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Sean_A

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CARNEGIE LINKS New
« on: May 31, 2015, 02:14:44 PM »
The former summer residence of Pittsburgh steel magnate and philanthropist, the remarkable Andrew Carnegie, Skibo Estate’s 7500 acres is situated in an envious location hard on Dornoch Firth and Loch Evelix, with the magnificent Struie Hills looming in the distance.  There have been three distinct iterations of the links, the first of which was created by Dornoch’s John Sutherland for Mr Carnegie himself.  After the estate was purchased with an eye to resurrecting its fame, some semblance of the links as we know it today was designed by Donald Steel and opened for play in 1992.  Some 15 years later under the guidance of Dornoch native Tom MacKenzie, an associate in Steel’s firm, the links was radically reworked for its third act.  The work included a dramatic program of vegetation and tree removal undertaken to great effect; especially near the loch.  In addition, a plethora of new holes were fashioned to take advantage of a diverse site which encompasses a forth, a loch, a lichen heath, a tidal bay and a salt marsh. It goes without saying that the texture of the property is sublime.

I had no expectations before my recent arrival to Carnegie and there can be little doubt that I was pleasantly surprised.  There is a stark contrast in the flow of the design.  1 through 10 is a stretch of more or less classic links holes.  Then follows the more parkland like 11-15 stretch along Loch Evelix; each hole is good, but as a group they may not be as compelling as the links holes.  The course finishes on the far side of the club drive with a trio of very good holes which are not exactly parkland or links.  Perhaps more importantly, these holes make a fine boozer’s loop, though there are other opportunities to cut a game short. 

The first isn't overly taxing, but the severely tilted green is a clear indication that we are no longer at Dornoch.


A massive amount of earth was pushed about to create the dogleg second. For some, the blind green may just be within reach of the tee if the bold fearless line to the right of the large bunker is taken.


The approach to this tricky green.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 03:47:14 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Adam Lawrence

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-2
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2015, 02:35:28 PM »
I'm interested to see this. Skibo polled remarkably well in the National Club Golfer ranking of the best GB&I links courses at the turn of the year (on which ranking I voted). It was 16th, ahead of places like Deal, Troon, St Enodoc and Prestwick. I mentioned this to editor Dan Murphy and he said that he, and everyone else he knew who'd seen the latest iteration of the course, had been blown away by it.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Thomas Dai

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-2
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2015, 03:09:07 PM »
I'll also be interested in what Sean makes of the Skibo course. When I was up that way a couple of years ago locals who I spoke with and who'd played Skibo raved about it, which is something given what is also in the area. Costly to play?
Atb

Michael Graham

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-2
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2015, 04:00:58 PM »
I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your photos Sean. I'm going up to the Highlands in a couple of weeks to play CS, Dornoch and finally Skibo. Most of the photos of the course I've seen are now a few years out of date since a lot of changes have been made. Will be jnteresting to read your thoughts on the course.

Michael

Sean_A

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-2 New
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2015, 03:39:31 AM »
Adam

I didn't realize Carnegie scored so well in the National Club Golfer.  I wasn't blown away, but its easy to see why Carnegie competes so well with the big guns. 

atb

I don't know the cost of a game, but it must just about the most pricey round in GB&I. 

CARNEGIE LINKS CONT

The three-shot 3rd is a good birdie opportunity when playing downwind and given what the golfer faces starting at #11 he better store away all the fat he can for winter can strike at any time coming home.  The course has some very good features which are often not noticed.  For instance, the line of the dune housing the furthest right of the left bunkers continues into the fairwway.  It is not only attractive, but draws the eye and signals that playing into the poorer position far right is a safer bet.  There is a blind narrow hollow just shy of the right bunker.  I know the combination of these features isn't earth-shattering, but the subtlety is very clever. 


The short 4th breaks up the straight march out as it plays toward the loch.  This hole reminds me of those seen on older courses with its green set in open country on a spot which isn't obvious.


Heading back toward the house, the long, right legging 5th plays...well, long.  As an added spot of grief there is a lone bunker set directly in front of the slightly raised kidney shaped green.


A comfortable third way house (which is also convenient after playing 12) offers welcome respite should the weather be inhospitable.


There is a bit of a walk past the 4th tees to #6.  It seems silly to say that a 150ish yard hole is a brute.  However, playing downwind to a dune top green, the 6th may require a soft touch, but it is a swine of a hole. 


More to follow. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 03:53:07 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Niall C

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2015, 08:22:58 AM »
Sean

Like everyone else I'm keen to see this tour. And like mostly everyone else I've not played the course due to the eye watering green fee however a couple of years ago I did "jump the fence" to have a look at some of the new holes, orat least I think they were the new holes, and they were quite spectacular. Even took some photos which looked great despite my rubbish photogrpahy skilss. Looking forward to you doing it properly.

Niall

John Crowley

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2015, 10:25:22 AM »
I'll be playing Carnegie Club Links on Thursday. Looking forward to it.

Niall C

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2015, 10:40:58 AM »
John

If you don't mind me asking John, how much is the greenfee ? I tried to look it up but you need to email to find that out and as the old saying says if you need to ask..........

Niall

Michael Graham

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2015, 10:52:03 AM »
Niall

I hope John won't mind me answering on his behalf but the greenfee is £300 including lunch.

Michael

Niall C

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2015, 11:47:07 AM »
I hope it's a belter of a lunch ! In fact if it was an overnight stay with golf included I might have said that's a fair price, but not £300 for golf and lunch. I suspect they are looking for the well heeled travelling golfer up to play Dornoch, hence the push to get the course up the rankings.

Niall

Rich Goodale

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2015, 12:09:24 PM »
Michael

I'm surprised that the fee is so low.  Last I heard it was £600 for a one night Dinner, Bed, Golf, Breakfast and Lunch and only allowed once in any person's lifetime (unless they fork up for a membership, which runs well into the 5 figures initiation, 4 figures annual dues category).

I wonder how much Sean paid.  Can't be much since he gives the joint a coveted 1* (based on value for money, I assume)......

John Crowley

To maximise your experience, find the court jester (Alan Grant) and tell him you know me.

rfg

PS--
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

Michael Graham

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2015, 12:16:57 PM »
I hope it's a belter of a lunch ! In fact if it was an overnight stay with golf included I might have said that's a fair price, but not £300 for golf and lunch. I suspect they are looking for the well heeled travelling golfer up to play Dornoch, hence the push to get the course up the rankings.

Niall

Absolutely. You would hope it is more than the pie, beans and chips that is the staple of so many clubhouses in Scotland. Beluga caviar and lobster thermidor perhaps? I wonder if they get any repeat custom or it is the sort of thing someone splashes out on once.

Michael

David_Tepper

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2015, 12:24:40 PM »
Here are "flyovers" of all 18 holes at the Carnegie Club/Skibo Castle:

http://www.carnegieclub.co.uk/carnegie-links.html

The Carnegie Club has two 4-ball teetimes available Monday to Friday for visitor play. 

Michael Graham

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2015, 12:25:04 PM »
Michael

I'm surprised that the fee is so low.  Last I heard it was £600 for a one night Dinner, Bed, Golf, Breakfast and Lunch and only allowed once in any person's lifetime (unless they fork up for a membership, which runs well into the 5 figures initiation, 4 figures annual dues category).

I wonder how much Sean paid.  Can't be much since he gives the joint a coveted 1* (based on value for money, I assume)......

John Crowley

To maximise your experience, find the court jester (Alan Grant) and tell him you know me.

rfg

PS--

Rich

I remember reading somewhere that it was possible to stay at the castle once as a non-member without joining but didn't know the price. Do you know if there are many (if any) local members or is it more of an international membership? I just finished reading Lorne Rubenstein's 'Season in Dornoch'. Is his description of Alan Grant as "gregarious" accurate?

Michael

 

David_Tepper

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2015, 12:30:47 PM »
"I remember reading somewhere that it was possible to stay at the castle once as a non-member without joining but didn't know the price"

Michael G. -

I believe this policy was discontinued when the ownership of Skibo changed hands 8-10 years ago. Only members can stay there now.

I am sure someone will let us know if I am mistaken.

DT

Sean_A

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6 New
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2015, 03:56:23 AM »
CARNEGIE LINKS CONT.

We now cross a wee lane for 7 & 8, both excellent if very different and playing in opposite directions.  On 7 it is very easy to lose a ball left while gunning for the pound seats.


There is plenty of room to lay-up, but while the hole suggests a swing in from the left near the green, in fact there is a drop-off which makes it difficult to gain the best position.




The view from the high tee on #8.


But in a rare move, we walked passed the high tees to the lower tee on Dornoch Firth.  Despite appearances, unless one is very long, very straight and a bit dotty, the driver should be removed from the bag.


By chance I happened to hit this section of the fairway which is maybe 15 yards wide.


Re-crossing the lane and passing through an ethereal lichen heath, we end the 9 with a fleshy one-shotter which has a teasingly narrow entrance up the right.


Playing to the furthest point away from the house, the 10th is a reachable par 5.  As stated earlier, one had better make his hay before turning for home. 




Occassionally modern design can bump heads with traditional appeal.  This situation of a raised wavy green edge creates a problem of where to "end" the green.  Often times an awkward cut line is the result.  As at Castle Stuart, I would prefer the mounds to be incorporated into the green even if the area is unpinnable. 


More to follow. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 04:03:27 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-10
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2015, 04:19:42 AM »
Very nice.

The more you post the more intrigued I am by the course.

There was a Shells Wonderful World of Golf episode from Skibo in the mid-1990's featuring Greg Norman and Fred Couples playing in a gale but I guess that was before the course was tweaked. The episode is probably on Youtube somewhere.

Off now to buy a lottery ticket and cross my fingers for some success!

atb

David Davis

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-10
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2015, 08:03:33 AM »
Sean,

Looks like a decent course. Interesting remark you made on the last photo. I can't help but agree with that in this case for sure. To me it looks like the green should be about 30% larger and indeed incorporate those humps you mentioned. So basically just seemingly complete that oval towards were you were standing.

Good catch there.
Next up: open to ideas!

IG: @top100golftraveler
www.top100golfcourses.com

David_Tepper

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-10
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2015, 09:50:37 AM »
Couples vs. Norman on Shell's Wonderful World of Golf at Skibo on a very windy day 15-20 years ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsAtYmrwoyQ

Rich Goodale

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2015, 10:34:45 AM »

Rich

I remember reading somewhere that it was possible to stay at the castle once as a non-member without joining but didn't know the price. Do you know if there are many (if any) local members or is it more of an international membership? I just finished reading Lorne Rubenstein's 'Season in Dornoch'. Is his description of Alan Grant as "gregarious" accurate?

Michael


Michael

To my knowledge, there are very few local members (even if you include a few white settlers who have a second home in Dornoch).  As for Alan, I don't think that "gregarious" captures his unique and complex character.

Rich
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

John Crowley

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2015, 01:25:54 PM »
Michael

I'm surprised that the fee is so low.  Last I heard it was £600 for a one night Dinner, Bed, Golf, Breakfast and Lunch and only allowed once in any person's lifetime (unless they fork up for a membership, which runs well into the 5 figures initiation, 4 figures annual dues category).

I wonder how much Sean paid.  Can't be much since he gives the joint a coveted 1* (based on value for money, I assume)......

John Crowley

To maximise your experience, find the court jester (Alan Grant) and tell him you know me.

rfg

PS--

Rich

I remember reading somewhere that it was possible to stay at the castle once as a non-member without joining but didn't know the price. Do you know if there are many (if any) local members or is it more of an international membership? I just finished reading Lorne Rubenstein's 'Season in Dornoch'. Is his description of Alan Grant as "gregarious" accurate?

Michael

 
Rich,
Thanks for the tip, I'll look for him.

Niall,
I will be playing as a course rater and will be paying only for my caddie.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-10 New
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2015, 04:20:13 PM »
CARNEGIE LINKS CONT

As hinted at earlier, the course completely changes character once we make the turn for home on 11.  Not only is play into a headwind and alongside a loch, but the land is no longer linksy. The architect may have committed the only unpardonable sin by creating what is essentially the same hole in succession.  Both 11 and 12, while not poor holes, leg right around water. 


 

12 is a better version of the concept.


After scratching your head over a recovery beer in the one third house, the round continues with a sound short hole. 


Continuing the 5 hole stretch along the loch, 14 is a well crafted par 5.


It was probably a good idea to include two par 3s in this stretch to break up the big hitting, except into the wind 15 plays big!

More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 04:10:47 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Michael Graham

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2015, 10:08:55 AM »
.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 10:14:06 AM by Michael Graham »

Michael Graham

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Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2015, 10:10:49 AM »
Michael

I'm surprised that the fee is so low.  Last I heard it was £600 for a one night Dinner, Bed, Golf, Breakfast and Lunch and only allowed once in any person's lifetime (unless they fork up for a membership, which runs well into the 5 figures initiation, 4 figures annual dues category).

I wonder how much Sean paid.  Can't be much since he gives the joint a coveted 1* (based on value for money, I assume)......

John Crowley

To maximise your experience, find the court jester (Alan Grant) and tell him you know me.

rfg

PS--

Rich

I remember reading somewhere that it was possible to stay at the castle once as a non-member without joining but didn't know the price. Do you know if there are many (if any) local members or is it more of an international membership? I just finished reading Lorne Rubenstein's 'Season in Dornoch'. Is his description of Alan Grant as "gregarious" accurate?

Michael

 
Rich,
Thanks for the tip, I'll look for him.

Niall,
I will be playing as a course rater and will be paying only for my caddie.

Now I feel even worse about paying the greenfee. How does one go about becoming a course rater  :)

Rich Goodale

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: CARNEGIE LINKS 1-6
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2015, 11:41:21 AM »
Now I feel even worse about paying the greenfee. How does one go about becoming a course rater  :)

Just e-mail Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Golf Week and tell them that you think that John Kavanaugh is an idiot, and I'm sure they'll send you a rater's card along with a hefty bill....).
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

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