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Royal Dornoch to join in celebrations to mark bicentennial of birth of Old Tom Morris

By Contributor

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Royal Dornoch Golf Club will join other venues across the golfing world in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of renowned Scottish golfer and golf course architect Thomas Morris, known as Old Tom Morris, on Wednesday, June 16.

A four-time winner of the Open between 1861 and 1867, the feats of Old Tom will be celebrated near and far by clubs and golfers – with Royal Dornoch no exception.

Royal Dornoch Golf Club's new 7th hole, a par 4 known as 'Pier'.
Royal Dornoch Golf Club's new 7th hole, a par 4 known as 'Pier'.

Club members will play a 3-person scramble on Wednesday morning over the most original 18-hole layout of the links that is feasible.

This will include some of the current championship course and Struie course holes.

Royal Dornoch general manage Neil Hampton said: “We very much look forward to honouring Old Tom Morris, whose contribution to golf was extraordinary.

"Having embraced the game of golf from a very young age. His feats on the fairways were then matched by his course design and we at Royal Dornoch will always be grateful for his efforts.

"It is testament to the legend of Old Tom Morris that we are still celebrating his life 200 years later.”

It was in 1886 that Royal Dornoch, established as a club nine years earlier, invited the veteran champion golfer to visit Dornoch, make a survey of the links and lay out a more fully planned golf course.

Club secretary John Sutherland was the driving force behind the move, engaging Old Tom from his native St Andrews where he was ‘Keeper of the Green’, having started on a golfing path from caddie to club maker.

Back then, there were loosely nine holes at Dornoch, with no greens, no fairways and merely stretches of links land closely cropped by animals such as cattle, sheep and rabbits.

For Royal Dornoch – named ‘Scotland’s Best Golf Course’ at the 2020 World Golf Awards – the rest is history, with Old Tom’s guiding hand also having a huge influence on more than 70 courses throughout the UK and Ireland.

Among them are Royal Dornoch, Machrihanish, Muirfield, Nairn, Prestwick, St Andrews (New) and, in Northern Ireland, Royal County Down and Royal Portrush.

On Wednesday evening, Royal Dornoch members will also be entertained at the club by a talk by Todd Warnock, owner of neighbouring Links House.

Mr Warnock will discuss the different layouts of the course from its original 9-hole routing through the various 18-hole configurations, until Sutherland achieved the design Old Tom had proposed.

With travel restrictions now easing from Covid-19, Royal Dornoch have a number of exclusive added value offers to enjoy the famed links this year.

Check out the Club website for all the information, with Pro, Shop & Dine ad Luxury Links among the offers available to visiting golfers: https://royaldornoch.com/play/exclusives

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