I dubiously added this thrill-a-minute nine-holer to my latest Scottish golf trip because whilst it did not feature in the True Links book I had heard reports it should have been included as a genuine links.
My conclusion was that not only should it have been listed in the book but it should have had a page of its own because golf courses like this are few and far between. Quirk meets quality and these two ingredients always make for a tasty recipe.
It’s hard to believe what you are seeing at times on this compact tract of duneland just west of Fraserburgh in the North-East corner of Aberdeenshire on the Moray Firth. At just 4,460 yards and a par 62 if you go round twice (you should) it packs a massive punch into its modest figures.
You get an inkling of something special when you play the opening hole – a semi-blind par-three to a green set in a deep dell. The next, another short hole, is no less outrageous as we play to a green that slopes dramatically away from us. This is a really fun and quick start to the round.
Then the real quality starts. The 3rd, 4th and 5th are a truly terrific set of two-shotters as we first play through dunes to a hidden green then do it again at the next before we tackle the more exposed 5th where its brilliant green perilously hangs off the side of a dune.
This trio of holes reminded me of another crazy course – Perranporth in Cornwall. The fourth here is a miniature version of the par-five second at the Cornish links as the fairway zig-zags upwards to a secret green and gives you the same sense of brilliant uncertainty as to exactly where you are heading.
Two more one-shotters follow – the first a quaint but taxing drop-shot hole to a green circled by bunkers (reminiscent of the 8th on the Channel course at Burnham & Berrow) and then the next which is a much longer affair again to a mind-boggling green which slants away and contains many portions.
The eighth and ninth head back towards the car park and are situated further away from the sea and whilst they are probably the two weakest holes on the layout the sloping greens provide enough interest to get this course over the line as an absolute gem.
All-in-all Rosehearty is one of those courses where you just have to soak it all in because at times it’s hard to believe what you are seeing.
The game of golf has the ability to take you on amazing journeys to the most wondrous places where you meet such interesting people.
It was an impulsive, crazy… and some would say utterly ridiculous… decision that took me to The Machrie in the Spring of 2018.