If variety is the spice of life, then Ayrshire truly ranks among the zestiest of golfing destinations anywhere in the world. With some 45 courses it is littered with choice including world-class links such as Royal Troon, Prestwick and Turnberry, plus a host of courses that are lesser-known on the global stage but rightfully admired by players throughout Scotland.

Claire and I are staying at the Gailes Hotel and Spa, part of the family-owned SimpsInns group and smack in the middle of more golf clubs than you could hope to visit in a week of Scotland’s long summer days. We have just 48 or so hours, and are looking to make the most of it.

We arrive on Saturday evening and the hotel’s restaurant is clearly popular among both guests and locals. Despite the infamous recruitment challenges facing Scotland’s hospitality industry, Chelle, Jamie, Aaron and the rest of the crew are attentive and accommodating throughout.

I get started with the Gordal olives with chilli, coriander and lime, while Claire opts for the Cullen Skink. The smoked haddock soup is beautifully thick and creamy, and would easily suffice as a main lunchtime meal. The olives are seductive, and nicely set up a surprisingly delectable salad of watermelon, feta and olives – who knew? The salty brine of the olives and feta zips across the sweetness of the watermelon in delightful fashion.

Claire’s main course of breast of chicken and haggis Wellington is, frankly, a disappointment. Too much pepper across soggy filo pastry, like chicken skin not properly roasted. From the middle she picks out the haggis, and we move on.

Next morning is a late breakfast featuring perfect friend eggs and then we are on our way to Kilmarnock Barassie, one of my personal favourites and often referred to simply at Barassie, perhaps to avoid confusion with the fact that it is located on the outskirts of Troon – not Kilmarnock.

Originally established in 1887, the club moved to its current location in the 1890s and at the moment is among Ayrshire’s top 10 courses as ranked by Trip Advisor. As we arrive the car park is filled with members chatting about the fantastic course conditions, and club pro Gregor Howie is equally affable.

The weather is slightly overcast but warm, dry and calm, with the sun breaking through from time to time. In other words, pretty much perfect golfing conditions along Scotland’s west coast.

We get to the first hole and Claire, who has never played at Barassie, is a bit nervous about teeing up in front of the passing audience moving in and out of the clubhouse. We both avoid the guff and go down the left-hand side of the fairway in acceptable fashion. Some 350 yards later, Claire finishes off with perfect style points by holing a 30-foot chip from off the green.

Strolling down the fairway is like walking on rather plush carpet, which is a bonus as Barassie comes in at a fairly chunky 6,460 yards off the yellow tees, or a slightly more modest 6,042 yards from the reds. It’s a long but enjoyable haul, only complicated by the fact that the Garmin keeps insisting we are playing the adjacent Dundonald Links, host to this year’s Women’s Scottish Open, and is therefore continuously pointing us in the wrong direction.

We finish in exactly four hours, with Claire once again showing off in front of the clubhouse by parring the 18th. There’s just enough time to fit in a session at Si! Spa at the Gailes Hotel before tonight’s dinner.

There should be a law mandating a foot massage after every round of golf. Following that, a mini-facial and a scalp massage from Kim, I have melted into a state of bliss. There’s a quick trip to the outdoor hydro pool and indoor vitality pool, facilitated by a couple of Peardrop Martinis, and once again it’s time for dinner.

At nearly two inches thick and cooked to medium-rare perfection, a knife is barely required for the fillet steaks that we have both ordered. There is nothing to fault, and all is forgiven for last night’s Wellington disaster.

As is its wont in this part of the world, the weather the next morning has taken a dramatic turn. Showers are passing through in rapid succession, and are forecast to grow increasingly heavy as the day progresses.

It’s less then a 10 minute drive to Western Gailes, a famously fierce course of rolling links, high dunes and deep pot bunkers. The strengthening wind off the Firth of Clyde and steady rainfall gives pause for thought as we prepare to go out, but the genteel undertone from staff in the clubhouse is “use it or lose it”. We don our waterproofs and soldier on.

The first four holes go OK – the rain is relatively light and the wind is at our backs. This course would clearly be a joy in less hostile conditions. We turn the corner and are now directly exposed to the coastline, the wind squarely in our faces and the rain as predicted getting heavier.

At the 9th tee a particularly strong gust grabs Claire’s drive and flings it back onto the green at the 8th. Soaked to the skin, we call it quits and trudge back to the changing rooms to peel away our clothing.

However, all is not lost. We show up early for dinner at the Old Loans Inn near Troon, a 20-bedroom country pub and restaurant that is also part of the SimpsInns portfolio. The main menu is identical to that at the Gailes Hotel, but from the specials board we find some new culinary handiwork in the form of pan seared salmon for myself, while Claire chooses the smoked haddock and potato risotto.

Both are comfortingly warm and soothing after the lashing at Western Gailes, as is the ambience in this village hostelry that is another ideal location for a golfing break in Ayrshire.

In terms of the golf, our trip was definitively a game of two halves. But with much else to explore on and off so many courses, we will be back for more.

Travel notes:

A round of golf at Kilmarnock Barassie: £45 per individual, or £160 for a fourball. Go to kbgc.co.uk.

A round of golf at Western Gailes: £190 per person between May and September. Go to westerngailes.com.

A standard room at The Gailes Hotel, sleeping two guests for one night, starts from £145 per night. The Golfer’s Tonic package at Si! Spa at the Gailes Hotel: £90. Go to gaileshotel.com.