Adding Golspie to my highlands itinerary was one of the easiest, and arguably the best, decision I made. The professional staff at the club will make you feel like a member and you can’t ask for better hospitality. If I lived in the Highlands, this would be the club I’d join with great pleasure.
The diverse terrain and variety both along the coastline and among the pines are an incredible asset which truly sets this course apart from its peers. I found the assortment of links and parkland golf to be a refreshing surprise. After a wide open reachable par 5, the humps and bumps of the links terrain hugging the coastline quickly come into play with the excellent par 3 2nd with a wide and shallow green. Holes 3-5 are within arm’s reach of the North Sea and offer a tough challenge as you navigate semi-blind undulating terrain, especially the short (world class) par 4 5th with a blind elevated green.
The 6th is a par 3 which plays away from the water but is framed beautifully with dunes and is fraught with perfectly placed bunkers surrounding the green. The opening stretch of this hidden gem present very solid golf and begin to tell the story of how underrated this venue is. As you close out the front nine, you’re reminded of how fun golf can be when you don’t always need driver and intelligent shot-making is a premium if you want to make birdies. The courses personality transitions as you migrate towards the pines on the splendid 8th hole, which once again is framed so well. You get the best of everything at this course, including very good playing conditions which is a credit to the hard working greenkeeping crew.
I thoroughly enjoyed the long dog-leg left 9th hole which will test the best of us for an accurate drive before you encounter the most charming par 3 10th hole called “Lochy” which plays over a pond to a well-protected green. This corner of the property introduces you to beautiful heather and healthy tall pine trees to contrast with the opening collection of holes along the beach. This diversity and change in direction reminded me in places of Lundin and Nairn which has similar experiences, also created by James Braid among others.
Holes 11 through 14 are played over benign pastureland near the boundary line and are the least memorable given the setting, but the routing picks up again quickly on the demanding 15th hole which is a very difficult par 4 that is among the very best you’ll play. The 15th green is pitched beautifully from right to left taking advantage of the nearby undulation that takes you up the spectacular par 3 16th which plays straight towards the North Sea. While it is unusual to have two par 3s in a row at the 16th and 17th, they are both truly outstanding and perfectly complement the entire experience. The 16th plays to a multi-tiered perched green that is tough to hit while the 17th is a longer blind tee shot to a larger green area. I was advised to respect these two shorter holes, and it was advice well given. The 18th hole is in the middle of the property with a huge hill in the middle of the fairway so you can’t see the green, but it is a mighty finishing hole located between the 14th & 15th holes (to your left) and the 4th hole (to your right).
There are several holes that play in front of the clubhouse in a north / south direction, and an aerial view of the routing will show you how diverse the golf is at Golspie over different terrain in such proximity. A trip to Golspie should be a priority on any golfing itinerary, as this, and many other reviews are saying. It’s an injustice to this venue to consider it an add-on to a trip to play Royal Dornoch. By itself, it is a wonderful day out. I found the value, the hospitality, the location and the atmosphere to be first class and can’t promote the charming golf enough. It’s so refreshing to be away from the big-name venues and actually feel like you’re a welcomed part of the club, rather than a visitor on a factory conveyor belt. I highly recommend this fascinating and varied golf experience – and I’m confident the future is bright at Golspie Golf Club.
Date: July 08, 2019