I have always wanted to visit Royal Dornoch after hearing stories about how good the course was, its continual high place in pretty much all the rankings and that it is set in one of the most perfect settings for a golf course. We arrived early to take a look around the clubhouse and to warm up before taking on the challenge ahead. The first hole is not overly long although we were playing it downwind which made the second shot tricky. Hole 2 again a shortish par 3 with a green raised on both sides which falls off severely at the back of the green. Three of my group pitched the ball onto this devilish green only to see it fall off the back never to be seen again as the gorse swallowed the balls up! Holes 3 - 6 are excellent with a mixture of short and long par 4’s plus a very nice par 3 set alongside the gorse covered dune. Hole 7 is slightly weak and I am sure once Mackenzie and Ebert work their magic this hole will be much improved. Hole 8 is brilliant with a blind tee shot to a left to right sloping fairway leaves a short iron to the green. The turn home does not disappoint. Hole 9 a long par 5 which runs along the sea is excellent and a real test into the wind. The 10th a shortish par 3 plays to a narrow green which slopes from right to left which if you miss will test the short game of even the most accomplished player. Hole 11 is an exacting par 4 that requires two good shots to reach the putting surface and this hole is followed by a cracking par 5 which dog legs very slightly from right to left. The par 3 13 gives you a little rest before you tackle the brilliant 14th which some describe as the best par 4 in golf which is hard to argue…the green complex is amazing. Hole 15 is a solid par 4 before you reach 16 a hole that I was not overly keen on as it played directly uphill with a blind second shot. 17 is a fine par 4 with a blind tee shot to a sloping fairway and then a second shot to a slightly raised green. The 18th hole gives no respite a long par 4 that plays into the wind to a green with a small gully running along the front section. A couple of things that stood out from my visit were the bunkering which is world class and the excellent green complexes which will test every facet of your short game. The course was in reasonable order considering the long season although its was a shame that the fairways had been scarified. All in all Royal Dornoch is very much worth a visit but I am not sure its worthy of its Top 10 in the World status. Played October 18.
Date: June 05, 2019