Royal Dornoch and Brora

Trip Start Sep 03, 2007
Trip End Sep 14, 2007

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Monday, September 10, 2007

   I woke up to a sunnier morning than yesterday's afternoon.  And yes, it was another beefy breakfast.  I would easily die @ 40 if I had this every morning - bacon, eggs, sausage, potato scone, mushrooms, cereal, tea, juice, bread w/jam.  I walked over to Royal Dornoch again, and was able to get up to tee almost immediately with another visitor from America.  I scuffed around the first few holes but cleaned things up as the day went along (ball striking at least, I couldn't seem to make a putt).  The Royal Air Force was putting on a show around the Dornoch Firth as their fighter jets were doing exercises over the expanse of the sea.  The day was brilliant - sunny with a lot of wind - and it was beautiful.  I was on the 9th tee with the wind behind me, as far from the clubhouse as possible.  The sun was bright and hitting the course and just lighting it up.  I paused for a few moments just to soak it all in. 

   The pause seemed to help, as I birdied the ninth for my first and only birdie in 36 holes at Royal Dornoch.  I had a couple of bad holes, but mainly I made a lot of bogeys as I couldn't seem to make a par putt.  I played much better, and yet when I added up the score I still shot 90!!!!  I know that seems like a big number, but I was happy with it.  Again, the most difficult course I have ever played.  There are just no easy holes.  Example - the 10th - 140 yards, and I had to aim 30 yards right of the green because of the wind.  There is no let up. 

   I had a couple of pints with John (from St. Louis) and met his wife.  They were off to the Isle of Skye for a couple of days, which I have heard was spectacular.  I downed the pint of Tennent's and walked down to the car for the drive up to Brora.  It is another small town about 15 miles north of Dornoch with a short, seaside links course.  It is only a par 69, and less than 6000 yards, but there was a 30-40 mile an hour wind and it was brutal.  I pulled in to the car park and I was one of six cars there, so I knew I wouldn't have any trouble getting out.  The interesting thing about Brora is that is still grazing land.  Due to ancient grazing rights handed down for generations, the course is home to thirty cows and about sixty sheep (from what I saw).  There are a couple of local rules, as I'm sure you can surmise, regarding leftovers from all that grazing.  The greens are protected by a ring of electric fence around each putting surface.  I had a cow spectator on the first tee - simply amazing.

   The wind was blowing so hard I couldn't even hear myself talk (just talking to see if I could hear, not that I was talking to myself the entire round . . . "you talkin' to me? you talkin' to me?").  There was only one par five on the course, and it was so into the wind that I had to hit driver, 6 iron, 6iron - only 490 yards.  One par three was 175 yards and I hit three wood as hard as possible and I was only five yards over the green (for perspective I usually hit the three 3 wood 235-250).  The 9th, the Sea Hole as it is named, was 135 yards of cross wind hell.  I hit a six iron about thirty yards left and the wind blew it onto the green.  I had a putt that definitely looked like it broke to the left, but I played it a foot to the left and the wind blew it in the hole.  TIGER WOODS FIST PUMP!!!!!!!!  Best birdie of the trip by far.  A ton of blind shots, fast greens, and wind.  I needed three good holes to break 80, and the 16th was uphill over sheep all the way.  No joke, check out the picture.  Hit the second shot to three feet and made the birdie - I was home free.  Shot 78 which was an awesome round in that wind.   I had steak with whisky sauce and chocolate pie for dinner & dessert, then it was off to bed. 

   I have now reached the "Back Nine" of my journey.  I have reached the furthest point from home, and now I am turning back into the wind.  Although I have a few days left, I can already feel the weight of leaving here.  I hope I can make the most of the last few days.
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