Play on cloud nine - The popularity of the shorter set-up continues to grow in the UK
FOR many golfers in Scotland, nine-hole golf is proving a popular alternative to the traditional 18 holes. If you too feel like making the switch, or just fancy sampling some of the terrific nine-hole courses Scotland has to offer, Scottish Club Golfer has identified a range of layouts spanning the length and breadth of the country to give you food for thought.
We begin our journey in the Highlands at Carrbridge Golf Club. One of the most scenic courses in the country, this nine-hole course is sheltered by a pine forest to the north, with spectacular views of the Cairngorms and Cromdale Hills to the south and west.
There are plenty of hazards present so beware, as streams, hillocks and heather are ready to catch your ball on almost every fairway. A great pursuit for golfers of all ages and abilities, this nine-hole course will give you a challenging, exciting and healthy game.
Also in the Highlands, you’ll find Dragon’s Tooth Golf Club. The Ballachulish course offers a fantastic nine-hole challenge and has become a firm favourite with golfers far and wide. With breathtaking scenery all around, this undulating, tree-lined layout is really something to savour.
Moving into Aberdeenshire, you’ll encounter Inchmarlo Golf Resort situated in one of the most beautiful areas to play golf. With both an 18-hole and an attractive nine-hole layout on offer, it welcomes all golfers keen to develop their game.
Forbes of Kingennie Golf Club is a ‘risk and reward’ course, meaning it provides a challenge for both the beginner and the more accomplished golfer. Although it may not be the longest you will ever play, it features USGA specification greens as well as an extensive drainage system that allows play almost all year round.
Into Fife and stretching along the shoreline between Anstruther and Pittenweem sits Anstruther Golf Course. Founded in 1890, the course has undergone many changes throughout the years. It was extended from seven holes to nine after the War and features one of the toughest par-3s that you’ll find in the UK.
Named ‘Rockies’, the fifth sees you hit your ball from an elevated tee onto a small fairway, which is guarded on the right by a steep gorse and rough bank and on the left by the Firth of Forth, which is out of bounds.
Just an hour’s drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, Crieff Golf Club is situated at the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ and is surrounded by breath-taking rural Perthshire scenery. The club has two courses to its name; the nine-hole Dornock Course complements the 18-hole parkland Ferntower.
Built on gently sloping land that was once the grounds of Ferntower House, the Dornock course provides a fair, but challenging experience for all abilities.
It is perfect for a quick nine holes, or as part of a 36-hole package for golfers that want to make a day of it.
Calderbraes Golf Club in North Lanarkshire describes itself as ‘small but perfectly formed’ and its intriguing nine-hole layout provides a great test for golfers of all ages and abilities.
You’ll enjoy a combination of narrow approaches and testing greens, while also being pleasantly surprised by the woodland setting and panoramic views.
Moving from north to south Lanarkshire, Broadlees Golf is one of the finest nine-hole parkland courses in the West of Scotland. Built in 2008, it was designed to the highest standards, consisting of an excellent drainage system and USGA specification putting surfaces, ensuring it is playable all year round without the need for winter greens.
Last, but certainly not least, we have Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club. Located on the outskirts of Troon, the club’s nine-hole Hillhouse course is a great set-up that is a lot of fun to play.
The course was created when nine new holes were added in 1997 to toughen up the championship course, with the Hillhouse taking on the remaining holes that were left out of the new set-up.
So, as you can tell, Scotland has an abundance of excellent nine-hole courses for you to play, and no matter if you’re in the scenic Highlands, the heather and heath of Perthshire, Greater Glasgow, or Edinburgh, a course is always within reach.