Designed by Golfing Greats
Back in days of yore the peaceful, picturesque green swards where golfers now swing their clubs on the Strathpeffer course were once the scene of bloody medieval clan battles.
The MacDonalds, Mackenzies and Munros were all swept up in conflict in the area long before the discovery of sulphurous springs in the 18th century resulted in Strathpeffer village developing into a popular Victorian spa resort. By 1819 it had a pump room, a hospital, hotel, and later a railway station and entertainment pavilion.
A Golf Club was essential for a respectable spa resort, and in 1888 this lack was remedied by the founding of the Strathpeffer Spa Golf Club originally with nine holes, below Ben Wyvis overlooking the village, in Ulladale on the Cromartie Estate, just a five-minute uphill walk from the village centre.
From the beginning this hilly but scenically spectacular golf course attracted the attention of the top players of the day, and secured its place as one of Scotland’s iconic golfing destinations.
The original nine-hole Strathpeffer course was designed and laid out by Willie Park (Jnr) – a professional golfer from Musselburgh who won the Open Championship in 1887 and 1889.
A few years in though the Club, responding to popular demand, decided to extend the course to 18 holes, and it was deemed only right and proper that the extensions and accompanying improvements should be handled by a golfing master.
So it was that Old Tom Morris, known then as now as “The Grand Old Man of Golf”, was brought from St Andrews to design and lay out the Strathpeffer 18-hole course.
Morris was a top match and tournament golfer – the oldest winner of The Open at the age of 46 – but was just as famed for his work as greenkeeper, course designer, golf instructor, and club and ball maker.
Strathpeffer goes down as one of Morris’ triumphs as a golf architect, along with the likes of courses such as Prestwick, Old Course at St Andrews, Muirfield, Royal Portrush, Carnoustie and dozens of others.
The Strathpeffer course you will play today is little changed from the testing Tom Morris original. Some improvements have been made over the years, but the location of the greens remains unaltered.
The original club house was a croft that happened to be on the land, but this was replaced by a purpose-built clubhouse in 1903, designed by Dingwall architect W.C. Joass and opened with much ceremony by Mrs Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth.
A century later in 2003 the old clubhouse was replaced by a grander version, built by the members themselves, which still serves the Club well today with its comfortable lounge bar, shop and other facilities.
The march of time has not marred the charm of Strathpeffer, which still provides panoramic views across the surrounding countryside and a unique, challenging course to tackle.
Why not come and play a round with us?