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Glencruitten

Oban, Scotland
ArchitectBadgeJames Braid
Oban, Scotland
Rankings
  • AddressGlencruitten Rd, Oban PA34 4PU, UK

There’s uncertainty regarding the provenance of the Glencruitten course. According to the John F. Moreton & Iain Cumming book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses, “The Polivinster course started in 1890, was nine holes and council-owned. The council sought another site, in 1905… In 1907 they start to talk to Mr. Bontein who already has a private nine hole course on the Glencruitten estate. Negotiations falter… The council looks elsewhere, to Ganavan on the coast. This nine hole opens in May 1908.”

“Meanwhile, Bontein goes ahead with the extension to eighteen… This course is opened on 1st June 1908. Immediately after the 1920 St Andrews Open, Braid, Fernie, Taylor and Vardon travel overnight by train to Oban… This is ‘to fulfil an arrangement made some time ago’. The Oban Times gives a detailed account of the golf, and says that the course was ‘laid out by Mr Bontein of Glencruitten’. Now it would be unusual, though not without precedent, for an owner of land to design a golf course…”

The authors go on to question why Braid and the other three eminent professionals should open the course two years after it opened, hypothesizing that perhaps Braid either had had a hand in the design or that he suggested improvements after playing it. As they say, “it is a mystery yet to be solved.”

Regardless of who actually designed the course, it is one of the most unique 18-hole layouts you will play anywhere, with blind shots galore, big dipper fairways and no fewer than ten par threes on the scorecard. “Hilly parkland” doesn’t come close to describing the course at Glencruitten and neither does “eccentric and sporting”. As unique golfing venues go, this is up there with the very best and not to be missed if you like your golf to be both entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable.

There’s uncertainty regarding the provenance of the Glencruitten course. According to the John F. Moreton & Iain Cumming book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses, “The Polivinster course started in 1890, was nine holes and council-owned. The council sought another site, in 1905… In 1907 they start to talk to Mr. Bontein who already has a private nine hole course on the Glencruitten estate. Negotiations falter… The council looks elsewhere, to Ganavan on the coast. This nine hole opens in May 1908.”

“Meanwhile, Bontein goes ahead with the extension to eighteen… This course is opened on 1st June 1908. Immediately after the 1920 St Andrews Open, Braid, Fernie, Taylor and Vardon travel overnight by train to Oban… This is ‘to fulfil an arrangement made some time ago’. The Oban Times gives a detailed account of the golf, and says that the course was ‘laid out by Mr Bontein of Glencruitten’. Now it would be unusual, though not without precedent, for an owner of land to design a golf course…”

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Course Architect

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James Braid

James Braid was born in 1870 in Earlsferry, the adjoining village to Elie in the East Neuk of Fife. He became a member of Earlsferry Thistle aged fifteen and was off scratch by his sixteenth birthday.

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