Shiskine Golf Club – A Unique Experience

It is unlikely that you will play at a course like Shiskine Golf Club anywhere! One of Britain’s top 100 golf courses, it is an unusual 12-hole course that has gained cult status. This uncommon course at Blackwaterfoot on the Western side of the Isle of Arran, off the Ayrshire coast of Scotland poses a challenge reminiscent of early golf in Scotland. The course nestles at the foot of the Drumadoon Cliffs and offers superb views of the Kilbrannan Sound.

Created in1896 by Willie Fernie, Shiskine was originally a 9-hole layout of which the 5th and 9th holes still survive. Willie Park extended and revised it to 18 holes just before the Great War. Ravaged during the First World War, six holes fell into disuse leaving a 12 hole course of 2900 yards that is now par 42. Little here is man-made and playing at Shiskine is a challenge against wind, weather and nature. It is the perfect place for an entertaining game of golf in a fun, casual atmosphere with friendly, welcoming people.

One of Shiskine’s challenging features is that most shots are blind, either from the tee or approach to the green or sometimes both. No wonder the starter gives a sheet of instructions on how to play every hole on this course with a minimum number of strokes! The undulating terrain dips and rises continuously, from the tee at certain holes, on the fairways or in front of the green at others.

The first “Road Hole” is a par 4 along the coast road and the next is a par 4 between two burns. The most memorable hole follows, the par 3 “Crow’s Nest,” which needs a blind upswing to a green on a high shelf. The course proceeds downhill by the sea with “Himalayas”, “Twa Burns”, “Shelf”, “Hades”, “Paradise” and the others before heading back to the clubhouse. Most competitions at Shiskine are played over 12 holes but if 18 holes are required by the rules some holes are played again using alternate tees. Usually the first is replayed as the 13th, the second 14th, ninth is16th, 11 is 17th and 12 is the18th.

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