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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Humble ISLE OF HARRIS GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour New
« on: May 19, 2024, 11:00:25 AM »
Another honesty box course.


Our island journey continued north via ferry to Leverburgh on the Isle of Harris. We had what may have been the best meal of the trip at the newly opened Isle of Harris Brewery in what passes for a town, Leverburgh. The next day we tackled Scarista. Neither of us was sure that a game of golf is what we needed as the conditions were less than ideal. It looked as though it may rain buckets at any minute. The 40-mph wind and 7C temperature didnít help matters. After some thoughtful time sitting in the wind bashed car, we got out and soldiered on. Needless to say, we were the only golfers on the scene. There was a lone greenkeeper doing some work near the 2nd tee and he graciously let us into the house.



A new comer by Scottish British standards, the course was originally designed around 1912. The club wasnít established until 1930. In less than a decade the course was abandoned due to the war. It wasnít until 1985 that this belter above Scarista Beach was re-opened. The reconstituted club started with 39 members. At this time lambing took precedence in May so the course was closed during this month!!! Eventually the land was purchased in 2000 which involved a complex land swap. 

Don't visit on Sundays!




The opener must usually be a friendly handshake as it is short 250ish downhill yards. On this day, that was not the case.


I imagine often times golfers would take dead aim at the green tucked behind a mound. Today was a bit different given the brutish right to left 40+mph wind.


Perhaps Scarista's best hole, the sub 300 yarder legs left around (or over) a rocky section of the coast. The fairway is reminiscent of a banked NASCAR track feeding directly to the green. A small, blind bunker is set in the swale shy of the green.


I am not sure this half-pipe green is completely natural. The left side may be man-made.




A look at the green from near the 3rd tee.


Climbing directly toward the car park, the 3rd completes an admirable boozer loop. So long as the steeply uphill approach doesn't veer too far left or right, most shots will finish in similar locations.


Right of the green. The approach is from the left.


Behind the green.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 15, 2024, 10:33:08 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Handsome Isle of Harris GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-3
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2024, 11:43:15 AM »
looks fantastic.
Have not yet made the pilgrimage to Scarista or Askernish.
The Sunday thing is good to know...
How would you compare Scarista to Durness(one of my favorites)?
"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

David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Handsome Isle of Harris GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-3
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2024, 12:04:15 PM »
"The Sunday thing is good to know..."

I am not 100% sure what the current state of affairs is regarding ferry travel between the Hebrides and the mainland, but for many years the ferries did not run on Sundays.

A little bit of research shows the ferries do now run on Sundays. For many years they did not.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2024, 12:08:57 PM by David_Tepper »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Handsome Isle of Harris GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-3
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2024, 12:13:10 PM »
looks fantastic.
Have not yet made the pilgrimage to Scarista or Askernish.
The Sunday thing is good to know...
How would you compare Scarista to Durness(one of my favorites)?

Never played Durness Jeff. We were lucky with the Sunday. I had no idea the course was closed Sundays! Other than TOC, I don't recall coming across another course closed Sundays.

David

I realize there has been a lot of problems with ferries in Scotland. Yet, we didn't have any issues and it was out of season. It gives me encouragement to revisit. I especially enjoyed Harris...cool island.

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 19, 2024, 02:22:31 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Handsome Isle of Harris GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-3
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2024, 01:05:08 PM »
Sean -

The issue with the ferries running on Sundays (and golf not being played) was/is one of observing and respecting the Sabbath. Per wikipedia, the Hebrides are "the last bastion of Sabbath observance in the UK." The entry also notes the ferries began running on Sundays in 2002

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_Outer_Hebrides

DT

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Handsome Isle of Harris GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-3
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2024, 01:54:21 PM »
Religion is a serious business in the Hebrides. Lewis, Harris and North Uist (the northern half of the archipelago) are very, very Calvinist and ferociously Sabbatarian. Lord Mackay, the former Lord Chancellor, who came from that part of the world, was expelled from his church because he attended a Catholic mass. The fact that it was the funeral of a colleague cut no ice.

I believe that I have mentioned on here before that, perhaps 25 years ago, I was on Lewis for a friendís wedding. We rented a cottage, and the notice board in it had a sheet saying ĎDo not hang out washing or allow your children to play football on a Sunday as it will offend the localsí.

From Benbecula south, the islands are Catholic. I donít want to make any comments on the respective religions, but the Catholic islands tend to be more relaxing for the visitor.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2024, 01:59:52 PM by Adam Lawrence »
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.

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Handsome Isle of Harris GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-3
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2024, 04:34:00 PM »
I stayed with a friend in Lewis - 30 years ago - and was not allowed out of the house on the Sunday other than to a 90 minute Church service in the morning (in Gaelic) and a 90 minute service in the evening (in English). We were given dispensation by the parents to play board games as I was a guest. Normally it was a bible reading day only.

Paul Rudovsky

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Handsome Isle of Harris GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-3
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2024, 09:03:24 PM »
Am going over to play Isle of Harris on Friday 7/12.  I went to Askernish w my bride for two days in 2017 and we loved it.  This will be a short visit.  Have Harris, Royal St David's, and 4 holes each from Pennard and Minchinhampton-Old left to have played every course Fearless Leader Ran has included on his "147 Custodians" lists to date.  In 2023 was driven off Pennard and Minch by impossible weather and cancelled R St David's for same reason.  Hopefully my luck will improve this year

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Handsome Isle of Harris GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-3
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2024, 09:05:19 AM »
Am going over to play Isle of Harris on Friday 7/12.  I went to Askernish w my bride for two days in 2017 and we loved it.  This will be a short visit.  Have Harris, Royal St David's, and 4 holes each from Pennard and Minchinhampton-Old left to have played every course Fearless Leader Ran has included on his "147 Custodians" lists to date.  In 2023 was driven off Pennard and Minch by impossible weather and cancelled R St David's for same reason.  Hopefully my luck will improve this year


Wow.
That's impressive.
Not sure I'd complete the list that way(would kill me to be near so many other great places and bolt) but a pretty cool set of courses on Ran's list.
Congrats.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2024, 11:03:04 AM 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

Paul Rudovsky

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Handsome ISLE OF HARRIS GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-3
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2024, 09:41:15 AM »
Jeff--


Thanks.  Had previously been to the other really great ones...as have played every course that has ever been on w well recognized world 100  ;D ;D


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Humble ISLE OF HARRIS GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-3
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2024, 09:20:45 AM »
Paul

Enjoy!

Isle of Harris Tour Cont

The fun doesn't let up on the 4th. The green may be the biggest punchbowl I have seen! All one has to do on this short par 3 is reach the green and Bob's yer uncle. The setting is no hardship!


Several holes had the flag sticks blown out.


A closer look. A two-putt is not guaranteed.


Something is amiss on the 5th. There is a walk back up to the hill to a spot above what looks to be an old green. It seems like there should be a hole playing uphill to this location. Instead, we head sharply downhill for Scarista's only three-shotter. I think this used to be the 9th. What is now the 9th plays over what was the 5th. Perhaps I am mistaken, but something has changed. It is quite obvious once the green is spotted. It is located awkwardly over a hill rather than at the end of a natural fairway....the hole abruptly turns blindly right. Maybe a change was made for the round to end closer to the house?


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 27, 2024, 04:55:30 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Humble ISLE OF HARRIS GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-5
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2024, 04:46:10 PM »
I'm
So
Annoyed
I
Didnt
Play
This
Course
While
On
The
Outer
Hebrides!!!
 >:(


Ran's write up and yours, only emphasise what I missed. Many thanks, and look forward to the rest!


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

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Humble ISLE OF HARRIS GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-5
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2024, 04:23:16 AM »
Great stuff.
Courses like this are the essence of the game and hopefully will be around forever.
You donít need fancy frills to enjoy playing golf.
Atb

Emil Weber

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Humble ISLE OF HARRIS GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-5
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2024, 09:56:00 AM »
Hi Sean,
thanks for the tour! Isle of Harris is one of my favourite places anywhere, I was there in 2018 and 2022.
You are indeed right, they switched the routing of the 5th and 9th holes sometime in between that. I didn't mind the change when I was there again, but just looked at some of my photos of 2018 and do have to agree with you. They're both not stronger holes than they were before and the par 5 makes more sense uphill!


Here's a look at the old 5th which played down what is now the 9th fairway to the current 5th green:

And back up towards the tee:


And this is the old 9th from the tee which must be near the current 5th green:

And further up the fairway:


Edit: damn, it's been a while since I posted photos. Will try again later. You may be able to see them here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/200760311@N03/

« Last Edit: May 27, 2024, 09:59:53 AM by Emil Weber »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Humble ISLE OF HARRIS GC: 2023-24 Winter Tour 1-5 New
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2024, 09:03:12 AM »
Hi Sean,
thanks for the tour! Isle of Harris is one of my favourite places anywhere, I was there in 2018 and 2022.
You are indeed right, they switched the routing of the 5th and 9th holes sometime in between that. I didn't mind the change when I was there again, but just looked at some of my photos of 2018 and do have to agree with you. They're both not stronger holes than they were before and the par 5 makes more sense uphill!

Emil

Thank you. Perhaps the club didn't like the 5th playing toward the road?

Isle of Harris Tour Cont

It looks like nothing, but the 6th is a good hole. The yardage is about 220, but plays as a dogleg right par 4. The drive plays blindly into an oblong depression which is where the green is. Below is a view of the green from near the entrance to the depression.


The bantam green is well defended by a fronting bunker. I have no idea why there are plantings to the rear of the green...it looks awful. 


I couldn't see the 7th green from the tee, but it played long. I hit driver to cover the 160 yards. Talk about Dr Mac's Camouflage Theory! Trust me, the green is out there and it leans sharply to the right.


The sea is clearly visible! This is the view near the tee.


Despite a great feature to carry, the 8th is not a memorable hole. With the flagsticks knocked out of the holes its hard to see the target.


I gather the 9th used to play up the current 5th fairway. The hole now climbs over rugged, steep ground to a green dug into the hillside. The ditch was a difficult carry for me on the day.


The approach. I like this hole much more than the 5th and it does allow the round to finish near the house despite it not being in view. The house is constructed of old shipping containers cleverly placed into a hillside. This way there isn't eyesore construction to mess up the view for the houses above the course.


The club has developed a plan to upgrade the house which isn't in the best of condition.  We shall see what comes of it.


Scarista may best be known for its Faldo Fiver. Nick Faldo dropped a signed fiver in the honesty box in the early 90s prior to there being a house. The club now plays annual competition for the Fiver. Although, I am not convinced this is the original note!


Itís no surprise that I enjoyed Isle of Harris. The course ticks many of my boxes. Exhilarating holes; among several good holes, the 2nd may be an All-Scotland candidate. Smashing setting. Compact design. Good walk. Relatively short. Highly affordable. There is no doubt that Scarista is one of my top favourites. I will definitely want to return. 1*  2024

Previous Stops on the 2023-24 Winter Tour

Cleeve Hill
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49796.0.html

Huntercombe
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32228.0.html

Minehead
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,72699.0.html

Westward Ho!
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,66480.0.html

Notts
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,33988.0.html

Goswick
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,64104.0.html

Kilspindie
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,66109.msg1581740.html#msg1581740

North Berwick
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,59363.0.html

Renaissance
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,58937.0.html

Gatehouse
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,72768.0.html

St Medan
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,72782.0.html

Turnberry
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,72818.0.html

Askernish
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,72861.0.html

Benbecula
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,72872.0.html

Planned 2023-24 Winter Tour Stops

Traigh
Aberdovey

Ciao 
« Last Edit: May 30, 2024, 03:54:34 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

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