest Trackman technology, with the aim of helping all levels of golfers improve in ways they never imagined. Practice facilities: Amongst the most comprehensive in Scotland, visitors can prepare for a round at The Machrie on its fantastic practice facilities. There’s a covered driving range, hitting out into a huge expanse, with a variation of target greens from 50 to 270 yards, enabling you to warm up or practice all aspects of your game before heading out to the links. Situated en-route to the 1st tee, are a putting green and short-game area, with bunkers, where you will find similar conditions and challenges that you will encounter on the links. Or alternatively, for a thorough short-game examination, head to the six hole par three Wee Course, which will surely pay dividends when you get out on the links. In addition, the Machrie are especially proud of their “Hebrides” putting green, located between the 1st and 18th fairways. This enormous 4,550 square metres of putting surface, inspired by the “Himalayas” alongside the Old Course at St Andrews, features all conceivable slopes and contours and can be enjoyed by experts, novices and families alike. Green fees include use of the Wee Course, Hebrides putting course and short-game practice area, and use of modern, well appointed changing facilities, showers & a sauna within the hotel. 

Food & Dining: 18 Restaurant & Bar. With panoramic south westerly sea views across the links course, the restaurant and bar, 18, at The Machrie offers a relaxed and informal dining experience with delicious Scottish produce on their menus. Dishes constantly change through the season, making the most of the freshest Scottish produce, and the team of passionate chefs create menus that are locally sourced, where possible, celebrating the very best Scotland has to offer. Across land, sea and air, Islay is brimming with local ingredients, ranging from seafood and game to freshly grown vegetables and herbs. So much of the produce sourced for the restaurant is free-range and from small-scale farmers and suppliers on Islay in a bid to reduce food air miles, whilst supporting artisan businesses that ecologically manage the land. Menus are offered across each service at the following times. Breakfast: 07:00-10:00, Lunch: 12:00 – 15:00, Dinner: 18:00 – 21:00, Sunday Lunch: 12.00 – 15.00, and Afternoon Tea: (24hr pre-booking essential) 12.00 – 16.00. Drinks at 18: Enjoy a drink by one of the roaring log fires or on the outdoor terrace overlooking the 18th green, which makes the perfect spot to watch endless sunsets. Indulge in an Islay Whisky form the bar's list, which is laden with produce from the island's distillers, savour a fine wine from across the world or treat yourself to a cocktail from 18's exclusive lists. The Stag Lounge: A stunning first floor lounge overlooking the links and the ocean. Sit by the fireplace and take in the magnificent views through the panoramic floor to ceiling windows, meet friends and enjoy a pre-dinner drink, from the widely stocked bar. The Courtyard Lounge: A welcoming open plan ground floor lounge with roaring fire and south facing French doors, opening onto the hotel courtyard.

Accommodation & Amenities: The Machrie hotel hosts forty-five luxury rooms, suites and lodges. All have stunning views over the Islay countryside, or the links course - with sea views beyond. Room categories include, Cosy: With views of the beautiful Islay countryside, the Cosy bedrooms, and en-suite, have ample space for two with a Queen size bed, desk, and seating. All are decorated in a fresh, modern style and have a relaxing atmosphere with eclectic artwork. Comfy: Spacious with beautiful views overlooking the golf course or Islay countryside, the Comfy bedrooms, and en-suite, are a little larger than the Cosy. Available as a twin or double, with King and Super King beds plus a desk and seating area. All are decorated in a fresh, modern style and have a relaxing atmosphere with eclectic artwork. Comfy Luxe: The spacious Comfy Luxe bedrooms all have Super King beds and a bath with separate shower. With stunning views of either the sea, golf course or Islay countryside, these rooms are a popular choice for those looking to indulge a little. Ground floor rooms feature floor to ceiling French windows leading out to a private outdoor space with seating and then directly onto the links course. The Islay Room: The unique Islay Room is located on the first floor with stunning countryside views. It features a four poster bed and comfortable seating so you can relax and take in the views. The Ben Hogan Duplex Suite: Considered the best room in the house, The Ben Hogan Suite is a split level suite with floor to ceiling windows to make the most of the stunning views over the golf course and across to the Atlantic Ocean. Lodges: A number of Spacious two bedroom lodges are located adjacent to the main hotel building directly on the golf course, with stunning views across the links and beyond to the Atlantic Ocean. They are ideal for groups and families, and include a separate living room with pantry kitchen, a family sized bathroom, Super King size or twin beds, a patio area on the links, and 68 sqm of accommodation space. Hotel Amenities: Cinema: relax in the thirty seat cinema room with a movie of your choice, or enjoy a Sky Sports game. Spa treatment rooms, gym & sauna: Two treatment rooms offering a wide range of massage and or facial therapies, plus a well equipped gym, extensive locker rooms and changing facilities and a sauna. Dog-friendly: Dogs are very welcome at The Machrie (charges apply). Other services: 24 hour room service, laundry services (charges apply), and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.


Featured deal: The Machrie


Typical packages include:

  • Accommodation at The Machrie in a luxury room, suite or lodge
  • Golf at The Machrie 
  • Golf at Machrihanish Dunes
  • A round at Machrihanish Golf Club
  • Dinner Reservations
  • Full Scottish Breakfast
  • Access to changing & locker-rooms, clubhouses and practice facilities 


Packages can be designed to your specification, group size and can include additional courses in Argyll and Bute, and or other regions within Scotland.


Additional services:

  • Airport or train station transfers (all sizes of groups catered for)
  • Executive travel
  • Caddie service

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The Machrie Links, Isle of Islay, Argyll and Bute, Scotland.(Picture Credit / Phil Inglis)The Machrie Links, Isle of Islay, Argyll and Bute, Scotland.(Picture Credit / Phil Inglis)The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links, Islay, Argyll , ScotlandPicture: Phil Inglis All photo usage must carry mandatory copyright credit ( © Phil INGLIS )The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links, Islay, Argyll , ScotlandPicture: Phil Inglis All photo usage must carry mandatory copyright credit ( © Phil INGLIS )The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links, Islay, Argyll , ScotlandPicture: Phil Inglis All photo usage must carry mandatory copyright credit ( © Phil INGLIS )