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James Boon

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2019, 01:20:26 PM »
Jim,


I can only echo what several others have said. Its looking a great trip now! However I'll add a few further comments just in case plans change in any way...


If you go straight to Ullapool, you are cutting cross country and missing a lot of what most people really consider the main attraction of the NC500 and thats the scenery on the west coast. The road over to Applecross is stunning with great views of Skye.

Ive only ever eaten at Kylsku but I believe the accommodation is very good. Depending on flight times or how much you want to loop around the south west corner of the NC500, the hotel or the Inn at Torridon is a nice stop off point for food or an alternative place to stay from Ullapool.


In the interest of adding variety / alternative options, you could head inland from Reay taking the road to Helmsdale that passes Forsinard. Forsinard is a special spot of extremely rare flow country habitat and a delightful timber viewing platform (that was helicoptered in to avoid damaging the habitat) to look at over the nature reserve. Full disclosure is that my parents live in Helmsdale and Forsinard is a favourite spot for my wife and I. Perhaps not the most spectacular but very special.


This cuts out Reay and Wick but perhaps opens up Brora (YOU MUST PLAY BRORA!!!) and some of the others that way.


By contrast Caithness, the north east tip of the NC500 can initially seem quite dull from a scenery perspective, but there is still plenty to see and do if you are out that way. John O'Groats is a none event but the gin at Rock Rose distillery is very nice, as is the whisky at Old Pultney in Wick. Duncansby Head is a nice spot and worth the walk south the the sea stacks about a mile down the coast. If you dont head to Orkney there are great views of it from Dunnet Head.


Of course all this misses out another couple of gems up that way, Bonar Bridge and Tarbat (at Portmahomak). Wonderful 9 hole courses, that you probably wont have time for but I mention incase others are thinking of similar trips.


Keep us up to date with exact plans as I'm often up that way at the moment if you needed a third for a game of golf?


Cheers,


James


2023 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Aberdovey, Royal St Davids, Woodhall Spa, Broadstone, Parkstone, Cleeve, Painswick, Minchinhampton, Hoylake

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

James Boon

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2019, 01:21:12 PM »
ps So when is the return trip to play Askernish?  ;D
2023 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Aberdovey, Royal St Davids, Woodhall Spa, Broadstone, Parkstone, Cleeve, Painswick, Minchinhampton, Hoylake

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

David_Tepper

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2019, 01:42:11 PM »
Jim S. -

The Badachro Inn is very near Gairloch and is a very scenic spot for lunch on a sunny day. I have not been there in several years, so I cannot vouch for the kitchen these days. But the food was just fine when we were there.

https://www.badachroinn.com/

DT

David_Tepper

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2019, 02:05:43 PM »
Jim S. -

You might also take a look at the Forss House Hotel, a "country house hotel" on the north coast near Thurso. Again in a very scenic spot and again I have not been there in a number of years.

https://www.forsshousehotel.co.uk/

DT

Jim Sherma

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2020, 01:21:13 PM »
Itinerary - Take 3 - Exact dates still TBD

Thank you all fo rhelping me put this together
Could add or subtract golf on a given day based on weather or desire.

Day 1: Land Inverness -> Drive to Gairloch (1:45) - Stay in Gairloch - Play Gairloch GC
Day 2: Wend up to Ullapool (1:30) - Play Ullapool GC - Stay in Ullapool
Day 3: Summer Island Cruise from Ullapool Harbor - Stay in Ullapool
Day 4: Drive to Durness (1:45) - Stop along way at Kylesku Hotel for lunch and possible boat tour - Play Durness GC this day or next depending on timing - Stay in Durness
Day 5: Wend our way to Reay along North Coast (~ 2hrs) - Include Dunnet Head - Stay in Reay/Thurso
Day 6: Play Reay - Drive to Brora (1:30) - Stop to check out Forsinard Flows (thanks James)
Day 7:  Tour area around in and around Brora - rest day in general - anything low impact to check out (Dunrobin Castle?)
Day 8: Play Brora - Drive to Inverness airport (1:20) - Stay at airport
Day 9: Fly Out

Could add a day to stay in Inverness and/or play 2nd day at Brora or Fortrose & Rosemarkie - will determine based on exact flights. Once flights locked in I will make all reservations.

David_Tepper

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2020, 03:41:52 PM »
Jim -

A visit to Dunrobin Castle is recommended. A "great house" in the true sense of the word. Do not miss the falconry show there.

http://www.dunrobincastle.co.uk/

If you are in the mood and have the time, "the Big Burn Walk," just south of Dunrobin, is also worthwhile. It is a nice 20-minute walk up a gorge/canyon that takes you to a modest waterfall.

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/sutherland/big-burn.shtml

DT 

David_Tepper

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2020, 12:58:23 PM »
Jim S. -

One more worthwhile tourist stop along the North Coast is the Castle of Mey, east of Thurso. It was the private residence of the Queen Mother for many years.

https://www.castleofmey.org.uk/

It is not as "grand" as Dunrobin.

DT

P.S. A new hotel is set to open adjacent to the Inverness Airport this spring:

https://www.northern-times.co.uk/news/inverness-airport-hotel-opening-delayed-until-end-february-188978/
« Last Edit: January 03, 2020, 01:41:52 PM by David_Tepper »

David_Tepper

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2020, 10:25:13 AM »
The Inverewe Gardens, on the west coast near Gairloch, is another worthwhile tourist attraction.

https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/inverewe

Not sure whether or not your son would enjoy it. ;)



James Reader

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2020, 02:16:36 PM »
The Torridon Inn might be worth looking at as a place to stay on your first night. It is about 50 minutes or so south of Gairloch but itís a spectacular setting.  And if you wanted a bit of an adventure for you both straight of the flight in an unfamiliar hire car, you could drive across the nearby Bealach-na-Ba pass to Applecross and then round the coast road to the Torridon.




Adam Lawrence

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2020, 02:07:58 PM »
Just in case anyone likes the sound of James's post and doesn't do enough research: the Bealach na Ba (the pass of the cattle) was the only road connecting the Applecross peninsula with the outside world until the 1960s. It is the third highest paved road in the UK, and with gradients in excess of 20 per cent it is not recommended for learner drivers or large vehicles.


It is an amazing road, but don't take it if you're a nervous driver!
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

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

James Reader

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2020, 02:15:15 PM »
Just in case anyone likes the sound of James's post and doesn't do enough research: the Bealach na Ba (the pass of the cattle) was the only road connecting the Applecross peninsula with the outside world until the 1960s. It is the third highest paved road in the UK, and with gradients in excess of 20 per cent it is not recommended for learner drivers or large vehicles.


It is an amazing road, but don't take it if you're a nervous driver!




I did say it was a bit of an adventure!

Paul Rudovsky

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2020, 09:52:34 PM »
Adam Lawrence had it right if you are looking for a quick trip.  We did it two years ago by:


Day 1---fly Glasgow to Benbecula (spelling?) non stop...22 mile drive to course...play Askernish in PM
Day 2---play Askernish in morning, drive 22 miles north to Benbecula, and fly to Inverness (one stop, no change in planes) and then headed to Dornoch and Brora etc...


so you can do Askernish AND North Coast!!


Not sure if flight schedules still available but would be 95% sure they are not this time of year!!  I think Logan Air does the flights and they publish their schedules a few months in advance


Someone (I do not recall who) called Askernish "The Holy Grail" and that is a perfect description IMO.  Amazing place.  Simply loved it.  Most natural golf course I have ever seen...and thank you Tom Doak for your contributions to its re-discovery.  Well worth the time and $$ if you are a lover of golf architecture. 


There is a very nice hotel about 2 miles south of course but i forget its name. 

Sean_A

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #37 on: January 07, 2020, 05:06:43 AM »
I looked into Askernish for this summer. IMO the flights from Glasgow were prohibitively expensive (£200 from Glasgow) for a one night stop. Hearing of the awful rough and knowing how terrible the weather can be was enough to dissuade me from spending the extra dosh this time. Maybe one day...for now it will be the Morayshire Coast.

Ciao
« Last Edit: January 07, 2020, 05:54:28 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Iona, Tobermory, Minehead & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Jim Sherma

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #38 on: January 07, 2020, 07:56:34 AM »
Askernish is off the table for this year. The travel logistics, expense and thought of brutal rough does not make it fit for me and my son at this time. It is definitely a place that I feel a need to play and will try to make it happen in the next few years. I think what I have envisioned is a nice adventure with some good golf and enough non-golf time together to hang out and enjoy the highlands.


Admittedly, Gairloch, Ullapool, Durness, Reay and Brora is not going to be the centerpiece of too many golfer's itinerary. Still the adventure and fun quotient should be high. My son and I are each planning on taking a half-set each so we only need to check one travel golf bag with my Jones carry bag rolled up in my luggage. Now I just need to lock in the flights once my wife gives the thumb's up on the spend and then make all of the needed reservations.

Thomas Dai

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #39 on: January 07, 2020, 08:25:01 AM »
Irrespective of the height of the rough Iíd be happy to give Askernish a play or two or more.
As to getting there, you can fly with Logan Air from Inverness to/from Benbecula, which is the airport just up the road from Askernish. Can be expensive but less so if book in advance. You can also fly to/from Stornaway or go for the beach landing at Barra but with these two youíll also need the odd short ferry crossing.
Atb

jeffwarne

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2020, 09:28:54 AM »
Irrespective of the height of the rough Iíd be happy to give Askernish a play or two or more.
As to getting there, you can fly with Logan Air from Inverness to/from Benbecula, which is the airport just up the road from Askernish. Can be expensive but less so if book in advance. You can also fly to/from Stornaway or go for the beach landing at Barra but with these two youíll also need the odd short ferry crossing.
Atb


with Stornaway landing you get the added bonus of Isle of Harris GC, though with Barra you get the Barra GC.
of course you could do all three.. ;D ;D :o :o
so many trips, so little time....
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Mark Mammel

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2020, 12:57:16 AM »
I think the key here is at 13, how keen is your son for wild golf- since Askernish, which I've played many times, is hard core! it's old fashioned, as in minimal maintenance to reproduce the golf of the 19th rather than the 20th century. It has majestic holes and real golf- but may not be much for for a young guy likely seeing Scotland the first time. South Uist, where it is located, is a spare landscape with a minimalist kind of beauty. I guess what I'm saying is it's wonderful you are taking your son to Scotland. Be sure he has fun and isn't overwhelmed by the golf you long to play.
So much golf to play, so little time....

Mark

Mark Pearce

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2020, 11:00:06 AM »
I think the key here is at 13, how keen is your son for wild golf- since Askernish, which I've played many times, is hard core! it's old fashioned, as in minimal maintenance to reproduce the golf of the 19th rather than the 20th century. It has majestic holes and real golf- but may not be much for for a young guy likely seeing Scotland the first time. South Uist, where it is located, is a spare landscape with a minimalist kind of beauty. I guess what I'm saying is it's wonderful you are taking your son to Scotland. Be sure he has fun and isn't overwhelmed by the golf you long to play.
Perfectly put. 

Jim Sherma

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North Coast and Highlands - Dates Locked In
« Reply #43 on: January 20, 2020, 03:49:32 PM »
Dates: Leave US on June 14 - Fly Back June 24


Itinerary - Take 4

Thank you all for helping me put this together


June 15: Land Inverness 15:00 -> Drive to Inverness (0:15) - Stay in Inverness - See Loch Ness
June 16: Drive to Gairloch (1:45) - Stay in Gairloch - Play Gairloch GC
June 17: Wend up to Ullapool (1:30) - Play Ullapool GC - Stay in Ullapool
June 18: Summer Island Cruise from Ullapool Harbor - Drive to Kylesku (0:50) - Stay in Kylesku
June 19: Drive to Durness (1:00) - Play Durness GC  - Stay in Durness
June 20: Wend our way to Reay along North Coast (~ 2hrs) - Include Dunnet Head - Stay in Reay/Thurso
June 21: Play Reay - Drive to Brora (1:30) - Stop to check out Forsinard Flows en route
June 22: Tour area around in and around Brora - rest day in general - Dunrobin Castle
June 23: Play Brora - Drive to Inverness airport (1:20) - Stay at airport
June 24: Fly Out

Will be making reservations in the next week or so. Any additional thoughts are well appreciated.


David_Tepper

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #44 on: January 20, 2020, 06:31:26 PM »
Jim -

I will be in Dornoch the last 3 weeks of May. If anything that might be of interest pops up, I will post about it here.

DT

P.S. Here is a thread I started a couple of years ago about non-golf tourist sights in & around Dornoch. I would certainly encourage you to drive into Dornoch, walk around the center of town and then walk up to the Royal Dornoch clubhouse and 1st tee for a look around.

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,65828.msg1571554.html#msg1571554
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 06:36:40 PM by David_Tepper »

jeffwarne

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Re: North Coast and Highlands - Dates Locked In
« Reply #45 on: September 06, 2023, 10:32:47 AM »
Dates: Leave US on June 14 - Fly Back June 24


Itinerary - Take 4

Thank you all for helping me put this together


June 15: Land Inverness 15:00 -> Drive to Inverness (0:15) - Stay in Inverness - See Loch Ness
June 16: Drive to Gairloch (1:45) - Stay in Gairloch - Play Gairloch GC
June 17: Wend up to Ullapool (1:30) - Play Ullapool GC - Stay in Ullapool
June 18: Summer Island Cruise from Ullapool Harbor - Drive to Kylesku (0:50) - Stay in Kylesku
June 19: Drive to Durness (1:00) - Play Durness GC  - Stay in Durness
June 20: Wend our way to Reay along North Coast (~ 2hrs) - Include Dunnet Head - Stay in Reay/Thurso
June 21: Play Reay - Drive to Brora (1:30) - Stop to check out Forsinard Flows en route
June 22: Tour area around in and around Brora - rest day in general - Dunrobin Castle
June 23: Play Brora - Drive to Inverness airport (1:20) - Stay at airport
June 24: Fly Out

Will be making reservations in the next week or so. Any additional thoughts are well appreciated.


BUMP.
Just wondering.
Did you ever make this trip at a later date?
2020 seems so long ago-hope you either got to or eventually get to.
Planning a similar trip at some point if not asap.
I've been to Durness, Gairloch and Brora.
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Jim Sherma

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #46 on: September 06, 2023, 10:52:17 AM »
Thanks for bumping this. The answer is no - the trip was cancelled due to Covid and we were able to got almost everything cancelled or deferred. Leaving some money on the table of a couple of the clubs did not bother me as I am sure they needed it more than I did at that point. British Air made good on the $-value of the air fare but not the trip itself. We ended up using the vouchers to go to Ireland in 2022 instead. We flew in and out of Dublin and played Greencastle x2, Ballreagh, Buncrana x2, and North West x2 over 10 days. A great trip that went off without a hitch.


We are planning on the trip described in this thread in 2025 after my son graduates from High School. The North Coast trio of Durness, Reay and Wick is still a white whale for me and I want to see Brora, Fortrose and Rosemarkie, and Dornoch as well. Askernish is probably not in the cards due to logistics and cost.


The only fly in the ointment could be that my son is looking into applying to the Naval Academy. Depending on how the summer timing goes, if he gets in, we would have to work around that.

jeffwarne

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #47 on: September 17, 2023, 02:13:27 PM »
Well, on very short notice, I did the trip.
Planned it out on a Wednesday night, flew on a Sunday.



Connected into Inverness through Heathrow.
(Almost) no problems with delays and none with luggage.
Connections lined up very nicely for golf on both arrival AND departure day, very unusual for Scotland, where direct flights out of EDI are usually morning affairs.
5 nights,6 days of golf


Day 1.arrive Inverness and play Brora
         2.Golspie and Dornoch
          3. Wick
           4. Reay and Durness
          5. Ullapool and Ullapool (was supposed to play Bonar Bridge but enjoyed Ullapool so much we ate lunch and went out again
           6. Fortrose and Rosemarkie   and fly out of Inverness

Below is NOT a ranking, but commentary


1.Reay---Biggest positive surprise for first time play. Very rustic, warm welcome before and after(we were the only ones playing on a beautiful sunny day)
Raw, fun golf. Stern 233 yard par 3 opener and par 3 finisher. Good variety playing in a variety of different directions.
Good elevation change and many unique holes.
The only nit might be the narrow strippy native between the parallel fairways. Like Wick ,very hard to find a ball in the native.
I will DEFINITELY return.


2.Golspie-had played it before, but was very impressed. The place oozes texture, scenery and variety.
Probably the favorite course of the trip by the group.
Great to catch up again with GCAer David Tepper

3.Durness-still magical. Incredible variety, remoteness and Big Sky feeling.
  The drive in from the east and out to the south is simply the most scenic drive I've ever taken.Moreso on this trip-perhaps because my drive direction was reversed.

4. Brora-very friendly welcome, still the great mostly unspoiled course it once was. A good choice right off the plane with wide sheep mown corridors.
Remains a favorite of mine. Definitely a bit busier these days-such is life.

5. Ullapool-mostly inland and they are planting many stupid trees, but the four holes along the water are just jaw dropping.
The other holes are mostly enjoyable and the 30 mph wind we had made for high entertainment value. No one reached the 181 downhill second from 181 yards, and the same group drove multiple 300 plus yard par 4's at Fortrose, Golspie etc.

6. Fortrose-highly playable on a calm day, limited variety on a windless day, mostly compelling holes and the best natural links grass conditioning-firm and fast(best greens on the trip).Perhaps lacking in variety and on the short side. Cool, unique site on a compact piece of property.

7. Dornoch. Had played it before, returned because the other three in my party hadn't played it. It's a very,very good links course, but Scotland has many.
Very good par 3's but we've all heard about them(especially the greens on #2 and 6). I preferred the par 3's at Golspie for variety.
Foxy, #14 is amazing green, making an amazing hole.
The pandemic, and America's discovery and unadulterated praise and love for the course has done it and the club no favors IMHO.
Either it's been in a micro climate lately(compared to nearby places it was far more green) or they feel compelled to use their fairway irrigation.
I had similar emotions when I played it in 2006, noting at the time the Disneyland like/factory like feel. Perhaps I just caught it on two bad days, but there I was, part of the problem.
I suspect this was not the case in 1985.
Great course and place, but to a man, we far preferred the rawness and remoteness of the other places by a lot.


8. Wick- very remote , another place we were the only people there.fairways a bit meadowy-straight out and back made some of the drives on both nines feel a bit repetitive.
Very interesting greens -perhaps the best of the trip in terms of interest and design..  A good links course with some very good views from tees.
Hit the fairways or lose the ball.

400 miles of driving in a Ford Galaxy van-great car.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 01:06:44 PM by jeffwarne »
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Ken Moum

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #48 on: September 17, 2023, 05:05:39 PM »
Jeff, wished been able to meet last week. Tepper told me you were coming but my wife and I were headed to Reay the day you played Golspie and then we did a day tour in the Orkneys.


I agree that Reay is a treat. And the five par threes at Golspie are unlike any on one course I've experienced.


Dornoch in its current format is interesting.  The procession of four balls with red-bibbed caddies on the most perfect links fairways I've seen does seem surreal.


We just played Fortrose on Friday and compared to Reay and Golspie, it's a little...boring?



Over time, the guy in the ideal position derives an advantage, and delivering him further  advantage is not worth making the rest of the players suffer at the expense of fun, variety, and ultimately cost -- Jeff Warne, 12-08-2010

Daryl David

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #49 on: September 17, 2023, 07:40:02 PM »
Jeff,
Agree with your comments on all the courses. Great trip!  I probably liked Wick a bit more than you did. Maybe because it was a glorious day and we were alone on the course.  That alone makes you love a place.  I hope Covid hasnít done the damage to Dornoch like you say. Itís such a special place. Wish I could have played it in 1985. Par 3s are great!  Especially number 10 since I aced it with Tepper sort of witnessing as he was in the group behind us. GCA is a small world.

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