In many ways that is a real shame, however, it is also its main strength because the golf on offer here is not only very good but also quite unique in the Scottish golfing landscape.
There are very few high quality modern, inland golf courses in Scotland but the Roxburghe certainly fits the bill and the location, close to Kelso in The Borders, is absolutely wonderful.
Designed by Dave Thomas and opened for play in 1997 this championship-standard golf course is a stern test of golf played across a sprawling estate. It can stretch to over 7,100 yards and the many deep bunkers and water hazards ensure that not only length is required to master this thoughtful design.
It does meet all the usual tick-marks for a golf course built in the last few decades. Hotel on site. Two returning loops. Par 72 (36 both sides). Multiple tee boxes. 4 par fives. 4 par threes. USGA spec greens. Wide fairways etc..
The bunkering, of which there is a lot, is really well done though and makes you think on your tee-shots as well as when playing into the greens. Conditioning and the way the course was presented was very good on my visit in June 2022.
The course reminded me a little of Close House in Northumberland.
The terrain is certainly undulating and the course follows the contours of the property nicely but is fairly hilly in places, yes I'm thinking of the ninth in particular! On the plus side this does give some wonderful views of the countryside from the high spots. As you might expect there are a few tough green-to-tee walks (2 to 3, 7 to 8, 11 to 12 and 13 to 14) too so if walking is a challenge then this is a course you may consider taking a buggy.
There are some very nice touches throughout the round; the stone wall running the length of second hole is well integrated and water hazards at the par three 4th and short 13th blend in well. The drive at the iconic 14th, with the Teviot River running alongside and a viaduct acting as a backdrop, is thrilling.
Pleasingly there is very little repetitiveness with each of the holes having their own strategy and style. The downhill, dog-legging 10th is one that standouts but there are many strong holes.
I wasn't a fan of the final par-three (the 15th) - maybe it was because it played strongly downwind - the steep slope directly in front of the elevated green (which also falls from back to front) simply meant that the only way to play the hole was with a very high aerial shot, however, even with a perfect shot stopping the ball on the green was impossible. I hit 4 balls into the hole, and couldn't have played them much better and none held the green.
There's certainly more to like than dislike here though and ultimately I would class The Roxburghe as a good house wine. Whilst it may lack the complexity of more notorious courses in the Scottish Top 100 it is very drinkable and enjoyable.
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.