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Golf course in Sutherland is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary

By Will Clark

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ROYAL Dornoch Golf Club is celebrating a centenary milestone.

Royal Dornoch Golf Club.
Royal Dornoch Golf Club.

Commemorative pin flags are in place on the Struie Course, which is often referred to by older local members as “The Bottom Course” or “Low Course.”

The lay-out on the Lower Links has gone through several name changes and redesigns but it remains broadly the same as “The Ladies Course” which was unveiled in June 1923.

It replaced a previous incarnation opened in 1899 by Louise Carnegie, wife of the philanthropist Andrew of Skibo Castle, which had returned to nature and pasture for animal grazing during the years of WW1.

While the Championship Course is hailed among the finest links courses in world golf, the Struie is now a challenging and enjoyable Scottish Top 50 ranked course.

Club general manager Neil Hampton observed: “The Struie - named after the hill which provides a spectacular backdrop - is a highly regarded course these days, enjoyed by members and visitors alike. The setting is magnificent.

“The greens are smaller than on the Championship Course and the fairways are tighter. The greenkeeping team takes great pride in presenting both courses in excellent condition and nowadays no visit to Royal Dornoch is complete without sampling what the Struie Course has to offer.

“It has undergone various changes down the decades, some of them imposed – such as when it was requisitioned by the RAF for two runways during the Second World War.

“It was renamed the Struie in the 1990s when renowned architect Donald Steel was invited to make changes and in 2003 five new holes designed by Robert Hiseman were introduced on the shores of the Dornoch Firth.”

The Struie came into its own last year with the R&A Women’s and Men’s Senior Amateur Championships being played over both courses.

Contemporary golfers get a flavour of the original set-up playing holes 15 and 16 in particular. The former was the 17th, while the latter was the opening hole back in 1923.

Mrs Sykes of Dornoch Castle was presented with an inscribed club to do the honours.

The history books record eight ladies and 22 gentlemen took part in the opening day competition, which was rounded off by “a sumptuous tea” in the clubhouse.

Miss H. McCulloch, sister of the club professional Danny, is recorded as taking the ladies’ prize after a play-off over “several holes.”

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