Shine On You Crazy Diamonds

My favorite hole from each course – on a trip off the beaten path in Scotland

The 11th at Dunaverty Golf Club, looking back to the tee.

In May of this year, my son Jake and I took a long dreamed about golf trip to Scotland. We both wanted to go to places that are perhaps not as well known to many American golfers. The highest compliment we can give a place is to say that it is “hidden.” The sense of discovery that comes with finding and playing places off the beaten path is a large part of the thrill of golf travel. I hope to write in detailed long-form about the trip and many of the places we visited, and on a much larger platform than, in the future. In the interim, here is my favorite hole from each course we played, in chronological order.

The 10th at The Golf House Club (Elie)

“Lundar Law”
288 yard Par 4
A thrilling downhill approach, ideally along the ground, to a green fully exposed the ocean winds.

The 6th at Anstruther Golf Club

128 yard Par 3
A view from the heights of the Medal tee. Club selection is critical in the ever present wind. The links was originally laid out by Old Tom Morris.

The 8th at Cruden Bay Golf Club

258 yard Par 4
Cruden Bay Architect Tom Simpson called the 8th “an outstanding jewel of a hole, mischievous, subtle and provocative, the element of luck with the tee shot being very high.”

The 3rd at Fraserburgh Golf Club

“Whyte’s Shelter”
331 yard Par 4
The legendary James Braid was the Architect of Fraserburgh GC, the 7th oldest golf club in the world. The 3rd hole is the essence of links golf.

The 3rd at Cullen Links

233 yard Par 3
A difficult downhill, semi-blind shot, with all the ethereal world of Cullen Links in view.

The 9th at Covesea Links

The 9th at Covesea Links
104 yard Par 3
With a tee cut into the side of a gorse covered cliff, the 9th plays downhill to a beautiful punchbowl green site. The North Sea serves as a backdrop in this incredible golf landscape.

The 10th at Machrihanish Dunes

“Hang 10”
369 yard Par 4
David McClay-Kidd created a tough modern links using construction techniques more in keeping with Old Tom Morris. The 10th is a wonderful, natural golf hole.

The 3rd at Machrihanish Golf Club

373 yard Par 4
The 3rd at the Old Tom Morris designed Machrihanish GC starts what may be the greatest 6 hole stretch of links golf in the entire world.

The 10th & 11th at Dunaverty Golf Club

“Mount Zion”
123 yard Par 3
“The Cleet”
266 yard Par 4
There is a valid argument to be made that the 10th green and 11th tee at Dunaverty is the true spiritual home of golf.

The 2nd at Carradale Golf Club

341 yard Par 4
The tee shot on the 2nd hole at the wonderful Carradale Golf Club plays thrillingly downhill, with the approach over an ancient rock wall to a perfectly sited green. All with stunning views of the Kilbrannan Sound and the Isle of Arran in the distance.

The 6th at Shiskine Golf & Tennis Club

“Shore Hole”
275 yard Par 4
The 6th green at mythical Shiskine, looking back to the tee and the Kilbrannan Sound. A blind tee shot that, if played on just the right line, could result in an eagle attempt.

This is just a short preview of some of the places I will be writing about in the coming months. At these (hidden) cathedrals of the game, it is extremely difficult to pick just one favorite hole. In fact, I failed in the case of Dunaverty. Choosing favorite golf holes is a completely subjective exercise. Maybe it’s the way the green sits just perfectly in the landscape that triggers the emotions. It could be the stunning views to the impossibly blue ocean, mountains of Arran and the sky beyond. Perhaps it can even be something akin to a religious experience on Mount Zion at Dunaverty Golf Club in Kintyre, Scotland.