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Golspie Golf Club


James Braid, the designer of such gems as Gleneagles, Carnoustie, Nairn, Brora and Boat of Garten, must have had a challenging time designing Golspie. The terrain on which it's built romps from links to heathland then jumps to wooded parkland. It's a testament to his vivid imagination and design skills that he could rise to the challenge and create eighteen holes that intertwine the topography so seamlessly. This is one golf course few, if any, golf tour operators visit. That's the advantage of independent golf travel--you can pick and choose among the lesser known but nevertheless terrific golf courses such as Golspie.

Golspie is fun! That's about as succinct as I can get but, of course, you want to read more so here goes.

it's kept in great shape. Consider this: One of Scottish golf's most prestigious accolades awarded by the Golf Tourism Scotland was given to Alexander Macdonald, the head greenkeeper at Golspie Golf Club at their annual awards dinner in 2009. In giving the award Ian McCaig of the Scottish Golf Classics commented, "We host the Highland Golf Classic on an annual basis featuring Royal Dornoch, Tain, Brora and Golspie courses. Every year we come north we are always conscious of the players' comments and their views of playing golf in such a unique area. Golspie is the least known of the four courses on the rota but never fails to surprise the visitors with its charm and quality. This year the effect was even more noticeable with comments on the quality of the course..."


Like so many golf courses in this area, it all begins innocently enough with an unexceptional looking par 4. At 385 yards from the visitor's tees it seems to offers no problem. But this hole, and the next five holes, are typical of the Scottish links golf holes, and on this first hole your second shot must negotiate a deep depression and a series of moguls to a smallish green. The next five or so holes on the outward links layout tiptoe along the shore obediently following the outlines that nature decreed hundreds of thousands of years ago. There are deep depressions, huge gullies, ripples and bumps, and all patterns natural that you'll be hitting or rolling your ball over. The beginning links golf holes are a wonderful, wonderful treat.

Golfspie in the Northern Highlands

How fortunate for golfers traveling independently because you get to play a course like Golspie and at such moderate fees.

Golfspie golf club in northern Scotland

By now your blood is up and you're thick into the challenge. But then the curtain goes down on the first act and the second act begins as you gently transition from classic links golf to the more heathlands part of the golf course, with fabulous number 9 called Paradise, to negotiate. This is one of Braid's gems swirling its way through the heathland in a gentle dogleg left with deep rough on either side and two bunkers hungrily anticipating your approach.

Golspie is a great Scottish golf bargain
At 217 yards, the 17th is a long par 3 that offers little bail out area. Don't let this hole spoil a good round because the last hole offers no respite.

The final act is through the more parkland terrain of this unconventional golf course ending with a difficult 435 yard par 4 that has dramatic changes in elevation on the fairway with a deep gully in front of the green.

Golspie golf course is definitely woth a play
The terrain changes yet again. This time into the more parkland aspect.

You'll be hard-pressed to play a more unusual golf course than Golspie. I was with two friends and we were unanimous in our praise of this jewel. I feel sure you'll agree.It was my first round on Golspie and it quickly shot up to one of my must re-plays. Now I play it every time I'm in the area. From the time you arrive to check in with friendly Jeanette Cummings to the time you leave after having had a a pint or two and some well-prepared food in the unassuming clubhouse, you'll be treated to golf as it should be played and has been played in these parts since the genius, James Braid, put pencil to paper to create it 100 years ago.

Play Golspie. You'll enjoy it a great deal.

Golspie -- "unanimous praise for this jewel" -
11 miles north of Dornoch. Turn right on Ferry Road off the A9. The golf club is at the seafront
.


Golf Nook Scotland Rating - BIRDIE

www.golspie-golf-club.co.uk
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Mary-Alice suggests ...
What to do all day in Golspie

The Mannie - Dominating the Golspie skyline is the monument to the First Duke of Sutherland, who owned most of the northern highlands. The monument, affectionately known to the locals as "the Mannie," has a disclaimer from the town of Golspie--"This affection should never be confused with any approval or tolerance of the deeds associated with the man and his estate managers." The 1st Duke was despised because of his inhumane eviction of thousands of people from their homes to achieve "land improvements." Among other atrocities, he depopulated the glens and straths of Sutherland to make sheep pastures. This has been called "the clearances."

Today Golspie has a good relationship with the Sutherland family and the Sutherland Estates. You can visit Dunrobin Castle, the seat of the Sutherland Dukes and still occupied by the famiy. (A definite "must see.")

Some Golspie street scenes
Golspie Post Office and etc. Golspie YMCA Golspie Post Office

You'll start your day at the Golspie Golf Club, so pick up a free copy of "Golspie Walks" at the pro shop. Then drive back up Ferry Road to the A9, and turn right. You'll be on the high street (main street) of Golspie. Or you can walk here.

Many convenient free carparks in the village, and free parking along the streets. Also clean public toilets.

Some interesting places in the town centre, such as Mitchells Chemist (on left).


Strolling along the High Street (the A9)

East side of the street -

.. Shore Street Car Park - at the south end of the village, has a nice small park with picnic tables overlooking the sea.

... Mitchells Chemist - a pharmacy, but they have EVERYTHING. Wander in and see for yourself.

... Lindsay & Co. Hardware Store - at the north end of the village, even has health foods. A tourist attraction without being called one.

.. Post Office - also at the northern end of the village, sells original craft items as well as postal services.

West side of the street--

... Golspie CO-OP - small but full-service supermarket, sells "Cuisine de France" breads and pastries from France (as do most CO-OP markets in the UK). Also has pre-packaged sandwiches.

... Orcadian Stone Company - where you'll be amazed by the geological exhibits at this operating stoneworks. At the northern end of the village. See rocks and fossils millions of years old. Marvel at the range of colours of their display of rocks and gems. They also have a shop which sells jewelry, etc. www.orcadianstone.co.uk

Walks --

Seafront - any little alley or land from the east side of the high street will bring you at once to the seafront. Good walking along the sea.

Big Burn Walk - a 35-minute circular walk which includes a scenic waterfall (20 minutes to the falls). A "burn" is a stream, by the way. May and June are spectacular with flowers. Start the walk at the old bridge ("Little Bridge") at the north end of the village. In the past, this bridge was the rallying point for the Clan Sutherland. The Big Burn Walk is considered one of the 10 best walks in Britain, in possibly the finest and most beautiful small glen in Sutherland.

Several other good walks exist in and around Golspie. Consult your "Golspie Walks" booklet for these. Golspie has the best network of short walks on the east coast of Scotland.


Golspie is a small town with good possibilities for a memorable day. I hope you don't miss out on visiting these delightful little towns while you are in Scotland. www.golspie.org.uk


More suggestions for the area are at Northern Highlands