The FT wrote a wonderful article in November 2018 about the re-birth of this course: https://www.ft.com/content/46fdb312-deb4-11e8-b173-ebef6ab1374a
It’s really well written and explains how Gordon Campbell Gray, a native of the Island and global restauranteur returned home and revitalized the hotel. Gavyn Davies, ex GS and BoE fame bought the course in 2011, clever chap, and managed to persuade Gray to fix up the hotel.
Here’s some text describing the course:
The Machrie is one of the great Scottish courses, but historically one of the most infuriating. It was first designed in 1891 by Willie Campbell, a huge star at the time (there’s a bunker at Prestwick called “Willie Campbell’s grave”, not because he’s buried in it, but rather because his hopes for the 1887 Open Championship were). “This place was made for gowf,” he said of the Machrie (apparently that’s what the game was called back then — well, either that or he was drunk). Since then the course has had its up and downs, literally. Many people hated it because, unlike most links courses, it goes over the dunes rather than round them, making it notorious for blind pins. “It was an endurance test, a relic,” says one of the former guests. It’s been redesigned by DJ Russell, the assistant-captain of Europe’s winning 2006 Ryder Cup team, who has now offered players routes where the pins remain visible. Foley, the course pro, gave me the figures while Dylan and I hacked the morning away. It is 6,800 yards in total from the back tee, and the greens have a reading of nine and a half on the stimpmeter (the measure of how fast the ball moves across the grass). Any higher, and out here, on Britain’s westernmost edge, the wind will blow your ball off the green before you can reach it. There is a superb putting green and a smaller, easier course, too.
This is a link to the hotel’s website: https://www.campbellgrayhotels.com/machrie-islay-scotland/
This is a really excellent website on iIslay which includes information on the golf course:
The Machrie Golf Course is located on Islay, in Scotland. The word "machrie" is a corruption of the Scottish Gaelic machair, which means more or less the same as "links" did on the east coast of Scotland.
The course was designed by Willie Campbell in 1891 and was intentionally made long, at least by 19th Century standards, to attract golfers to Islay. Set in the dunes of Islay, Queen of the Hebrides, The Machrie Links course is one of the most beautiful locations in world golf. Originally designed in 1891 by Willie Campbell, the course has now been fully modernised by D J Russell, the former European Ryder Cup Vice Captain and PGA tour player.
There is a reason why the Scots invented golf on links land, Machrie land, and the links turf on which the course sits is among the finest in Scotland. The dramatic setting of Laggan Bay and the sand dunes has few equals, and with the ever changing nature of the challenge offered by this acclaimed layout it’s time you played the Machrie!
The Machrie Links hosted a famous match in 1901 between James Braid, John Henry Taylor and Harry Vardon for a prize of £100, reputed to be the largest prize of its kind at that time in the British Isles. Harry Vardon called Mount Zion, now the 17th hole, but originally the first hole, "the hardest hole I have seen". The links later hosted the Western Isles Open Championship in June 1935.
This is a link to Machrie bay: http://www.machriebay.com
Here’s a link that describes some of the other attractions of Islay…https://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/c/50/islay-single-malt-scotch-whisky