They share a golfing tradition and an association with Scottish philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Now the neighbouring golf clubs at Royal Dornoch and Brora are joining forces to mark two special anniversaries.
This year Royal Dornoch Golf Club is celebrating 400 years of golf being played in the town and it is 125 years since a proper golf club was formed along the coast at Brora.
The clubs have enjoyed a long and friendly relationship over the years and have now formed a partnership to present a unique way of commemorating both significant landmarks.
A special deal will give 400 golfing enthusiasts the chance to play both courses on the same day for the fantastic price of £125. The package includes a morning round at Brora, followed by lunch and afternoon or early evening game at Royal Dornoch.
Bookings can only be made by contacting the booking office at Royal Dornoch Golf Club on +44 (0) 1862 810219 ext.1 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Royal Dornoch and Brora are renowned for their spectacular locations, the links courses set between stunning mountains and breath-taking sea views.
Golf is said to have been played on Dornoch links since the monks were recorded hitting a ball over the closed cropped grass that linked the famous cathedral to the sandy beach as they grazed their animals.
The first known recorded reference of the game being played is in 1616 when John, the 13th Earl of Sutherland, was sent to school in the town and his expenses showed that ten pounds annually was provided for “bowes, arroes, golff clubbes, and balls, with other necessars for his L[ordship’s] exercise”.
The expenses were paid by John’s uncle Sir Robert Gordon, an influential man in the court of King James VI and I, who became the earl’s tutor after the death of his father.
The golf club was formed in 1877 and the first 18-hole course was laid out in 1886 by Old Tom Morris who extended the original nine holes.
Royal Dornoch’s Championship Course, ranked No.5 in the world and No.1 in Scotland by Golf Digest this year, is a favourite of many leading professional golfers, including Ben Crenshaw, Greg Norman and Craig Stadler.
Brora, although younger and less well known than its bigger ‘sister’, nonetheless has its own legion of fans, led by five time Open winner Peter Thomson. Thomson is president of the James Braid Golfing Society whose headquarters is in Brora. The course is the most northerly golf memorial to course architect Braid in his native Scotland.
Royal Dornoch and Brora have other connections. John Sutherland, the then Dornoch administrator or secretary, laid out Brora’s first 18 holes, perhaps calling for assistance from his good friend Old Tom Morris, before Braid made later changes.
Both courses were popular with Andrew Carnegie while he stayed at nearby Skibo Castle and both he and his wife gave their name to trophies.
Mrs Carnegie and the Duchess of Sutherland were also founding patrons of the Brora Ladies Golf Club, along with a Miss Risk, an ancestor of current Brora president’s family.
And the great Jim Miller from Brora has won the Carnegie Shield at Dornoch a record ten times in the 1960s 70s and 80s.
Brora Golf Club www.broragolf.co.uk
Royal Dornoch Golf Club www.royaldornoch.com