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Golf: Scotland’s Cool List

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Contributor:
Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland
“Old Tom Morris, pioneer of golf, or “gowf” as he would put it, said of Scotland, “The Almichty Maun hae had gowf in his e’e when he made this place.”
This country was made for golf and has some of the coolest courses on the planet.
From hidden gems ranging through the machair to the great destination championship courses, we list 20 every golfer should put on their bucket list.” That’s from Glasgow’s The Herald with the headline, “The Cool List: 20 Scottish golf courses every fan must play”.
 
Machrihanish Dunes a must
I shall refrain from commenting on courses e.g. the Old Course which are on every one’s bucket list and likewise Turnberry’s Ailsa course; Green fees: £375 for non-hotel resident, and focus on some of the lesser-known courses starting with Machrihanish Dunes.
“Machrihanish Dunes is the new kid on the sands, opened in 2009 on a stretch of coast that has hosted the nearby Machrihanish course since 1879.
Its designer David McLay Kidd described it as a returning of golf to how it should be played: “No longer is it a gentle walk in a garden, it will be a full-fledged mountaineering expedition.” 
 
As for its very close neighbour at Machrihanish it’s said that it’s actually here where Old Tom first uttered, “The Almichty Maun hae had gowf in his e’e when he made this place,” upon viewing his task in hand to develop the course.
 
A Royal co** up
I can’t believe it there’s no mention of Royal Dornoch.
Castle Stuart which is just down the road is chosen as is Dornoch’s nearby Brora.
 
“The cult of Brora is one that keeps growing.
There’s a wild, authentic feel to the course, one of Scotland’s most northerly mainland golfing destinations.
Herds of cows frequently stray across the green. Dunes undulate. Sea spray mists the ninth, which is also called the Sea Hole.
Built in 1924 by James Braid, it’s one of the “Magnificent Seven” of golf clubs that form the designer’s Highland Golf Trail.” 
 
Not by the way; the late Peter Thomson 5-time Open Champion described Brora as,"The best traditional links course in the world." 
 
Not sure if it’s true
Historic King's Cave is one of several locations in which Robert the Bruce is said to have had his famed encounter with a spider but note that there’s some doubt but there’s no doubting that nearby Shiskine Golf Club is one of the coolest courses if for no other reason you can say you played the most famous 12-hole golf course in the world.
 
The Herald informs us, “It says a lot about the nature of wild Shiskine that many of its holes are blind.
Located on the Isle Of Arran, looking out over the Mull of Kintyre and the Kilbrannan Sound, it’s unconventional in its ways and idiosyncratic in its features. 
Top 100 Golf Courses have described this course as “a shrine to the way golf used to be played” and noted that the course owes “only the barest influence to the hand of man.”
 
Machrie and malts
What can I say in my defence, I chose to play the Machrie Open instead of going to a whisky fair to  buy some bargain price Port Ellen malt and my malt whisky investor friend has never let me forget my alleged stupidity.
 
From The Herald, “It looked a while back as if Machrie on Islay had had its day as a golfing destination.
What had once been the go-to spot during the Blair years for politicos wishing to escape, whilst staying in the nearby dilapidated hotel, went into administration in 2010.
It was saved by ex-BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies and his wife Sue Nye, Gordon Brown’s former diary secretary.
Now redeveloped this spot – spreading out over the dunes of Islay – is a golfer’s dream.”
 
There’s some debate on whether or not the course improvements are for the better or the worse but not to worry, if the course improvements are not to your liking, you’ll like Islay and its malt whiskies.
 
Cruden Bay THE coolest
The following is from my blog post 26 April, 2017 
 
“Since I'm frequently criticised as beeing considerably less than objective in cases like Cruden Bay, I’ll leave it to the American golf journalist Alan Shipnuck who writes in, “No Country For Auld Men: To mark his 40th birthday, Alan Shipnuck set out on a 10-rounds-in-six-days blitz of Scotland”
Alan writes, “I longed to return to Cruden Bay. Back in 1996, it blew my mind, and ever after I pined for Cruden as the idealized essence of Scottish golf.”
 
The Herald informs us, “The stunning vista at the 9th hole, the highest point on this Championship Course, boasts views of Slains Castle ruins and has been voted the best view in Scottish golfing.”
But did not advise us that the castle is commonly cited as an inspiration for Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula.
 
“Originally an Old Tom Morris course, dating back to 1899, Cruden Bay comes with plenty of history.
Winston Churchill played golf there alongside Herbert Asquith.
In summer 1914 it was host to one of the most famous games in golfing history, an epic semi-final between Harry Vardon and Ted Ray.”  
 
Link to The Herald
 
Quote of the Day
“If heaven is as good as this, I sure hope they have some tee times left.” - Lee Trevino, upon having just played the King’s Course, Gleneagles for the very first time.
 
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