Kenmore course celebrates quarter of a century of welcoming golfers to Highland Perthshire
By Chris Johnston
The nine-hole golf course at the Mains of Taymouth country estate at Kenmore has celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Estate owner Robin Menzies, who designed and built the course in the early 1990s, was joined by his head greenkeeper, Stuart MacGregor, for a photocall at the first tee, during which a special cake, donated by Kenmore Bakery to mark the occasion, was cut.
Assisted in part by a couple of workers on the estate and his late father Duncan Menzies, who had the forethought to plan a major business diversification from farming into leisure, Menzies carried out much of the work to create the course himself. In what was a major feat of engineering over a two-year span - turning farmland into a 3,026-yard course - the civil engineering graduate had only a JCB for company, along with a passion for the game.
Reflecting on the milestone, Menzies said: “We’re absolutely delighted to celebrate 25 years of this course, which means a great deal to our family. We are really proud that his course has become such a major part of the Perthshire golfing scene, and are humbled to have become known locally over the years as ‘Perthshire’s finest nine holes’.
The course came into being after the Menzies family, who all played golf locally, decided they wanted to create their own course to both supplement the many fine layouts in the area and attract more visitors to Kenmore. This fitted with Duncan Menzies’ plan to build up the leisure side of the business.
“Dad was very much the driving force in applying for the planning consent for change of use in 1989/90,” added Robim. “With this secured, I bought the JCB excavator and began work the following July. Certainly, we could not have asked for a better setting for the course.
“In many ways, the land, which had been home to our cattle for nearly a hundred years, was already natural golfing terrain with steep hills either side and plenty of trees and natural vegetation, all set in the most picturesque surroundings. It was certainly inspiring.”
He added: “My plan was always to design each hole of the course around natural features and contours. As I went along, I realised the enormous potential of the land, and made everything bigger and better than originally anticipated to produce something of real quality.”
Robin set about the daunting task fresh from four years of building motorways as a civil engineering graduate.
“In many ways, building a golf course is very similar,” he continued. “You have to meticulously plan out every stage. The major difference was that I had to complete the vast majority of the hard physical work myself!”
The Menzies were lucky to have their own quarry nearby, from which to source gravel and sand to infill the course, with some 7,000 tonnes being used.
“This saved us thousands of pounds in materials, as building a course is no mean feat in terms of expenditure,” added Robin. “Labour was certainly harder to estimate as I remember thinking that screening the soil would take two days when it actually took three weeks’ hard solid labour.
“I am very grateful to my father for allowing the cattle to give way to golfers more than 25 years ago. We have created a legacy for golfers to enjoy in Highland Perthshire, and there is no doubt that the success of the course as a visitor attraction has played a major part in the overall success of Mains of Taymouth as a five-star holiday estate.”