New Braid Trail Launched to Boost Visitors | Scotscraig Renovations

A group of Highland golf clubs has launched ‘The Magnificent Seven’ in a bid to boost membership and visitor numbers.

Seven of the leading clubs in the north of Scotland have joined forces to form the James Braid Highland Golf Trail.

Boat of Garten, Inverness, Muir of Ord, Fortrose & Rosemarkie (pictured top), Golspie, Brora and Reay were either wholly or partly designed by the five-time Open champion.

The venture is the brainchild of Muir of Ord vice-captain Hamish Milne and was part of the submission which saw the Highland club, situated near Inverness, crowned Club of the Year at the recent Scottish Golf Awards at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange.

Details of the new shared link are available on a new website – www.jamesbraidhighland.golf – offering a wide range of advice for visitors on how to make the most of their trip to the region.

Milne said: “I came up with the initiative after discovering that the advertised James Braid Trail only went as far as Nairn, which severely disadvantaged clubs further north in terms of attracting golfers.”

It is hoped all clubs involved will now benefit from the initiative by attracting golfers from all over the UK and beyond.

Renovation Project Boosts Scotscraig in Anniversary Year

One of Scotland’s most respected heritage golf clubs has proudly unveiled a comprehensive renovation project that has reinstated many original features of the famous links and heathlands layout.

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Scotscraig offers a superb test

Celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2017, Scotscraig Golf Club is the 13th oldest golf club in the world boasting an 18-hole championship course originally laid out under the guidance of Old Tom Morris and later by James Braid.

It features a championship course in a traditional loop that has undergone an extensive development programme which has returned all of the green-side and fairway bunkers to their original size and removed and controlled extensive areas of gorse.

There have also been a number of significant on-course changes, most notably on the fourth, 12th and 16th holes, which have collectively resulted in one of the most important development plans completed in the club’s 200-year history.

“With changes happening on the course and a full diary of events planned for the 200th, this is an exciting year for the club,” said John Rankin, Scotscraig’s captain. “The bicentenary project has taken more than two years to plan and deliver and is the most extensive ever to be undertaken at Scotscraig. It illustrates the club’s commitment to continually improving our golf offering and re-establishing many of the features that made the course special in the first place.”

It is an impressive change for the six-time former Open Qualifier venue. “We want to bring the course back to a proper heathland and links layout,” explained Brian Gofton, greens convenor at Scotscraig. “We want to bring the course back to the original design ethos followed by Tom Morris and James Braid when Scotscraig was originally conceived. That is what we are striving for.”

Scotscraig is currently putting the finishes touches to a series of events planned for its bicentennial festivities in 2017. These range from special tournaments and open days to Grand Matches and opportunities to play the course. The events have been recently linked to Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.