Scotland's ultimate golf course

Building a hypothetical composite course is something of a golfer’s game practised in clubhouses the length and breadth of Scotland. Faraway Fairways have been unable to resist the temptation to join in and decided to build the Scotland’s ultimate golf course featuring the best 18 holes.

So what was our criteria? Well they have to be relevant to the correct hole. In some cases we had an embarrassment of riches. The sixth saw us having to omit Carnoustie’s ‘Hogans Alley’ as well as the equally worthy Trump International. Fifteen was another with no shortage of candidates, as was the third. Other holes gave us more of a problem. The second, seventh and sixteenth weren’t easy to settle and we might have ended up with inferior holes in so much as there were clearly more deserving candidates who just happened to share a number with something equally compelling who were omitted.

The other qualification we settled on is that the course must feature in one of our tour programmes, so this did for Loch Lomond, which could possibly have filled our void on seven quite neatly. Anyway, please enjoy our slide show of Scotland’s ultimate golf course featuring the best 18 holes.

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MACHRIHANISH, The Battery 396 yds,
Par 4
10TRUMP TURNBERRY, Dinna Fouter 562 yds,
Par 5
ROYAL DORNOCH, Ord 184 yds,
Par 3
11ROYAL TROON, The Railway Hole 490 yds
Par 4
3PRESTWICK, The Cardinal 533 yds,
Par 5
12KINGSBARNS, Orrdeal 606 yds
Par 5
Par 5
13NORTH BERWICK, Pitt 387 yds
Par 4
5TRUMP TUNRBERRY, Fin me Oot 498 yds,
Par 4/5
14ROYAL DORNOCH, Foxy 445 yds
Par 4
CRUDEN BAY, Bluidy Burn 505 yds,
Par 5
15NORTH BERWICK, Redan 190 yds,
Par 3
7ASKERNISH, Cabinet Minister 410 yds,
Par 4
16WESTERN GAILES, Camp 428 yds,
Par 4
8ROYAL TROON, The Postage Stamp 123 yds,
Par 3
17ST ANDREWS OLD COURSE, The Road Hole 495 yds,
Par 4
9TRUMP TURNBERRY, Bruce’s Castle 235 yds,
Par 3
18OLD MORAY, Home 408 yds
Par 4

OUT = 3350 yds
IN = 3961 yds
TOTAL = 7311 yds
PAR = 73
Saying Sorry; Omissions from
Scotland’s ultimate golf course featuring the best 18 holes.

As you might imagine, there were a host of very, good casualties who would have been included had they been obliging enough to hold another hole number. Prestwick’s first was worth noting, but Machrihanish was always going to win the particular battle.

The only thing that really prevented Royal Aberdeen’s second making our course was the presence of four, par 5’s in the opening six holes. It seems perverse, that along with Castle Stuart who were another that always seemed to lose the photo finish, Aberdeen hasn’t got a representative onto our course

The third hole was tough. Trump International and Castle Stuart were very unlucky losers

Number five went to Turnberry, but Crail’s Hell Hole was a valiant contender and did indeed occupy the position until we were persuaded otherwise. Ultimately we just couldn’t justify omitting Turnberry’s fifth. Machrihanish Dunes was also very tempting, as was Cruden Bay. We could easily have this one wrong, but then you could argue that for half our selections without looking foolish

The sixth caused us particular heartache. Again it was the Trump International, joined by Carnoustie’s famous Hogan’s Alley that failed. Scotland has a plethora of quality hole number sixes and either of the other two would grace a normal track. By contrast, it has a dearth of number 7’s, which really came down to Gullane and Murcar

There seems to be a factory producing par 3’s for the eighth hole. Aberdeen had claims, as did the Castle course at St Andrews, but ultimately Troon’s Postage Stamp was always going to deliver

Turnberry’s ninth, Bruce’s Castle, was a shoe-in for nine, whereas Castle Stuart was unlucky again to lose out to Turnberry on number ten. Troon’s Railways was a lock on number eleven, and Kingsbarns wasn’t too difficult to slot on number twelve

Number thirteen was one of harder assignments. Muirfield was seriously considered, and indeed selected initially. Nairn was also considered, and even chosen at one point for its difficult uphill. Thirteen wasn’t a strong hole, but it was competitive, eventually we alighted on North Berwick for its quirky use of a stonewall

Fourteen, like number six was another case of over-supply. Carnoustie’s daunting ‘Spectacles’ was passed up, as was St Andrews Old Course and the opportunity to opine the treachery of Hell Bunker. Either would make it on to any course under normal circumstances

Fifteen was a case of which of two par 3’s to go for. North Berwick was eventally given the nod for its difficulty, over Kingsbarns

Sixteen was the hardest hole we had to assign. The Ryder Cup par 5, at Gleneagles was also heavily considered, as was Carnoustie’s fiendish par 3. Ultimately, though we went for a controversial pick at Western Gailes, not because it’s a particularly classic hole, but because we feel it encapsulates so much about Scottish links golf. We can’t think of many par 4’s that can boast a railway line, a burn that protects the green, subtle fairways undulations, genuine pot bunkers, tangled long grasses, and gorse bushes, all on the same hole?

Seventeen only really had one candidate, albeit the cliff-top par 3 on the St Andrews castle course is noteworthy for its aesthetics

Eighteen was a tough choice again between The Moray Old Course and Carnoustie’s notorious final assignment. We’ve changed our minds a few times on this one. Carnoustie with the treacherous Barry Burn (ask Jean van de Velde) penal rough and difficult target to hit, made plenty of appeal. The call went to Lossiemouth however for the more demanding tee-shot and greater variety in the topography which requires players can conjure a second shot from different lies and stances. It’s difficult not to be impressed by the way the houses on the right lead you back into town (as they do on the St Andrews Old Course) and by the clubhouse perched high overlooking the green in a natural amphitheatre. This was another ‘heads or tails’ decision that Carnoustie narrowly lost

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