Royal Dornoch GC 6 August 2019 - course review + play by play shots

jonnymc44jonnymc44 Manchester UKMembers Posts: 154 ✭✭✭
edited Aug 9, 2019 6:35pm in UK #1

This may be the longest of shots, but I'll give it a go anyway!
My in-laws live on the west coast of the Highlands in a village called Lochcarron. I've been visiting there for the last 5 years since my wife and I got together. It's only 1h45 to drive to Royal Dornoch and I've never played it!
I've booked to play there on Tuesdsay 6 August at 10.20. If any Wrxers are around, playing on the day or want to join me please do. I'd love to join with another group as I'm a single golfer and don't really get chance to play courses like this with my golfing buddies.
If you have any stories, tips, tricks for playing, photos etc. do post below. I'd love to read/see them. Always prefer seeing photos taken by the player rather than professional photographers.

Post edited by jonnymc44 on

Comments

  • imakaveliimakaveli Moli Moli Moli Moli Tommy Tommy Tommy Tommy... Members Posts: 12,992 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Apr 23, 2019 10:08am #2

    Be sure to hit the green at #2, enjoy your round, it's an awesome course!
    I made eagle at #9, what a fun day!

  • AuldPLO Swiss GolftrotterAuldPLO Swiss Golftrotter Members Posts: 140 ✭✭✭

    @jonnymc44 said:
    If you have any stories, tips, tricks for playing, photos etc. do post below. I'd love to read/see them. Always prefer seeing photos taken by the player rather than professional photographers.

    Stunning course ! For pics, check my signature

    From the breathtaking cliffs of Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand to the idyllic coastal scenery of Mauritius, from the desolate landscapes of Wolf Creek in the US to the legend of St Andrews in Scotland, find my golfing and photographic journey through twenty one countries on all continents :

    Instagram golf gallery : @auld_plo_golftrotter
    Flikr golf gallery : http://tinyurl.com/Auldplogolftrotter (by course - newest first)
    Flikr golf gallery : http://tinyurl.com/a...plogolftrotter2 (by country)
  • jonnymc44jonnymc44 Manchester UKMembers Posts: 154 ✭✭✭

    @imakaveli said:
    Be sure to hit the green at #2, enjoy your round, it's an awesome course!
    I made eagle at #9, what a fun day!

    @AuldPLO Swiss Golftrotter said:

    @jonnymc44 said:
    If you have any stories, tips, tricks for playing, photos etc. do post below. I'd love to read/see them. Always prefer seeing photos taken by the player rather than professional photographers.

    Stunning course ! For pics, check my signature

    Thank you both! Course looks incredible. I can't stop watching videos and looking at photos.
    @AuldPLO Swiss Golftrotter your photos are brilliant. I can't believe how good the weather was for you, even on the Isle of Skye. You must have got very lucky. I've been to Scotland more times than I can count in the last few years and I've seen rain at least one of the days I've been there!

  • imakaveliimakaveli Moli Moli Moli Moli Tommy Tommy Tommy Tommy... Members Posts: 12,992 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @jonnymc44 said:

    @imakaveli said:
    Be sure to hit the green at #2, enjoy your round, it's an awesome course!
    I made eagle at #9, what a fun day!

    @AuldPLO Swiss Golftrotter said:

    @jonnymc44 said:
    If you have any stories, tips, tricks for playing, photos etc. do post below. I'd love to read/see them. Always prefer seeing photos taken by the player rather than professional photographers.

    Stunning course ! For pics, check my signature

    Thank you both! Course looks incredible. I can't stop watching videos and looking at photos.
    @AuldPLO Swiss Golftrotter your photos are brilliant. I can't believe how good the weather was for you, even on the Isle of Skye. You must have got very lucky. I've been to Scotland more times than I can count in the last few years and I've seen rain at least one of the days I've been there!

    If you have time buy the book "A Season in Dornoch", great read and even more great stories!

  • duffer987duffer987 I'm old enough to remember a time when Ignore and Feedback worked. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 9,356 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Have a great time OP and it doesn't hurt to post on here and see who is where. Funnily enough me and another WRXer have overlapping dates that will have us playing a couple rounds together at Castle Stuart and Moray-Old in a little over a month. Had it not come up on here we'd have been none the wiser.

  • Hawkeye77Hawkeye77 Countdown to The Open Championship! IowaClubWRX Posts: 18,283 ClubWRX

    Darn, I would for sure but we will be in the North Berwick area then and Ayrshire the week before - loved Royal Dornoch last year both times we played.

  • AuldPLO Swiss GolftrotterAuldPLO Swiss Golftrotter Members Posts: 140 ✭✭✭

    @jonnymc44 said:
    Thank you both! Course looks incredible. I can't stop watching videos and looking at photos.
    @AuldPLO Swiss Golftrotter your photos are brilliant. I can't believe how good the weather was for you, even on the Isle of Skye. You must have got very lucky. I've been to Scotland more times than I can count in the last few years and I've seen rain at least one of the days I've been there!

    You're right, I've been pretty lucky with the weather during most of my golfing trips in Scotland ! :-)
    But I also got caught by rain sometimes (both Trump properties actually) or fog (KIngsbarns) !

    From the breathtaking cliffs of Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand to the idyllic coastal scenery of Mauritius, from the desolate landscapes of Wolf Creek in the US to the legend of St Andrews in Scotland, find my golfing and photographic journey through twenty one countries on all continents :

    Instagram golf gallery : @auld_plo_golftrotter
    Flikr golf gallery : http://tinyurl.com/Auldplogolftrotter (by course - newest first)
    Flikr golf gallery : http://tinyurl.com/a...plogolftrotter2 (by country)
  • mikedejongmikedejong Members Posts: 635 ✭✭✭✭✭



    We played Dornoch in July of 2016. One of my most memorable rounds ever, absolutely loved it! Humble brag (please excuse me!)... I birdied the first hole. We watched several groups go off #1 and everyone was hitting drivers all over the map. A caddie that was watching behind us came up to me and asked me what my handicap was. I told him, and he said hit a 200 to 220 yard shot rather than a driver. It will be short of all the trouble and leave you a better second shot in. So I hit a little hybrid off the tee and then hit a wedge from about 100 yards to about 8 feet and made it! Great start to an awesome day. Enjoy it I still can remember every shot out there, it was amazing.

    Ping G400 Driver
    Ping G400 3 Wood
    Adams Pro Black 3 Hybrid
    Ping I200 4-9 Irons
    Ping Glide 2.0 46/50/56/60
    Scotty Cameron GOLO
  • jonnymc44jonnymc44 Manchester UKMembers Posts: 154 ✭✭✭

    Thanks, guys. Just been on holiday for a couple of weeks so just managing to properly read through your stories. Actually went to a country where there isn't a single golf course, Montenegro. Great country if you ever visit Europe, just not for golf!
    I will give the thread a bump again in a few weeks just in case any plans materialise from WRXers that may come up to visit.

  • ChancemanChanceman Members Posts: 622 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You are going to love Royal Dornoch. It is beautiful, challenging, and fun, in a great little town, with a really good pro-shop, bar and restaurant. A bit like a golfing Camelot really.

  • jonnymc44jonnymc44 Manchester UKMembers Posts: 154 ✭✭✭

    So it's only 3 days away. I keep looking at photos of the course in excitement and checking the weather reassuring myself it'll be alright. Looks to be ok for the time I'm playing. Light rain should start as I finish my round. We've had some awful weather in my home city a few hours south so really happy to see some decent weather up here.
    I tee off at 10.20 so if anybody is about look for an English guy with a beard. I'm going to set off early around 6.30am. It should take me 1hr 45 from my in laws' house near the Isle of Skye. Get some breakfast, head to hit a few balls and 10.20 will come in no time.
    I'll post a few photos and my review when I'm done.

  • tideridertiderider Members Posts: 2,188 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Bunkers ... avoid them ... greens are slow cause they have to, so be aggressive ... even tho people know they’re playing a links, many don’t hit low punch shots when they can ...

    but, again, bunkers ... avoid them ...

  • ChancemanChanceman Members Posts: 622 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Just take it all in. Here's one of the par 3s on the outward nine.

  • jonnymc44jonnymc44 Manchester UKMembers Posts: 154 ✭✭✭
    edited Aug 9, 2019 4:35pm #15

    Wow. Wow. Wow. What a course! Royal Birkdale was my favourite course until I played Royal Dornoch. I was a little apprehensive on the 1h45 drive across from the west coast to Dornoch as I drove through torrential rain only a few miles south in Tain. Thankfully I arrived to scattered clouds and little to no wind.
    I ate some breakfast in the clubhouse at the window overlooking the first tee then headed out to the nets and practice green an hour before my tee time. A few looseners and I was ready.
    Hole 1 - good opener. Not overly difficult but still a few bunkers to contend with. Hit an 18 degree iron slightly left leaving 94yds in to the back right pin. Rough snagged the club a little and came up slightly short left. 2 putt par. Greens running pretty quick.
    Hole 2 - great par 3 leaving a bitter taste. 157yd middle/front pin. Hit a great 8 iron pin high, pulled slightly left. Bunker! Took 3 to get out and 2 putts. 6, triple bogey. Not the start I wanted but heard the infamous second from Tom Watson has the second hardest shot in golf. I'd agree, and the third and fourth shots too!
    Hole 3 - pretty long par 4 with gorse down the left a few bunkers on the right at driving distance. Reeling from the second hole I hit a slight draw off the end bunker with driver to middle of the fairway. Pitching wedge from 130 leaving a 6 footer that I missed. 2 putt par.
    Hole 4 - another long par 4, another draw with the driver. Left rough leaving 144 in to the hole. Shanked a 9 iron to the middle of 12! Ended up with a 56 from 79 with backstop, finishing on the back fringe leaving a downhill putt. Little tentative with the first putt ending up short. Tap in bogey. Annoyed given the decent drive.
    Hole 5 - driveable par 4, especially with how well I was hitting it. Flailed one out right with driver. Hit a pitch a little short to the back left pin just about making your green. 3 putts for bogey. Disappointing to say the least.
    Hole 6 - 153 to pin, raised high to the right hand side. Not the place to miss, especially with a right pin. Didn't. Hit a great 8 iron 20ft left. Easy 2 putt par.
    Hole 7 - very long par 4 at nearly 480yds. Great drive down the left side to the middle/right pin. Pulled a 6 iron from 187yds just left of the green. Easy pitch across the green to 2ft for a tap in par. Glad to get off there with a 4. This was the hole that our RAF was practicing firing guns and sub-sonic typhoon flights overhead. It was a spectacle to watch over the Dornoch Firth.
    Hole 8 - split height fairway. Nice drive down to the bottom level to the right side leaving 107yds to the pin. Excellent 52 degree spinning back off the sloping green on the the left to 4ft. Furious after missing the birdie putt.
    Hole 9 - I love this hole. Rocky beach to the left, gorse on the right. Pretty generous fairway that I split with a drive. 208yds to the pin, high drawing 5 iron that hit the slope left and rolled down into the rough. Pitch up and 2 putt. Formality. Left the birdie putt agonisingly short however.
    Hole 10 - another upturned saucer green, another par 3 missed green. Struggled with the par 3s. Ended up right to a middle/right pin. Not the place to miss. Flop shot up leaving 20ft uphill in. 2 putts and a disappointing bogey.
    Hole 11 - par 4 version of the 9th. Again a slight draw into the left rough. 150 into the pin with a flier lie. PW 20ft long to front/middle pin. Another birdie putt just short. Easy 4.
    Hole 12 - dog left left to a long green. Took the Tiger line bombing a driver 330yds to middle of the fairway. 157yds to the pin. Pulled an 8 iron to the runoff left. Pitch up and a birdie putt finally made. Plenty of chances up to now but none taken.
    Hole 13 - plenty of bunkers short, left, right and long. Missed them all hitting a good 9 iron 145 to right side of the green. Long birdie attempt l, lagged nicely to the hole.
    Hole 14 - apparently the signature hole. I personally didn't see it. Flat, no bunkers, kidney shaped green, just long. Hit a flailing driver to the right rough. 170yds in on an uphill lie. 7 iron landed just short. Misjudged the pitch and hit the wrong side of the slope to the back/middle pin. 2 putts for bogey.
    Hole 15 - another driveable par 4 with just a couple of bunkers protecting the green to the left and right. I hit the left rough level with the front of the green. Pitch on using the slopes of the green and I left myself a tap in birdie. Good result.
    Hole 16 - nice uphill par 4. Large runoff left of the fairway, and gorse to the right. I missed the fairway just right with a little cut, helped right with the wind. Opened up well to the front/middle pin. Hit a poor PW from 130yds to the right side of the green. Left my first putt short but made the par putt from around 8 feet. When I say the first putt was bad, it was really bad.
    Hole 17 - what a disaster. I tried hitting a low slinger right to left to keep on the top tier but flailed a 5 iron to the bottom level to the right rough. I left myself 205yds to the pin with my feet well above the ball. 6 iron just missed the bunker short left into the rough, to the left pin. The green slopes severely left to right with a bowl in the centre. I couldn't attack the pin at all from my position. Middle of the green and 2 putt for another disappointing par.
    Hole 18 - what a great finishing hole. It's long, incredible approach to the green with ditch just in front gobbling up an short shots. I hit a 290yd drive leaving me 167yds to the pin, slightly downwind. I hit a towering 9 iron riding the wind, which stopped dead on the green. Somehow stopped short on the front to back sloping green. Far too tentative with my first putt and an abysmal 3 putt bogey to finish.
    I can't applaud this course enough. The condition, setting, history. I didn't get a caddie but my 2 American playing partners did. They were members at Bel Air Country Club and both caddies full time caddies and members at RD. I had great conversations with everybody involved.
    For anyone that hasn't been to play, go. It's worth the flight, car, train, bus journey, or however you get there.
    77 blows and it could have been better. Ball striking was so good just wish the putter was on form. I'll be back.
    My card

    Me!

    My personal favourite, 9th hole.

  • duffer987duffer987 I'm old enough to remember a time when Ignore and Feedback worked. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 9,356 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 9, 2019 5:14pm #16

    Good to hear you got away with the weather!
    It's been a pretty brutal fortnight - with seemingly not much let up in sight - for Scotland weather wise.

  • Hawkeye77Hawkeye77 Countdown to The Open Championship! IowaClubWRX Posts: 18,283 ClubWRX

    Yep, we got hailed off of North Berwick a few days ago!

  • duffer987duffer987 I'm old enough to remember a time when Ignore and Feedback worked. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 9,356 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 9, 2019 6:11pm #18

    @Hawkeye77 said:
    Yep, we got hailed off of North Berwick a few days ago!

    Ya it's been really bad. Heck they just closed the A9 Dornoch bridge to high-sided vehicles.
    It's mid August not mid Jan :-)

  • jonnymc44jonnymc44 Manchester UKMembers Posts: 154 ✭✭✭

    @duffer987 said:

    @Hawkeye77 said:
    Yep, we got hailed off of North Berwick a few days ago!

    Ya it's been really bad. Heck they just closed the A9 Dornoch bridge to high-sided vehicles.
    It's mid August not mid Jan :-)

    The whole time I was in Lochcarron on the west coast it was low 20s C and was wearing shorts and tshirt every day, and most importantly no rain! But back home we've had an awful lot of it. We left late last night to avoid the bad weather today. Took us 6h40 to do the 500miles back to Manchester and not a drop of rain. Took my parents 5h from Glasgow to Manchester today.

  • Hawkeye77Hawkeye77 Countdown to The Open Championship! IowaClubWRX Posts: 18,283 ClubWRX

    It rained quite a bit over there our week in Troon but we got lucky with every single tee time on the west side as far as missing the rain, but the rain around North Berwick was a factor (but a few bright sunny days before that) for golf and sightseeing - got absolutely poured on while on the M8 to Glasgow the other day - lucky we were stuck in 20 mph traffic anyway for most of the way, lol.

  • Hawkeye77Hawkeye77 Countdown to The Open Championship! IowaClubWRX Posts: 18,283 ClubWRX

    Whoa there, my favorite score! Not that I’ve ever shot it on that course. Well done! I’ll recount my nearly breaking 80 on Royal Troon elsewhere.

  • jonnymc44jonnymc44 Manchester UKMembers Posts: 154 ✭✭✭

    @Hawkeye77 said:
    Whoa there, my favorite score! Not that I’ve ever shot it on that course. Well done! I’ll recount my nearly breaking 80 on Royal Troon elsewhere.

    Please do, would love to read about it. Such a shame about my triple on 2, but it can't be helped on such a difficult hole so early on! I hit such a good iron as well just tweaked it slightly left. Two 3 putts and I could have come in with something special, but not complaining about a 77 first time round! My handicap is currently 6 (5.5) so with the SS of 71 from the yellows would have come in to par.
    I love the course. One of the caddies told me to join Tain for £295 annual membership, and receive 3 reciprocal rounds at RD for £20 each round, and also at Brora, Golspie and a few others across Scotland being an Old Tom Morris designed course. I will probably take it up to get such reduced rates and also Tain is a gorgeous looking course as well! Seems like a deal not to be missed!

  • Hawkeye77Hawkeye77 Countdown to The Open Championship! IowaClubWRX Posts: 18,283 ClubWRX

    @jonnymc44 said:

    @Hawkeye77 said:
    Whoa there, my favorite score! Not that I’ve ever shot it on that course. Well done! I’ll recount my nearly breaking 80 on Royal Troon elsewhere.

    Please do, would love to read about it. Such a shame about my triple on 2, but it can't be helped on such a difficult hole so early on! I hit such a good iron as well just tweaked it slightly left. Two 3 putts and I could have come in with something special, but not complaining about a 77 first time round! My handicap is currently 6 (5.5) so with the SS of 71 from the yellows would have come in to par.
    I love the course. One of the caddies told me to join Tain for £295 annual membership, and receive 3 reciprocal rounds at RD for £20 each round, and also at Brora, Golspie and a few others across Scotland being an Old Tom Morris designed course. I will probably take it up to get such reduced rates and also Tain is a gorgeous looking course as well! Seems like a deal not to be missed!

    Wow, that sounds like an incredible deal.

  • SCalGolferSCalGolfer Members Posts: 123 ✭✭✭

    @jonnymc44 said:
    Wow. Wow. Wow. What a course! Royal Birkdale was my favourite course until I played Royal Dornoch. I was a little apprehensive on the 1h45 drive across from the west coast to Dornoch as I drove through torrential rain only a few miles south in Tain. Thankfully I arrived to scattered clouds and little to no wind.
    I ate some breakfast in the clubhouse at the window overlooking the first tee then headed out to the nets and practice green an hour before my tee time. A few looseners and I was ready.
    Hole 1 - good opener. Not overly difficult but still a few bunkers to contend with. Hit an 18 degree iron slightly left leaving 94yds in to the back right pin. Rough snagged the club a little and came up slightly short left. 2 putt par. Greens running pretty quick.
    Hole 2 - great par 3 leaving a bitter taste. 157yd middle/front pin. Hit a great 8 iron pin high, pulled slightly left. Bunker! Took 3 to get out and 2 putts. 6, triple bogey. Not the start I wanted but heard the infamous second from Tom Watson has the second hardest shot in golf. I'd agree, and the third and fourth shots too!
    Hole 3 - pretty long par 4 with gorse down the left a few bunkers on the right at driving distance. Reeling from the second hole I hit a slight draw off the end bunker with driver to middle of the fairway. Pitching wedge from 130 leaving a 6 footer that I missed. 2 putt par.
    Hole 4 - another long par 4, another draw with the driver. Left rough leaving 144 in to the hole. Shanked a 9 iron to the middle of 12! Ended up with a 56 from 79 with backstop, finishing on the back fringe leaving a downhill putt. Little tentative with the first putt ending up short. Tap in bogey. Annoyed given the decent drive.
    Hole 5 - driveable par 4, especially with how well I was hitting it. Flailed one out right with driver. Hit a pitch a little short to the back left pin just about making your green. 3 putts for bogey. Disappointing to say the least.
    Hole 6 - 153 to pin, raised high to the right hand side. Not the place to miss, especially with a right pin. Didn't. Hit a great 8 iron 20ft left. Easy 2 putt par.
    Hole 7 - very long par 4 at nearly 480yds. Great drive down the left side to the middle/right pin. Pulled a 6 iron from 187yds just left of the green. Easy pitch across the green to 2ft for a tap in par. Glad to get off there with a 4. This was the hole that our RAF was practicing firing guns and sub-sonic typhoon flights overhead. It was a spectacle to watch over the Dornoch Firth.
    Hole 8 - split height fairway. Nice drive down to the bottom level to the right side leaving 107yds to the pin. Excellent 52 degree spinning back off the sloping green on the the left to 4ft. Furious after missing the birdie putt.
    Hole 9 - I love this hole. Rocky beach to the left, gorse on the right. Pretty generous fairway that I split with a drive. 208yds to the pin, high drawing 5 iron that hit the slope left and rolled down into the rough. Pitch up and 2 putt. Formality. Left the birdie putt agonisingly short however.
    Hole 10 - another upturned saucer green, another par 3 missed green. Struggled with the par 3s. Ended up right to a middle/right pin. Not the place to miss. Flop shot up leaving 20ft uphill in. 2 putts and a disappointing bogey.
    Hole 11 - par 4 version of the 9th. Again a slight draw into the left rough. 150 into the pin with a flier lie. PW 20ft long to front/middle pin. Another birdie putt just short. Easy 4.
    Hole 12 - dog left left to a long green. Took the Tiger line bombing a driver 330yds to middle of the fairway. 157yds to the pin. Pulled an 8 iron to the runoff left. Pitch up and a birdie putt finally made. Plenty of chances up to now but none taken.
    Hole 13 - plenty of bunkers short, left, right and long. Missed them all hitting a good 9 iron 145 to right side of the green. Long birdie attempt l, lagged nicely to the hole.
    Hole 14 - apparently the signature hole. I personally didn't see it. Flat, no bunkers, kidney shaped green, just long. Hit a flailing driver to the right rough. 170yds in on an uphill lie. 7 iron landed just short. Misjudged the pitch and hit the wrong side of the slope to the back/middle pin. 2 putts for bogey.
    Hole 15 - another driveable par 4 with just a couple of bunkers protecting the green to the left and right. I hit the left rough level with the front of the green. Pitch on using the slopes of the green and I left myself a tap in birdie. Good result.
    Hole 16 - nice uphill par 4. Large runoff left of the fairway, and gorse to the right. I missed the fairway just right with a little cut, helped right with the wind. Opened up well to the front/middle pin. Hit a poor PW from 130yds to the right side of the green. Left my first putt short but made the par putt from around 8 feet. When I say the first putt was bad, it was really bad.
    Hole 17 - what a disaster. I tried hitting a low slinger right to left to keep on the top tier but flailed a 5 iron to the bottom level to the right rough. I left myself 205yds to the pin with my feet well above the ball. 6 iron just missed the bunker short left into the rough, to the left pin. The green slopes severely left to right with a bowl in the centre. I couldn't attack the pin at all from my position. Middle of the green and 2 putt for another disappointing par.
    Hole 18 - what a great finishing hole. It's long, incredible approach to the green with ditch just in front gobbling up an short shots. I hit a 290yd drive leaving me 167yds to the pin, slightly downwind. I hit a towering 9 iron riding the wind, which stopped dead on the green. Somehow stopped short on the front to back sloping green. Far too tentative with my first putt and an abysmal 3 putt bogey to finish.
    I can't applaud this course enough. The condition, setting, history. I didn't get a caddie but my 2 American playing partners did. They were members at Bel Air Country Club and both caddies full time caddies and members at RD. I had great conversations with everybody involved.
    For anyone that hasn't been to play, go. It's worth the flight, car, train, bus journey, or however you get there.
    77 blows and it could have been better. Ball striking was so good just wish the putter was on form. I'll be back.
    My card

    Me!

    My personal favourite, 9th hole.

    Johnny,

    **** of a course isn't it? So great up there. Thank you for sharing with us!! Can't wait to get back.

  • jonnymc44jonnymc44 Manchester UKMembers Posts: 154 ✭✭✭

    @SCalGolfer said:

    @jonnymc44 said:
    Wow. Wow. Wow. What a course! Royal Birkdale was my favourite course until I played Royal Dornoch. I was a little apprehensive on the 1h45 drive across from the west coast to Dornoch as I drove through torrential rain only a few miles south in Tain. Thankfully I arrived to scattered clouds and little to no wind.
    I ate some breakfast in the clubhouse at the window overlooking the first tee then headed out to the nets and practice green an hour before my tee time. A few looseners and I was ready.
    Hole 1 - good opener. Not overly difficult but still a few bunkers to contend with. Hit an 18 degree iron slightly left leaving 94yds in to the back right pin. Rough snagged the club a little and came up slightly short left. 2 putt par. Greens running pretty quick.
    Hole 2 - great par 3 leaving a bitter taste. 157yd middle/front pin. Hit a great 8 iron pin high, pulled slightly left. Bunker! Took 3 to get out and 2 putts. 6, triple bogey. Not the start I wanted but heard the infamous second from Tom Watson has the second hardest shot in golf. I'd agree, and the third and fourth shots too!
    Hole 3 - pretty long par 4 with gorse down the left a few bunkers on the right at driving distance. Reeling from the second hole I hit a slight draw off the end bunker with driver to middle of the fairway. Pitching wedge from 130 leaving a 6 footer that I missed. 2 putt par.
    Hole 4 - another long par 4, another draw with the driver. Left rough leaving 144 in to the hole. Shanked a 9 iron to the middle of 12! Ended up with a 56 from 79 with backstop, finishing on the back fringe leaving a downhill putt. Little tentative with the first putt ending up short. Tap in bogey. Annoyed given the decent drive.
    Hole 5 - driveable par 4, especially with how well I was hitting it. Flailed one out right with driver. Hit a pitch a little short to the back left pin just about making your green. 3 putts for bogey. Disappointing to say the least.
    Hole 6 - 153 to pin, raised high to the right hand side. Not the place to miss, especially with a right pin. Didn't. Hit a great 8 iron 20ft left. Easy 2 putt par.
    Hole 7 - very long par 4 at nearly 480yds. Great drive down the left side to the middle/right pin. Pulled a 6 iron from 187yds just left of the green. Easy pitch across the green to 2ft for a tap in par. Glad to get off there with a 4. This was the hole that our RAF was practicing firing guns and sub-sonic typhoon flights overhead. It was a spectacle to watch over the Dornoch Firth.
    Hole 8 - split height fairway. Nice drive down to the bottom level to the right side leaving 107yds to the pin. Excellent 52 degree spinning back off the sloping green on the the left to 4ft. Furious after missing the birdie putt.
    Hole 9 - I love this hole. Rocky beach to the left, gorse on the right. Pretty generous fairway that I split with a drive. 208yds to the pin, high drawing 5 iron that hit the slope left and rolled down into the rough. Pitch up and 2 putt. Formality. Left the birdie putt agonisingly short however.
    Hole 10 - another upturned saucer green, another par 3 missed green. Struggled with the par 3s. Ended up right to a middle/right pin. Not the place to miss. Flop shot up leaving 20ft uphill in. 2 putts and a disappointing bogey.
    Hole 11 - par 4 version of the 9th. Again a slight draw into the left rough. 150 into the pin with a flier lie. PW 20ft long to front/middle pin. Another birdie putt just short. Easy 4.
    Hole 12 - dog left left to a long green. Took the Tiger line bombing a driver 330yds to middle of the fairway. 157yds to the pin. Pulled an 8 iron to the runoff left. Pitch up and a birdie putt finally made. Plenty of chances up to now but none taken.
    Hole 13 - plenty of bunkers short, left, right and long. Missed them all hitting a good 9 iron 145 to right side of the green. Long birdie attempt l, lagged nicely to the hole.
    Hole 14 - apparently the signature hole. I personally didn't see it. Flat, no bunkers, kidney shaped green, just long. Hit a flailing driver to the right rough. 170yds in on an uphill lie. 7 iron landed just short. Misjudged the pitch and hit the wrong side of the slope to the back/middle pin. 2 putts for bogey.
    Hole 15 - another driveable par 4 with just a couple of bunkers protecting the green to the left and right. I hit the left rough level with the front of the green. Pitch on using the slopes of the green and I left myself a tap in birdie. Good result.
    Hole 16 - nice uphill par 4. Large runoff left of the fairway, and gorse to the right. I missed the fairway just right with a little cut, helped right with the wind. Opened up well to the front/middle pin. Hit a poor PW from 130yds to the right side of the green. Left my first putt short but made the par putt from around 8 feet. When I say the first putt was bad, it was really bad.
    Hole 17 - what a disaster. I tried hitting a low slinger right to left to keep on the top tier but flailed a 5 iron to the bottom level to the right rough. I left myself 205yds to the pin with my feet well above the ball. 6 iron just missed the bunker short left into the rough, to the left pin. The green slopes severely left to right with a bowl in the centre. I couldn't attack the pin at all from my position. Middle of the green and 2 putt for another disappointing par.
    Hole 18 - what a great finishing hole. It's long, incredible approach to the green with ditch just in front gobbling up an short shots. I hit a 290yd drive leaving me 167yds to the pin, slightly downwind. I hit a towering 9 iron riding the wind, which stopped dead on the green. Somehow stopped short on the front to back sloping green. Far too tentative with my first putt and an abysmal 3 putt bogey to finish.
    I can't applaud this course enough. The condition, setting, history. I didn't get a caddie but my 2 American playing partners did. They were members at Bel Air Country Club and both caddies full time caddies and members at RD. I had great conversations with everybody involved.
    For anyone that hasn't been to play, go. It's worth the flight, car, train, bus journey, or however you get there.
    77 blows and it could have been better. Ball striking was so good just wish the putter was on form. I'll be back.
    My card

    Me!

    My personal favourite, 9th hole.

    Johnny,

    **** of a course isn't it? So great up there. Thank you for sharing with us!! Can't wait to get back.

    It really is something special. Not a single hole lets the course down. With their prestigious open competition Carnegie Shield starting today the course condition was second to none.

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