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Golf: Scotland – Some Thoughts On "Must Visit" Golf Courses

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Contributor:
Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“Conducted by national tourism agency VisitScotland, the survey also found the famous “road hole” 17th at St Andrews was the best par four hole.” That’s from Brian Ferguson at The Scotsman reporting on, “a poll of around 3000 players.”

The Battery a no-brainer
Brian writes, “The Battery at Machrihanish was named the best opening hole in the poll,” and  one Brian's commentators reminded the readers that it’s also the world’s best. And there’s a sign on the first tee acknowledging the fact.

And again for famous holes, Brian writes, “the survey also found the famous “road hole” 17th at St Andrews was the best par four hole.”
As to, “the 18th at the Old Course was also voted the best closing hole with almost a quarter of the votes cast,” I will only write that the other three-quarters got it right. There are many holes better suited to that title, “Including (the) narrowly pipped Moray Golf Club and Carnoustie to the post for best closing hole.”

Lesser-known?
Brian writes, “However the survey also highlighted lesser-known courses, such as Cruden Bay Golf Club, in Aberdeenshire, which was said to boast the best view in the country, from the ninth,” and I’m inclined to think Brian is merely reporting the poll's data and not his agreement that it is lesser-known.

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.”

Scotland’s great unknown
Dave Scott concisely comments at Brian’s article, “Shiskine - Crows Nest”.
And I am thinking that less than the three-quarters of the “around 3000 players” who participated in the survey would have a clue about Shiskine or “Crow’s Nest” which has to be among the finest “hidden shot” par-3 holes in the world. Even better than Prestwick’s famous “Himalayas”

Larry Olmsted writes, “Shiskine, an old and off the beaten track Scottish seaside layout, may be the only 12 hole course in the world. Even if there are others, I am 100% sure Shiskine  is the best. In fact, it is the only 12 hole course consistently ranked in the Top 100 Courses of the British Isles – and the only course with any total other than 18 to earn this honor.”
Please note that the comments are dated November 2009, and Shiskine is no longer among the top 100 however it’s the kind of place  which captures the feel of golf course design as it was in the old days.

Link to Brian Ferguson and Alan Shipnuck and  Larry Olmsted

Quote of the Day
“We had breakfast at the Trump clubhouse. It was not a success. Tom is still grumbling about having paid the equivalent of six dollars for a cup of coffee. Our $12 selection of breads came with three bite-sized pastries and a few pieces of dry toast. Kevin counted exactly 11 pieces of granola in his parfait. Somehow this meal crystallized our feelings about the golf course. “This place has no soul,” said Kevin.”
– From “No Country For Auld Men: To mark his 40th birthday, Alan Shipnuck set out on a 10-rounds-in-six-days blitz of Scotland”

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