|I am a
proud member of Royal Dornoch Golf
Club in Scotland
Royal Dornoch is one of the original locations of golf in Scotland. The first three golf
links in Scotland of which there is written record are: 1552, St Andrews; 1593, Leith; 1616,
Dornoch. It was in 1877 that the Dornoch Golf Club was founded as the successor of the
Sutherland Golfing Society whose members played at Dornoch and Golspie. The course was
then only 9 holes long. The annual subscription to the club was 2/6 and the annual income
was £3 18s 6d. But changes were in store. The great Tom Morris came up from St Andrews and
laid out 9 proper golf holes. Three years later another 9 holes were added and the fame
of the Dornoch course started to spread, even across the Atlantic to America.
Donald Ross learnt his golf on the links and as professional greens keeper also made his
contribution before being lured to America by the opportunities to be found there. Ross from
his experience of Dornoch links always worked in sympathy with the landscape. "Give me
slightly rolling terrain and sandy soil and I'll give you the best courses. His philosophy
was: "On account of the rolling character of the fairways the player will be confronted with
varying distances demanding perfect control of the strokes to get satisfactory results".
Dornoch today continues to honour that philosophy. It asks that golfers create shots, play
by feel and instinct, and let go of charts and mechanical thinking. The Championship Course
rated 5th in the world outside the USA, can be enjoyed by the average player, but offers
repeated and fresh challenge to the expert.
Dornoch is far from the main centres of population and so has never been host to the most
widely advertised national championships. Nevertheless it has hosted through the years
the Northern Open; the Scottish Ladies; and the Scottish Professional Championships.
Improved transport systems have helped international golfers and a stream of personalities
visit the Club and their praise is unstinting. Tom Watson headed North in 1981, the year
after winning the third of five Open Championships at Muirfield. He arrived to play 18 holes,
but had three rounds and 'the most fun I've ever had on a golf course'.
They say that the hardest shot in golf is the second to the second (a par three) at Dornoch
and I don't doubt it. Our most famous hole is the 14th - Foxy - the only hole without a bunker.
My favorite is the 4th - Achinchanter and the 9th - Craiglaith.