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2007 – Scotland
Royal Dornoch
Cruden Bay
Royal Aberdeen
North Berwick
Gullane

2011 – Ireland
Royal Dublin
Lahinch
Ballybunion
Portrush
Portstewart
County Louth

2012 – England
Dundonald
Royal Dornoch
Alwoodley
Ganton
Woodhall Spa
Birkdale
Royal Liverpool

2013 – Scotland
Gullane #2
Blairgowrie
Lossy Mouth
Royal Dornoch
Brora
Tain
Boat of Garten

2014 – Ireland
Portmarnock
Portrush
Ballycastle
Ballyliffian
Portstewart
Royal County Down

2015 – Scotland
North Berwick
Cruden Bay
Nairn
Royal Dornoch
Prestwick

2017 Ireland – Tentative  (did not go in 2016)
County Sligo
Enniscrone
Carne
Ballybunion
Spanish Point (9 holes course)
Lahinch
Portrush
Portrush – Valley Course
Port Stewart
Portmarnock

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County Sligo
Enniscrone
Carne
Ballybunion
Spanish Point (9 holes course)
Lahinch
Portrush
Portrush – Valley Course
Port Stewart
Portmarnock

We have 12 guys on this trip for the last 4 rounds.  Deb and I are playing 5 of them, Bob Strand will join me at Ballybunion and Lahinch.

2015 Courses

We played the following courses this year in Scotland:

North Berwick
Cruden Bay
Nairn
Royal Dornoch
Prestwick

Also tried to attend the Open at St Andrews on Saturday but the round was pretty much cancelled.

As we prepare for our 2014 golf adventure in Ireland, I thought I should list out the courses I’ve played so far.  2014 courses are all booked, just obviously haven’t played yet.  Will use this for future reference!

2007
Royal Dornoch
Cruden Bay
Royal Aberdeen
North Berwick
Gullane

2011
Royal Dublin
Lahinch
Ballybunion
Portrush
Portstewart
County Louth

2012
Dundonald
Royal Dornoch
Alwoodley
Ganton
Woodhall Spa
Birkdale
Royal Liverpool

2013
Gullane #2
Blairgowrie
Lossy Mouth
Royal Dornoch
Brora
Tain
Boat of Garten

2014 (tentative)
Portmarnock
Portrush
Ballycastle
Ballyliffian
Portstewart
Royal County Down

 

Cruden Bay

We left Royal Dornoch the next morning for the 4 hour or so drive south to Cruden Bay.  We passed through the town of Nairn and got a glimpse of the Nairn course.  We had hoped to play Nairn, but a member-guest tournament kept us from playing. 

Our threesome (me on the left) before teeing off at Cruden Bay

I had few preconcieved notions about Cruden Bay other than hearing it was this funky course with a cult-like appeal. The designer is the same as Irelands’ famed Ballybunion, so I thought I might be in for a pleasant suprise.  I was not disappointed.

This course had some of the greatest holes I played on the trip (and some of the worst).  The sand dunes were larger than just about anywhere else and the routing was tremendous.  I’m not a big fan of blind shots, and there were 4 holes in a row that had blind shots!  Holes 13-16.

 This course would be on my short-list for any return trip to Scotland.  Don’t miss it

I’ve always struggled with the motto “The Customer is Always Right”, as all of us have dealt with people that there is no way you can please.  Are they always right?  Here is a great article on the subject.

Royal Dornoch

Our first stop, Royal Dornoch (DOR-nick) was a 4 hour car trip from Edinburgh.  The trip went fast as we zipped along mostly 4 lane highways through the rural hillsides of Scotland.  My first reaction was that it was hillier than I expected with few towns or trees along the way.  This was the course I was most excited to play as I had read so much about it; where Donald Ross learned his technique and a course fequently rated top 20 in the world. But few have heard about it, mostly because it is so remote and not part of the Open rotation.  The course exceeded my expectations.

The first tee with playing partner Scott Dunlap

I read that the sign of a great course is how many holes can you remember after you’ve played it.  It’s been 6 months and I can still visualize completely about 8 holes.  The font 9 has two of the greatest par 3’s I’ve ever played and the 2nd hole has been said to have the most difficult 2nd shot in golf!  And on a par three!

The par three 2nd at Royal Dornoch

I hit the ball well on the front, but major jet lag and some bad club selection left me with a bad score but that didn’t affect my impression of the course.  The condition was what I expected; greens relatively slow in pace but true and the fairways in decent condition.  The rough was much less penal that I envisioned and lots of rain made for a soft, green course.  I hit a few balls in the rough and had no problem finding them.  In fact I lost only one ball the entire trip.

The back nine continued with an array of great holes. A surprise was that our 3-some never waited a shot and we saw only a handful of golfers on the course.  The greens (and this applied to all the courses) were much bigger than I expected. We also never saw a golf cart as everyone was either carrying their clubs or using a pull cart. The way the game is meant to be played.  When we finished it was all I could do not to race to the first tee for another go.   Royal Dornoch is a must see despite its remote location.

Back nine part 3 at Royal Dornoch

We spent the night in the Dornoch Castle Hotel.  The service was excellent with clean rooms and lounge/cafe on the main floor.  There aren’t many choices in this small village, but this more than suited or needs.

Dornoch Castle Hotel