Early during the Coronavirus Lockdown, I was very concerned. Not only was the world shut down, it looked like Brora might not be there when it reopened.
Fortunately, the golfing community got behind a campaign to save it. Brora sold over 60 new memberships - 7 of which were £10k life memberships. People like No Laying Up and Geoff Shackelford, amongst many others, got behind a fundraising campaign that ultimately saved this great club.
Brora was laid out in 1891. Like others in the area, it was the Dornoch Secretary John Sutherland who extended the links from 9 to 18 holes in the early years. JH Taylor worked on the course too, but it was fellow Great Triumverate member - James Braid - who is credited with the design as we know it today.
Braid visited in 1923 - and 97 years later, it remains the base of The Braid Society. The links he redesigned is an anticlockwise out and back layout. You first play North, away from the mouth of the River Brora with the North Sea on your right.
The terrain is ideal golfing land. Rumpled and creased fairways, intersecting burns, revetted bunkers and proud sand dunes provide the more conventional links hazards. The electric fences around the greens, flocks of grazing sheep and the occasional Highland Cow (or Coo) the less conventional.
Often, livestock on the links means it can be only the tatty side of rugged. Not so here, the conditioning - especially considering everything the small team has faced this year - was excellent.
Notable holes include the 5th - with the Clynne Burn to traverse. The 9th is a splendid par 3, while 16 requires a well placed drive and deft pitch up a steep hill to find the green.
18 is a brutish par 3 to finish. When you are safe in the clubhouse post round, I can imagine it a good spot to spend time - revelling in the misfortune of those trying to close out their score.
Brora is great. It's one of my favourite on the stretch of coast North of Inverness. The fact it has been saved is one of the good things to come from 2020, but I imagine the relative precariousness of its financial situation remains. Therefore, there is only one thing for it. We must go and play it.
While you're here...! If you're looking for a Christmas gift for a golfer, may I humbly suggest a 2021 Links Calendar? 12 of my favourite courses to visit when the world is back open for business, and more importantly, golf. Thanks for following, Sam.
👉 CLICK HERE 👈
Brora and Golspie are both very enjoyable courses and are both worth the trip from Dornoch. I had no idea that Brora was in danger of shutting, so glad it has been saved.