I’m not going to claim it is one of the best courses in the country but it’s certainly got an argument to say it has the most breathtaking setting and undoubtedly has one of the best holes I’ve ever played.
Located in one of the most beautiful parts of the West Highlands of Scotland, just north of Arisaig, Traigh (pronounced 'try') has a series of sandy beaches and rocky islets running alongside the course, separated only by a single track lane, with stunning views to the Hebridean islands of Eigg and Rum, and the Cuillins of Skye.
The nine holes run over springy turf and play like a true links course, not one of them the same. There are many changes in elevation during the round with some fantastic shots to be played; up, over and top of grassy hills that used to be raw sand dunes. The course originated in about 1900 but the course we play today is thanks largely to work carried out in 1994.
The traditional challenges of a classic seaside links are evident from the off with plenty of quirk thrown into the equation too. A semi-blind par three played steeply uphill to the top of a large dune some sixty feet high is a formidable opener and takes you to the highest part of the course.
From here you tee off at the second hole; one of the best you will ever play. This par five has three fairways to choose from! Two of these are down to the left and their undulating fairways appear inviting to find. They are wide and one can open their shoulders to try for maximum yardage, although you are then faced with a blind uphill shot for your second. The third fairway runs along the top of a large flattened dune ridge. It requires a carry of some 200 yards and the target is not particularly wide but it gives the shortest and most visible route to the green tucked away between large sandhills. The modest £10 twilight green-fee, placed in the honesty box, was worthy of this hole alone.
The fourth is also a cracking little hole that is played through a narrow gap of gorse to a tilted green whilst the next, a short par three, is played over water, a tidal inlet, to a green that is only accessible via a bridge. The sixth weaves it way back through dunes and gorse before you play alongside the flatter, inland part of the course. The view to the left, of bleak mountainous land, is the polar opposite to the glistening sea and sandy beaches that you have experienced thus far on the seaward side.
For the approach to the eighth you once again climb the central hill that runs through the spine of the course before playing a par three that is as steep downhill as the opener was up.
We visited Traigh following a round at the Isle of Skye and then hopping over on the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig. It’s a short 15 minute drive from the ferry terminal and an opportunity not to be missed if you find yourself in this neck of the woods.
It's a long time since I've walked off a golf course and been as impressed and surprised, compared to what I was expecting, than at Newbiggin.
A family holiday brought me to Whitby Golf Club. After stuffing myself with fish & chips, losing most of my money on the penny slots and catching umpteen crabs in the harbour it was time for a round of golf!
Planning a round of golf in late October can be a dicey affair, especially in my home county of Yorkshire where the vast majority of courses are built on heavy soil or clay, so it was very refreshing to discover when venturing down south how well East Berkshire played at this time of year.