Golf Breaks in Scotland
There are over 500 reasons why Scotland is dubbed the Home of Golf.
Boasting more courses per head of population than any other country (578 to be precise), Scotland has some of the best links golf anywhere in the world – and the North Highlands offers a real test for golfers of all abilities.
When you book a stay at the Links Apartments and Links Villas, you'll enjoy much more than luxury self-catering accommodation, as Brora and the surrounding area has a variety of picturesque golf courses deigned to challenge even the most gifted golfer.
With seventeen golf courses within an hour or so of Brora, the Links Apartments and Links View Villas make an ideal base to bring the family or friends for a golfing holiday. Here's what to expect ...
Brora Golf Course
Established in 1891 and redesigned by James Braid in 1923, Brora Golf Club is a timeless course and offers a fair and challenging test of real links golf amidst beautiful scenery.
With an easy opening hole, the short holes facing each cardinal point of the compass, a hole you can't reach in two, and the 18th fairway beneath your window and a green under the window of the clubhouse, Brora is a classic Scottish seaside links course.
The greens are renowned for their texture and you'll have to adapt and manufacture shots depending on which how the wind is blowing and whether the course is running fast or slow, making sure you use every club in the bag over the 18 holes.
Pleasingly, for the occasionally wayward golfer, the rough is negligible in order to facilitate play, so you ought to return home with all the golf balls you brought! Overall, the golf course is a holiday treat, the clubhouse modern and comfortable, and the catering excellent.
But perhaps the most overriding feature is the warm, friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
Royal Dornoch Golf Course
The Royal Dornoch Golf Club and Course, with its spectacular panoramic views of the Dornoch Firth and the Sutherland hills, is just a 20-minute drive from the Links Apartments and Villas.
Formed in 1877, Dornoch has now been a Royal club for over 100 years and there is evidence that golf was first played here 400 years ago! A Royal title means exceptional standards, and would always aim to exceed the expectations of frequent visitors and loyal members.
Old Tom Morris originally laid the course out in 1891 and John Sutherland – Dornoch's club secretary from 1882 through to 1935 – made subsequent changes. After the Second World War, George Duncan, who designed five new holes, considerably altered holes seven through to 11.
The opening hole at Royal Dornoch, a simple par 4, is no indication of the joy – and trouble – to come. It's not until you walk over the headlands to the third tee that you get a sense of this striking golf course.
Wondrous swards of fairway and green, with clusters of players dotting the beachfront, unfold a mile in each direction. The embankments of the old dunes on the landward side of the course, from late April until early June, are a carpet of flaming yellow gorse.
The course is just over 6,500 yards, but this is no reflection on the degree of difficulty to be found on many holes. It's classic links, with the first eight holes following the natural slants and humps of old dune embankments, while the rest flank the sandy beaches of Dornoch Bay.
Raised or sloping greens are characteristic, as well as elevated tees, so the target is well presented although rarely easy to reach. Dornoch, perhaps more than most, is a thinking golfer's course where it's not enough to simply keep the ball on the fairway.
A position has to be sought on most holes where the green can be accessed to your advantage.
Castle Stuart Golf Links
Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness has enjoyed a growing national and international reputation since its opening in 2010. Overlooking the Moray Firth, Kessock Bridge and Chanonry Lighthouse, the championship links course commands breathtaking views and is just over an hour from the Links Apartments.
The design of the course appeals to both professionals and less-experienced golfers, offering multiple possible lines of play from the tee and incorporating clever use of mounding to encourage holes to be played in isolation.
Golspie Golf Club
Golspie golf course was established by the members on the Golspie Links in 1889, subsequently extended by Archie Simpson of Aberdeen in 1908, and modified by the celebrated James Braid in 1926.
Laid out along the scenic north shore of the Dornoch Firth, the course offers a challenging mix of seaside links, heath and parkland, set against the backdrop of Ben Bhraggie.
Golspie is an easy-walking, humps and hollows links course. Paradise and The Lochy (9th & 10th holes) are favoured by many golfers, as is the 16th, The Cairngorms, where the well-guarded,
two-tiered par 3 green, created by James Braid sits beyond a deep hollow, with trouble everywhere.
Give it a go – it's great fun round the entire course.
Tain Golf Club
Overlooking the Dornoch Firth, Tain offers arguably one of the best settings imaginable in the Highlands for a round of golf. With the sea on one side and the backdrop of the mountains behind, every day brings a different aspect to this challenging and beautiful course.
Designed in 1890 by Tom Morris, the layout of the holes guarantees an interesting round for beginners or experts. The sheltered location of the course ensures favourable weather conditions for most of the year – winter greens are seldom used at Tain.
Full facilities are accessible for visitors, including the purpose built locker room and changing area. The bar and dining area are fitted with large windows to give the best view of the course, especially
the 18th green.
Durness Golf Club
An interesting and testing course in idyllic surroundings, Durness has nine greens, but the construction of 18 tees means variety and a very different challenge over the closing holes. Despite being fairly short at 5555 yards, the course asks questions of all levels of golfer, with several strategically placed natural hazards and other cleverly man made ones.
The par 5, 6th and 15th holes are played around Loch Lanlish, although the brave, big hitters can go for the small green with their second shot, but any mishit would find a watery grave. This hole in particular was praised by Ronan Rafferty on his visit to the course.
The 9th and 18th, which are played across a deep gulley into which the Atlantic flows when the tide is in, can already claim TV fame. Peter Alliss visited in 1996 to record for the series 'Travels with Alliss' and the hole has also appeared on an American Millennium calendar.
Overall, a brilliant little course, where everyone is welcome and should enjoy stress free golf at a realistic price.
Bonar Bridge and Ardgay Golf Club
A nine-hole blend of heath and moorland, Bonar Bridge is generally considered one of the most beautiful courses in the Highlands. The narrow, tree-lined fairways require straight driving, while the small, hard-to-read greens will bamboozle even the most gifted of players.
The surrounding heather-laden terrain provides a wonderful backdrop to this easy-walking course. The par three third is the signature hole. Although not terribly hard, it has to be one of the most enjoyable par threes in the Highlands, as views down to Loch Migdale, with the hills in the background, are unforgettable.
Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club
Course architect James Braid's remarkable achievement in designing 18 challenging holes within the narrow Chanonry peninsula is instantly obvious and admired by first-time visitors.
What Fortrose and Rosemarkie may lack in yardage is more than offset by the quality of its relatively small greens and strategically placed bunkers. Challenges, which are multiplied in the mind of the player by the immediate close proximity of a vast lateral water hazard (the Moray Firth!) bordering the left hand side of the first eight holes. Thereafter, only dense islands of gorse lie in wait for the remainder of the round.
It is an easy walking course and is generally in superb condition with plenty of space. Visitors are welcome to use the practice ground where tokens for dispensing a basket of practice balls can be purchased from the pro. shop or clubhouse bar. Breath-taking scenery and a dolphin colony in the adjacent firth are additional attractions for discerning golfers from far and wide, who make a visit to Fortrose and Rosemarkie a must on their golfing calendar.
If you'd like to talk to a member of the team about booking your next golf break in the Highlands of Scotland, please Contact us us today – we'd be delighted to help.