Founded in 1922, Bothwell Castle Golf Club enlisted a Glasgow architect by the name of Mr. Adams to lay out the club’s original 18-hole course within the Bothwell Estate, to the east of the 13th century castle ruins, and this new layout was officially opened the following year by the Earl of Home, father of Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas Home.
In the late 1960s, the club lost seven of the holes on the course (from the old 9th to the 15th) to a private housing development and another architect, a Mr. F T Lyon, was commissioned to set out the replacement holes. After much deliberation over a variety of different issues, the remodeled course came into play in 1973.
Bothwell Castle’s clubhouse was lost to a fire in 2002 and it was rebuilt and relocated to a more central position, resulting in a resequencing of the holes. In 2014, a number of substantial course improvements were carried out on the back nine, involving the installation of new bunkers and open drainage ditches.Today, the course measures 6,224 yards from the back markers, with par set at 70. It’s laid out on relatively level terrain, with tree-lined fairways providing a quality parkland game of golf for members and visitors alike. The signature hole is regarded as the 159-yard 8th, where an intimidating little burn runs across the front of a sand-protected green.
I have played at Bothwell Castle many times over the years and was lucky enough to be here on a gorgeous summer day earlier this week. If the phrase 'mutton dressed as lamb' can be applied to golf courses I believe Bothwell is a prime example. The clubhouse is impressive, excellent practice facilities and the course was in prime condition with quite superb greens. In short the club does all it can to present itself to the world. The drawback is the layout, or, to be more precise the terrain which is unremittingly flat. I know the same is true of the magnificent Woodhall Spa but... With the relatively new configuration of holes Bothwell begins with a series of long par fours which are all three-shotters for a mid-handicapper. There is some relief at the 5th and 6th before the short 8th offers up the first (and best) par 3 on the course. The back nine is quite a bit shorter and marginally more interesting. 10 and 12 are enhanced by burns across the fairway (both fairly new) but 15 is one of the blandest par 3s imaginable. the dogleg 16th provides a challenging drive through a narrow chute of trees but this hole is let down by poor - even unfair - hidden greenside bunkers. All things come to those who wait and by far the best hole at Bothwell is the par 5 18th where the downhill approach to a small green is over a ditch with several punitive bunkers to be avoided. The club is one of the few in Lanarkshire with a waiting list. I suggest this is not on account of the course itself but its other amenities and location in an affluent area.