What a Championship course!
Royal Dornoch Golf Club has been around for more then 100 years (formed in 1877) with a long and unique history.
Golf and golfers have been an important part of Dornoch town for a long time and people born in Dornoch have also had impact on the game of golf around the world. Alec and Donald Ross were born in Dornoch and learned their golf on the Dornoch Links. In 1890’s they emigrated to USA and had a strong impact on golf in the USA for over 50 years, both as players and course architects. Donald Ross became one of the great course architects with an involvement in over 400 courses, incl. the creation of the famous Pinehurst no 2.
After making preparations at Dornoch before the Open at Muirfield, Ben Crenshaw was asked by the secretary of R&A how he enjoyed Dornoch. Ben replied, “Let me put it this way, I nearly did not come back”.
I certainly agree with Ben, this is a place that it’s hard to leave. It's the timeless setting that makes Royal Dornoch such a pleasing place to play golf. It's wild, isolated and, at the same time, absolutely stunning and beautiful. It’s also a very, very welcoming golf club.
There are two golf courses at Royal Dornoch, the Championship course and the Struie course.
The Championship course is a true challenge for the good golfer, but any golfer will enjoy the natural links course. It measures 6595 yards from the white tee. It’s important to put the ball in a good position off tee and avoid the numerous well placed fairway bunkers. Believe me, you don’t want to be in the bunkers!
The biggest challenge though is to stick the ball on the elevated greens that are protected by deep bunkers – not only by one or two bunkers, more like 4-5 deep bunkers. In addition to this, the greens are source shaped and you need to be so precise to make the ball stay. Forget about a high approach shot, rather use the contours and roll up the ball on the green – of course, avoiding the bunkers.
All par 3 holes are stunning and my personal favorites are the 146 yards 10th and the 171 yards 13th hole.
Hole 10 – 146 yards par 3
Tee box is right down by the sea and the sea is not out reach on the left. The elevated Green is protected by 5 deep bunkers at the front and the gorse on your entire right hand side. It’s also a 2-tier putting surface. Great golf hole and the wind will determine how you play it, but it’ll be a real challenge regardless of what wind. 5 iron in to the wind and a short put for a birdie!
Hole 13 – 171 yards par 3
A fantastic par 3 to a very small green protected by 7 (!!!!) bunkers and steep slopes to the right and left. Pray and hit…….. I did and ended up with a par.
Hole 14 – 445 yards par 4 – Foxy
Not one single bunker on this hole, but it’s by no means an easy hole. You need a good long drive off tee on the left side of fairway. The approach shot is to a plateau green that sits across the line of play. The steep rise at the front of the green varies from 5ft on the left to 10ft on the right. The right thing to do is a lay up and then putt. I did exactly this and got away with a bogey 5.
Hole 17 – 405 yards par 4
A fun challenging dogleg left hole to an elevated green behind a sand dune. It’s a blind tee shot down to a small valley, so t gives you the option to either play it short on the left hand side and be able to see the green or hit a long drive to the valley for a shorter second shot without seeing the green. To long and you’ll be in the gorse. Yes, you have a couple of deep bunkers in front of the green as well.
The course design is fantastic and very natural. Each hole is different to the others and a pure pleasure to play. This is a course that must be played by any golfer - you’ll enjoy the experience. This is a course I can play time after time and never get bored.
It makes even more fantastic when you play it with good friends. My good friends Samo Osina (Slovenia) and Bill McCabe (England) joined me at Royal Dornoch. Serious competitive golf, but we had great fun and certainly enjoyed this fantastic day of golf – welcoming golf club, great golf course, sun and a “slight” breeze. Can’t get better then this.
The scorecard has unfortunately gone missing, so let’s call it a triple tie.
My personal scorecard is though not missing. Hitting the ball good off tee, but were struggling a little around the greens. Two birdies on two par 3’s – 2nd and 10th. 42 shots OUT and 40 IN for a total of 82 (gross). Not fully happy, but OK.
This is a day to remember for all three of us.
GREAT THINGS ABOUT GOLF
Getting a dangerous drive right
The feeling is disbelieving elation as you see your ball bounding down the narrow strip you were aiming at is hard to match.
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Championship course