Scottish Links Golf
AFSD - how to determine
the real length of a golf course
Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay...
Royal Troon, Turnberry, Prestwick...
Boat of Garten
Bonar Bridge Ardgay
Fortrose & Rosemarkie
Moray Old Course
Just east of Edinburgh
Scotland's Golf Coast
NorthBerwick, Muirfield, Gullane...
St. Andrews area
Out of the way, but worth a play
Great links golf for everyone
What others say
Northern Highlands ©
The Northern Highlands is a world apart -- a land of great beauty, the clans, the late evening
sun (in June you can play golf until 10 PM),
history as varied as the terrain, wild mountain
streams, and golf courses that will live
in your heart forever. This northern part
of Scotland is not as remote as you might
think. It's very accessible and should be
seriously considered by the independent golfer.
The Northern Highlands offer two distinct
areas for great golfing. And Inverness Airport is right between them.
Area #1 - Dornoch and vicinity ...
The Royal Burgh of Dornoch has been a traditional
base for this area for several reasons --
good lodging, a choice of eateries, convenient
location for all of the golf courses, and...
it just happens to be the home of Royal Dornoch Golf Club, that great star of the North. Brora, Golspie, and Tain are very nearby. And many other Northern
Highlands golf courses are within reach..
|The "skyline" of the quaint burgh
of Dornoch, taken from the Struie Course
at Royal Dornoch Golf Club. Note the yellow
gorse in the foreground. (How could you miss
it!) It grows profusely in the Highlands,
and blooms outrageously in May, a lovely
time to be here.
Area #2 - Moray Coast with Castle Stuart, Nairn and
other gems ...
The arrival of the spectacular Castle Stuart Golf Course has brought much attention and praise to
this area on the southern shore of the Moray
coast between Inverness, Nairn and beyond.
With the other fine links courses, plus Boat of Garten and the delightful Cairngorm mountains golf
courses, it all adds up to a great golfing
area. With some of the most spectacular scenery
in Scotland and golf courses of the first
|The 9th hole and clubhouse of the world-acclaimed
Castle Stuart Golf Course, above the mystical
waters of the Moray Firth. Photo by Fraser Cromarty.
| (For Area #2, please scroll down.)
Golf courses reviewed --
Royal Dornoch, Brora, Golspie, Tain, Bonar
Bridge Ardgay, Fortrose & Rosemarkie,
Where to Stay in Dornoch
Highfield House - Well-deserving of their 4 star rating.
Good location on main road into
Cater to golfers and will arrange
for you if you wish, as well
as prepare lunch
to take with you. A fine, well-established
B&B. Visit their website
to see all the
amenities they offer their guests. www.highfieldhouse.co.uk
Auchlea House - In a country setting about 1 mile north
of Dornoch, this very nice 4
is well-priced and will also
if you reserve in advance. As
in all lodging
listed here, every bedroom is
Fourpenny Cottage - Delightful lodging, a bit farther from
town but very close to Skibo
Madonna and Guy Ritchie were
area, first-rate accommodations,
They also do self-catering.http://homepages.tesco.net/~fourpenny/index.html
2 Quail Hotel -- an upscale 5 star establishment in the
town centre. Elegant rooms and
match. For a special event.. www.2quail.com
Amalfi B&B -- The only way you could stay closer to
Royal Dornoch Struie Golf Course
is by erecting
a tent on the 1st fairway. This
lodging offers 2 spacious bedrooms,
ensuite. Visit their website, and be sure to see
"The Dogs' Page." (Their
Bruce and Jodie, will win your
Amalfi has been in business for
and hosts/managers Marelle and
a warm, friendly atmosphere to
Royal Golf Hotel Dornoch -- The Royal Golf Hotel makeover is now
complete with new contemporary bathrooms
in every bedrroom. This legendary hotel sits
overlooking the clubhouse and 1st tee. Very
popular. And be sure to click on "packages,
etc" to take advantage of their excellent
deals for Royal Dornoch/Castle Stuart golf
Self-Catering ... NOTE: for stays of a week or more, Richard
and I like to "self-cater" whenever
we can because you can cook your own meals
if you wish, come and go as you please, and
have it all to yourself like your own house.
Here are three self-catering places we recommend..
Fourpenny Cottage -- see above
#4 Dornoch Square East -- fine self-catering townhouse just 3-minute walk to Royal Dornoch's 1st tee ! Just off "The Square" in the town
centre, tucked behind the police station.
Constructed on 3 levels, all very attractive
and well-equipped and furnished. Three bedrooms,
each with its own bathroom (definitely rare!).
Accommodates 4-5 people, has private parking,
and is well-priced. For info call David Tepper in U.S. 415-956-5593.
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Fairways Dornoch --www.fairwaysdornoch.co.uk self-catering apartment almost across the
street from Royal Dornoch golf course fairways
in a peaceful cul-de-sac. Ideal for a couple,
this bright and cheerful apartment has its
own private garden, easy parking, and moderate
Greenkeepers Cottage -- owned by the Royal Dornoch Golf Club, situated just 100 yards from the world
famous Royal Dornoch's 1st tee and just minutes
walk from the shops, bars, restaurants and
the award winning beach. Sitting directly on the edge of the 18th
tee/green of RDGC's Struie Course & just
100 yds from the Club House, this lovely
cottage sleeps 6, and has been given the
highest in design, comfort, elegance
excellent pricing. We are very
For more details and/or booking, please click here.
When You Are Hungry in Dornoch
|Dornoch town square with the Sutherland House
restaurant on the right.
You will discover several eateries right
in the centre of Dornoch.
Royal Dornoch Golf Course Clubhouse restaurant is available to you if you've
played one of their courses. Renowned local
chef Michael Carr creates good food, and
the view over the golf course is a feast
for the eyes.
Luigi's on Castle Street is popular for a reason.
Dornoch Castle Hotel has a garden restaurant, nice for lunch.
Mansfield House Hotel has a good bar menu, which means less expensive
Sutherland House - Wonderful authentic Scottish dining with
warm service. Everything cooked to order.
The home-made desserts are exceptional--world's
best StickyToffee Pudding!!! Fine food at
fair prices. Bar food menu during the day.
For evening meals, best to call ahead for
What to Do around Dornoch
Dornoch has a wonderful aura of the past
about it. Definitely a walking village, you
can cover most of it in a short time. Stroll
easily, as almost every building offers something
of interest. If your travel companion is
playing Royal Dornoch, leave the car at the
golf course and walk down the street to the
corner, where you turn right. In another
100 yards you'll be in the town centre. Turn
left and begin your walk along the main street
and the small streets running off it.
The town is dominated by the Cathedral, which
you are free to enter. Founded in 1224, it
now receives many visitors from the outside
world since Madonna and Guy Richie held their
son's christening ceremony here. But this
is a hardy, ancient land...and it remains
unchanged. And that's the beauty, the joy
and peace of being in this timeless place.
|The cathedral is visible from almost anywhere
Once you've investigated the cathedral, meander
around, savouring the local scene. You can
browse freely in any of the shops, where
you'll see items you may have never seen
before and meet people who are friendly and
Donald Ross, the great Scottish golf architect, grew
up in Dornoch. Tthe little street off the
high (main) street in the village centre
has a plaque on his house. He "cut his
teeth" on the Royal Dornoch course,
and later went on to design several hundred
(!) golf courses in the U.S., most of which
contain some reminder of Royal Dornoch.
History Links Museum -- behind the Castle Hotel. Signposts point
the way. Everything is easy to find in Dornoch,
and fun to explore by taking the Heritage Trail, which starts at the History Links Museum. But the museum itself is very rewarding.
7,000 turbulent years packed into one wee
musuem -- the treachery and violence of the
Picts and the Vikings, the feuding clans
and the shameful burning of Scotland's last
condemned witch. www.historylinks.org.uk
Saturday nights in the summer...Pipe bands and Highland dancers perform in
the town centre Saturday evenings
A special Highland treat. It's
at night in these latitudes.
In the nearby surrounding countryside --
Spectacular Dunrobin Castle, Scottish Highlands most massive residence,
overlooks the sea. Built
in 1235, it was
the baronial home of the
Dukes of Sutherland.
Fabulous gardens and marvelous
demonstrations (a "must
Dunrobin lies on the main
highway A9, just
1/2 mile north of Golspie
on the right as
you go norrth.
The Scottish Highlands have the most and
some of the best whisky distilleries in the
world. And here, at Tain, south of Dornoch
just after the A9 crosses the Firth of Dornoch,
you can visit one of the most remowned.
Other worthwhile places are listed on the
individual golf course pages.
Map showing both areas
for great golf.
Upper half features Dornoch area.
Lower half is Moray Coast area,
with Castle Stuart in airport vicinity. (See
Golf courses reviewed --
Castle Stuart, Nairn, Moray Old Course, Nairn
Dunbar, Boat of Garten, Grantown-on-Spey
From this Moray Coast area you have easy
access to Castle Stuart golf course, Nairn,
Nairn Dunbar, Moray, Boat of Garten, and
other memorable golf courses. We have revisited
the area in June of 2011, and want to recommend
this ultra-scenic part of Scotland. Prime
area for the independent golf traveler.
News of a great discovery --
After being strongly advised to "drive
along the coast road a wee bit and see the
favourite golf course of so many of us locals",
I was surprised by what I saw. Hopeman Golf
Club, wonderful to look at and delightful
to play, is over 100 years old.
Mary-Alice and I had the good fortune and
great pleasure of being shown the golf course
by the former long-time president of the
Hopeman Golf Club, Sandy More, who walked
with us and acquainted us with this lovely
and challenging golf course which is truly
a "hidden gem." Hopeman golf course
is relatively short -- 5,624 yards from the
medal tees -- which makes it the perfect
second course on a day you are playing one
of the longer courses in the Moray area.
It may be short in total yards but with a
par of 68, it has an AFSD of 173 yards. So
it plays more like a 6,100 yard course. It's
a good links with interesting holes and a
layout that is lots of fun for golfers of
all skill levels.
Easy to find located directly on the sea
(the Moray Firth) between Lossiemouth and
Burghead, Hopeman GC is a rewarding experience.
No buggies. Just an exhilerating 18 holes
of pure Scottish links golf.
Hopeman Golf Club for something special. On Lodge Rd., north of Elgin. www.hopemangc.co.uk
|Signature Hole -- the 12th, a par 3. Your jaw will drop
as you look down from above.
"The 12th hole is
one of the best par
3s I have ever played."
Paul Lawrie, Open Golf Championship winner.
Below is a photo of the same 12th green seen
from the back of it and, taken from quite
high above it. (Can you see the golfers down
Where to Stay in the Moray area
Self-catering in the heart of the Scottish
Belivat Cottage in Nairn
Comfort and serenity. In a peaceful setting with the great golf of Castle Stuart,
Nairn, and other traditional links courses just minutes away. The self-catering
is new, but the owners practice old-fashioned
Scottish hospitality. A charming cottage in 4 acres of gardens
||Mary-Alice with Margaret McConnachie (owner,on
left) at entrance to one of the best Self-Catering"we
have ever stayed in. Excellent in every way...lovely,
super clean. and up to date..
|Sandown House B&B
Deluxe B&B rooms in the main house, and
4 courtyard suites of very
The friendly owners are
into golf, and the
place itself sits right
on the edge of Nairn
championship golf course!!
Plus, it's close
to all the "must play"
in the area. Sandown House
is very popular
and very well designed.
website will give you much
Pine Ridge B&B - In the heart of beautiful Cairngorm National
A lovely B&B in Carrbridge, near Aviemore,
just 5 minutes off the A9. Shona Rankin has
created a B&B of exceptional value. See
details on our Boat of Garten page and at her own website, www.pineridgecarrbridge.com. You will not be disappointed in this comfortable
traditional Highland home and we are pleased
to recommend it to you. Perfect for a golf holiday in this scenic
|Craigerne House Hotel -- Top quality country house hotel. Small, warm
and friendly. Deluxe in
every way. If you
want excellence at moderate
prices, you need
look no further. Beautiful
in a beautiful part of
located for golf and mountain
like skiing in winter.
Many challenging golf courses of great Highland
character are within easy
travel. More details on our Boat of Garten page and of course their own website. www.craigernehotel.com
NOTE - If you use Dornoch as your base in
the Northern Highlands, the listings in Area #1 will help you.
Where to Eat?
Many golf courses have restaurants open to
visitors, which makes it easy for your schedule.
Aside from them, there are always pubs and
other places to eat in every town.
What to Do All Day?
For some excellent ideas, check out this
list from the Woodside of Belivat B&B
Want to stay longer in this beautiful area?
You may want to try some of these golf courses
www.aviemoregolf.com (Spey Valley Golf Course)
... and by all means keep Hopeman in mind www.hopemangc.co.uk