In his wonderful book about a young college student’s exploration and discovery of the wonders of Scottish golf, A Golfer’s Education, Darren Kilfara describes the solitude of playing one of Scotland’s most remote golfing jewels, Royal Dornoch.
For all it’s fame among serious players Dornoch is in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands and many never venture that far to experience it’s unique charm. Kilfara says, “Royal Dornoch’s accessibility appealed to me greatly. Exclusive clubs cannot possibly radiate the type of warmth that Dornoch radiates”.
His description of the look down the eighth to a green nestled by the sea captures the warm and engaging feeling of Scottish Links golf.
“I reached the crest of the fairway on Dornoch’s eighth hole, a par 4 that tumbles down a steep hillside to a green near the sea. The low-flying sun, peering through a veil of gray translucent cloud, sparkled on the still ocean. A breeze whistled softly across the gorse, tugging gently at the sleeves of my jack. The dying embers of autumn flickered in the darkly proud gorse, in wispy fields of soft beige and muted green twice removed from the golfer’s progress. The stillness, the ethereal peace of the moment, overwhelmed me. The earth itself reposed in contentment: miles of tiny, pimpled dunes beyond the eighth hole mirrored my goose bumps, beckoning me away from Royal Dornoch, away from golf along the arcing shoreline toward the sleepy hamlet of Embo. In the near-silence I stood: alone, yet not alone.”
There is truly something special about this place that beckons those who can appreciate what golf courses like Dornoch can offer beyond the golf.
A Golfer’s Education (2001)