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What others say
Brora Golf Club©
When you drive into the parking lot of Brora
Golf Club and see the simple clubhouse, you
may be tempted to make a U turn and leave.
But get out of the car, take a good look
at the finishing hole, then walk over to
the first and take a gander at that beauty. If you don't feel your pulse rate
increase, better sell your golf clubs and
take up tennis because links golf in Scotland
doesn't get any better than this. Perhaps
you've never heard of Brora, yet it's been
a favourite of golfers for years, especially
among golfers traveling independently.
|Brora has one of the most enticing finishing
holes and one of the most challenging. An
uphill190 yard par 3, you must make it to
the green or your ball will roll quite a
distance down the hill into a deep collection
area. It's an extremely tough up-and-down
|The fun starts with a shortish par 4 with
a gentle dogleg toward the sea. This veiw
from the first tee doesn't really reveal
the deceptive difficulty of this great golf
|Looking back from the first tee. This kind
of scenery surrounds you throughout the round.
For several years I have admired the writing
of Malcolm Campbell, former editor of Golf Monthly and author of The Encyclopedia of Golf and True Links. He served for many years on the Golf Magazine committee charged with making the annual
selection of the World's Top 100 Golf
I asked Malcolm which of the thousands of
golf courses he has played was his favorite.
He didn't have to think long before saying
with a smile that Brora had a special place
in his heart. He considers it one of the
finest examples of links golf in the world.
The famed Peter Thompson calls Brora, "The purest links golf course in the
James Braid, one of Scotland's (and
finest golf architects, designed Brora.
also designed Carnoustie, the Gleneagles
King's and Queen's courses, and a host
other equally famous courses. Brora
headquarters of The James Braid Golfing
Brora is one of those "sneaky good"
golf courses. When you play Brora, the excellence
of the golf course creeps up on you. After
all, it's only 5,951 yards from the visitor's
tees. How hard could it be? Plenty, that's
how hard it can be! Consider this: There
are onlyt two par 5s, so long-hitters have
only two legitimate opportunity for an eagle--they
can forget about having the usual four par
5s per round to feast on. And at a par of
70, the average fairway shot distance (AFSD) is a respectable 175 yards. Wait...there's
more. Of the thirteen par fours, 4 of them
are from 425 yards to 447 yards. Throw in
the usual gusting winds off Kintradwell Bay--a
small bay leading into the North Sea--and
you have a real challenge. You could be clubbing up or down
as much as 4 clubs when the wind is in your
face or on your back. Lots of luck judging
Brora is a classic Scottish seaside links
Brora is a classic out-and-back layout, beginning with a relatively
easy opening hole--just to warm you up and
welcome you. Almost every hole from 1 thru
9 goes out in a northeast direction with
the sea constantly on your right. (Slicers,
beware!) The back nine return in a southwesterly
direction, finishing with a wonderful190
yard par 3 that plays uphill and has a bunkered
green to contend with and a devilishly deep
collecting area to the left of the green
just to keep you honest. If you're having a good round up until then,
this hole can be a heartbreaker. If the wind
is in your face and you don't think you can
get there in one, do consider laying up.
"Lay up on a par 3?" Yes, yes,
|The view from the 6th tee affords the golfer
a splendid view..
Ronan Rafferty, a member of Brora and also
the James Braid Golfing Society summed
this golf course treasure as follows:
"James Braid had the vision to create
something of great beauty--a traditional
links course. That tradition is still alive and
well and growing in stature at Brora.
is unveiled a links where little has changed
since his visit in 1923. The hummocks
hollows are especially breathtaking
sun sets. For the connoisseur, Brora
worth the journey."
Thanks to the sheep and the cows
One bonus in playing Brora is the forgiving
rough. You can thank the cows and sheep that
populate the links for that. They manage
to keep it under control and will continue
to do so because of ancient grazing rights
that continue to this day. Because they roam
freely, each green is wired to keep them
off. The wire stands about knee high and
delivers a gentle jolt to the touch but it's
easy to step over, however, and does not
interfere with play. What happens if your
ball rolls into one of the "cow patties?"
It's considered "casual water"
and you get a free drop--after cleaning it,
of course. (Then again, you may want to leave
your ball where it is and drop a new one.)
Like Rodney Dangerfield, Brora Golf Club
"don't get no respect!" If this
golf course were located in the United States
there would be hoards of golfers crowding
it daily and the green fees would be in the
several hundreds of dollars. However, its
location in the Northern Highlands assures
a more intimate round of golf with golfing
aficionados who have made a pilgrimage to
this isolated area to sample one of James
Braid's great masterpieces. For challenge
and just plain fun, Brora is the equal of
any golf course I've played. And the greens
fees are very moderate. I urge you to make
the trip to this out-of-the-way area of the
Highlands and experience it for yourself.
|Be thankful for the cows. They help to keep
the rough short. And any "mess"
them make is considered "casual water".
||The electric wire around the green does not
interfere with play.
Golf Nook Rating = an enthusiastic EAGLE
Mary-Alice suggests ...
Brora is a small northern highlands town
on the North Sea, with one main street you
can walk in a few minutes. But take your
time, and also meander down the side streets--they
almost all lead down to the sea. It will
give you a sense of what life is like up
What to Do All Day in Brora
To begin your day in Brora, leave the
in the golf course carpark and walk
blocks into town.
The ornate clock tower--Brora's major landmark--is at the bend
in the road (the A9) north end of the town
centre, just before you turn for the golf
course. The tower is a war memorial for those
lost in all wars from World War I to the
present. The clock, a good site to fix your
bearings on, chimes every quarter hour.
You'll find a good Co-Op supermarket where you can pick up sandwiches
if you wish to eat lunch in a park, plus
a few eateries and, oh, yes...public toilets
are here (as well as in Golspie and every
other town) and are clearly signposted.
Cunningham's - by the clock tower. Newsagent with alll
sorts of stuff, especially books & info
on the area.
Some Brora scenes
"Timespan" -- 11 miles north of Brora in Helmsdale.
Check out their website to see if this interests
you. www.timespan.org.uk. If it does, in addition to the quite dramatic
attraction, you'll enjoy the garden by the
river, the excellent shop with original arts
and crafts and gifts, etc. and the riverside
cafe' with home-baked, fresh dishes made
from local ingredients. Just off the A9,
to the west.
Where To Eat in Brora
Capaldi's Ice Cream Shop - south end of town on the high street (A9).
Traditionally made, old-fashioned ice cream.
Bridge Restaurant - Directly across the street from the clock