Scottish Golf Courses

Royal Dornoch digs deep - literally - to preserve its history

Royal Dornoch digs deep - literally - to preserve its history

Highlands club buries time capsule to be unearthed in 2116

By Chris Johnston

ROYAL DORNOCH Golf Club has dug deep to ensure that its proud history will be remembered for generations  to come.

As part of the Highland club’s celebrations to mark 400 years of golf being played in the town, the club buried a time capsule with a host of memories looking back over the four centuries.

A specially commissioned stone marker has now been put in place, which pinpoints the spot where the time capsule was buried with the instruction that it’s not to be opened until 2116.

The Royal Dornoch captain Alan Ramsey and general manager Neil Hampton officially installed the marker, crafted from Huntly granite by local Golspie firm Sutherland Stonework.

The capsule was buried at the beginning of a path that leads from the 18th green to the clubhouse, so that players will walk past the spot each time they play.

Included inside it is a mobile phone with photos of the course, clubhouse and staff on it; a handwritten letter from the captain; local whisky; and information about the course, its design, fees and future plans.

“We take great pride in the fact that we are one of the oldest locations where golf has been played in Scotland,” said Hampton.


“The contents of the time capsule provoked a bit of discussion in the club as we have such a long and illustrious history to cover.

“Whoever opens it in 2116 will get a detailed account of how the course and Dornoch have changed over the last 400 years as well as the 100 years since it was buried.”

Meanwhile, in keeping with efforts to encourage greater participation in golf, make the game more enjoyable and speed up play, a new set of tees have been introduced at Royal Dornoch, which cut the yardage of the championship course by more than 1,300 yards.

The par-70 layout is 6,748 yards from the furthest back blue tees and 6,267 from the less daunting yellow tees. Red tee positions, traditionally used by women, reduce the course further to 5,940 yards.

However, the new green tees – to be used by both men and women – mean the course is scaled back to 5,359 yards, with a par of 76, to make it more playable for shorter hitters, seniors and younger players.

Hampton added: “It’s a move away from gender-specific tees and in line with discussions within the game to encourage people to play off tees that are relevant to their ability. Players can still use the back tees but these new tees open the course up to a broader range of people.”

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