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Prince Andrew 'no longer' honorary member of Royal Dornoch Golf Club

By Mike Merritt

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It is considered one of the game's greatest honours.

But a top Royal golf course loved by some of the sport's top players has parted company with Prince Andrew.

The Duke of York was just one of four living honorary members of Royal Dornoch Golf Club.

In fact the accolade has only ever been handed out eight times - including to open champions Tom Watson and Paul Lawrie and double US Masters winner Ben Crenshaw.

Prince Andrew. Picture: Gary Anthony
Prince Andrew. Picture: Gary Anthony

However, following the scandal surrounding the golf-mad duke after he reached an out-of-court settlement with Virginia Giuffre in a US civil court case, his name on the list of honorary members will be removed.

Other honorary members have included the late "voice of golf'" Peter Alliss.

The club received its Royal title in 1906 from King Edward VII - thanks to the influence of the then Duchess of Sutherland.

Now Andrew, who signed the visitor's book in 1993, has been declared out of bounds.

The club refused to comment on the move, but in a membership update, it confirmed that Andrew is "no longer" an honorary member.

It also follows Andrew's resignation as president of Inverness Golf Club - where he officially opened the clubhouse in 1998 - and his membership of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

There are also moves to strip the prince of his Earl of Inverness title, which he has held since 1986 following his marriage to Sarah Ferguson.

While Royal Dornoch Golf Club would make no comment, one member said: "It is a welcome and necessary move given that certain standards of behaviour are expected of members."

The prince's court settlement also saw Andrew pledge to "demonstrate his regret" for his association with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein" by supporting the "fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims".

But the agreement - said to total up to £12m - is not an admission of wrongdoing by Andrew, who has been stripped of his military titles Royal patronages by The Queen.

Andrew has always denied the allegations made against him.

Royal Dornoch has never been more popular. It has been booked out for the year by "unprecedented" post pandemic "pent-up" demand from players all over the world wanting to experience a course that regularly features among the world’s top ten courses.

It has revealed that more than 13,000 reservations have been accepted already this year by the links course.

Last year the club awarded former Open Champion Paul Lawrie an honorary membership in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the sport.

The Scot, who has enjoyed an illustrious career on and off the course, has a strong affinity with the renowned links course.

Lawrie has played in tournaments at Royal Dornoch going back to his days as an assistant professional, before going on to help celebrate ‘400 years of Golf’ in Dornoch in 2016 when he played with the club’s junior golfers.

Royal Dornoch was crowned Scotland's best golf course 2020 at the World Golf Awards.

Previously the course was named number one in the world by leading online golf reservation service, "golfscape".

The course topped the list of the World’s Top 100 Golf Courses 2020, compiled by an extensive panel of industry leaders.

Tom Watson headed North in 1981, the year after winning the third of five Open Championships at Muirfield. He arrived to play 18 holes, but had three rounds and 'the most fun I've ever had on a golf course'.

Watson returned before the 1996 Open at Lytham and his view of the course had not changed.

The club and course were established in 1877 and in 1886 champion golfer and legendary course designer Old Tom Morris was invited to come up with a fully planned golf course.

Before World War I, the course was popular with high-profile men and women golfers, including Ernest Holderness and Joyce Wethered, who became the first honorary member.

An aerodrome was built on part of the ladies' 18-hole course during World War II, but the club was later able to construct new holes.

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