A genuine out-and-backer


Wick Golf Club

Wick Golf Club

Date Reviewed
May 27, 2018
Reviewed by Ed Battye
Founded in 1870 Wick Golf Club is fast approaching its 150th birthday and is embracing its golden years by bringing new energy to the links.

Upon arrival at the coastal course Club Captain, Catherine McLeod, energetically tells us all about a plethora of planned changes to the course in what promises to be exciting times ahead for Wick under the guidance of a new greenkeeper, a scratch golfer, who started work on the links last October.

Under a five-year plan the par-five eighth is all set to be re-routed, to avoid some persistent dampness on the current fairway, which will not only turn it into a two-shotter but also enable the club to take the unmissable opportunity to build a new par-three 11th into the dunes with the knock-on effect of alterations at the 12th, 13th, 14th & 15th.

Hopefully the green complexes at the existing 13th and 14th won’t be altered though because these are two highlights of the current course. Indeed the 150-yard 14th “Plateau” is a wonderful par-three with shades of North Berwick.

Work has already been carried out with some new tees on a few holes and a further five planned for the coming winter. Enhanced shaping of the relatively flat, daisy-clad, fairways is also on the horizon.

After the club moved to its present location at Reiss, a mile or so north from Wick on the North Coast 500 route, it was John Sutherland who originally made the links into 18 holes. Some further alterations were also made just before the turn of the millennium.

Wick is a traditional out-and-back links with the first eight holes taking you straight out towards the farthest end of the links before you tackle the delightful ninth which is played at right angles to all the other holes. And then the march for home begins from a lovely elevated drive at the 10th and this is where the best of the golf can then be found.

The inward stretch also boasts a series of strong par-fours which, if played into a head wind, will require some big hitting. None of the final four top the 400 yard mark but that is only in number, the playing length is much greater into anything more than a gentle breeze; a common occurrence at this North-East coast venue not far south from John O’Groats.

These holes run in close proximity to an unusual, narrow dune formation which is ever looming over the homeward golfer and its menacing presence keeps a constant watch on your golf. From the car park the towering sandhills, which must be as high as they are wide, offer much promise but this is never quite fulfilled so hopefully the changes will bring this about.

The dune-ridge also blocks the view of the sea, except at the far end of the course where McLeod explains one large sandhill mysteriously disappeared overnight! The sight of the sea may not always be with you but the sound certainly is and there is no mistaking that you are golfing by the sea at Wick.

The course is a ground-hugging links with many subtle and natural low-level undulations where the running game is favoured for the most part. The total yardage is 6,123. Par is 69 and SSS is 71 at an exposed course that can play as easy or as hard depending upon the strength of the wind.

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