The magnificent Cally Palace category A listed building, now operated by the McMillan Hotel Group, is an 18th century country house which was converted to a hotel in the 1930s. A substantial portion of the extensive Cally estate – listed in Historic Scotland’s inventory of Gardens and Designated Landscapes – was converted to a golf course in 1994, when architect Tom McAuley laid out eighteen holes around the Cally Lake.
The Cally course extends to 6,062 yards from the back tees, playing to a par of 71, with tree-lined fairways draped across a gently undulating landscape. A round here starts and ends, rather unusually, with a short par four hole: the 287-yard 1st (“Lake Side”) doglegging left down to the lake and the 271-yard 18th (“Buzzards Creek”) finishing behind the hotel, close to the tennis courts.
All three par fives on the card are testing three-shotters. The 590-yard 8th “(Braefoot”) is by far the longest (with the lowest stroke index) on the front nine but it’s more than matched in terms of difficulty on the inward half by the 519-yard 13th (“Palace View”), where the lake runs along the right hand side of the fairway as it heads towards the green.A round of golf at Cally Palace was once the private preserve of hotel residents but a welcome change in the visitor policy now allows casual pay and play golfers to also tee it up here now.