Royal Dornoch reaches ever higher in world golf club listings

Highland Golf Links

Royal Dornoch voted 6th best golf course in the world
Renowned links is highest placed British mainland course and second in Europe
Golf Digest accolade is best ever ranking for Dornoch

Royal Dornoch Golf Club with its internationally renowned links has been given the highly noteworthy accolade of the 6th best golf course anywhere in the world according to a leading magazine Golf Digest .

The famous Sutherland area Championship Course has even been positioned above the perhaps more famous St Andrews (7), this is really stiff competition as of course St Andrews is regarded across the globe as the Home of Golf> Even Muirfield (8), which was home to The Open 2013 was two slots behind Royal Dornoch, in the list of the top 100 courses in the world drawn up by Golf Digest.

RoyalCounty Down in Northern Ireland (placed 4th) is the only course in Britain and Europe ranked higher.

Various publications have regularly featured Royal Dornoch in the world’s leading courses lists, but this is the highest position it has ever reached.

Neil Hampton, Royal Dornoch Golf Club’s general manager, said: “This is a fantastic accolade for the course and for Dornoch as a whole. Royal Dornoch is a name known around the globe and has always been regarded as one of the top courses in world terms.

“This is the highest we have ever been placed and it can only enhance our reputation and the reputation of the Highlands of Scotland as a leading golfing destination.”

Golf Digest has been ranking courses for almost 50 years, but it is the first time it has devised the World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.

A panel made up of 846 golfers from 27 international editions of the magazine completed a survey, rating courses they were familiar with on a 10-point scale.

Top of the list was PineValley in New Jersey, followed by Cypress Point in PebbleBeach and Augusta National in Georgia. In 5th spot was Shinnecock Hills in New York.

Castle Stuart Golf Links, which opened just five years ago and hosted the Scottish Open for the last three years, is ranked 87 on the list.

Both Royal Dornoch and Castle Stuart are part of the Highland Golf Links partnership organisation, along with The Nairn Golf Club and the Kingsmills Hotel and Culloden House Hotel, Inverness; the Royal Golf Hotel at Royal Dornoch and the Golf View Hotel and Spa in Nairn, to promote destination breaks.

Fraser Cromarty, chairman of HGL, said: “We are blessed with some wonderful golf courses in this part of the world and this all-time high ranking for Royal Dornoch demonstrates how golfers around the world enjoy our famous links venues.

“Having Castle Stuart on the list also shows the standard of courses in the Highlands and why golfers are so keen to make this area a must-play location.”

Royal Dornoch Golf Club was formed in 1877 and was granted a Royal charter in 1906 by King Edward VII, a close friend of the 3rd Duke of Sutherland and a frequent visitor to the area.

The first 18-hole course was laid out in 1886 by Old Tom Morris who extended the original nine holes and introduced the trademark plateau greens. John Sutherland, appointed the club secretary in 1883 and later known as the ‘father of golf’ in Dornoch, refined Morris’s course.

The seaside Championship Course is revered by professionals and amateurs alike. Major winners Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw, Craig Stadler and Greg Norman are among its fans and it is often said that Royal Dornoch is the best links course in the UK not to have hosted The Open Championship.

The steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, who built SkiboCastle, four miles along the Dornoch Firth, became vice president of the club and in 1901 he presented the members with the Carnegie Shield which was competed for in 2013 for the 100th time.

The club has 1,800 members, 700 of whom are from outside Scotland and scattered across the globe.

In 2016 the club will mark 400 years of golf being played on the town’s links. In 1616 written accounts kept by Sir Robert Gordon, the tutor or guardian of John, 13th Earl of Sutherland, showed that the then schoolboy earl spent £10 on bows and arrows, golf clubs and balls.

In 2013 the club joined with the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for History, based in the town, to establish a three-year PhD studentship to research its golfing history as part of an investigation into sport and culture in the wider Moray Firth coastal region from 1600-1800.

In all, 14 Scottish courses made the world top 100 list. They are – Royal Dornoch (6), St Andrews (7),  Muirfield (8), Turnburry (19), Carnoustie (31), Kingsbarns (50), Trump International, Balmedie (56), Machrihanish, Campbeltown (57), North Berwick (65), CrudenBay (70), Royal Aberdeen (73), Royal Troon (76), Castle Stuart (87) and Loch Lomond (90)