CENTENARIAN STRUIE IN GREAT SHAPE June 16, 2023 GIVEN the worldwide fame of the Championship Course at Royal Dornoch, perhaps it’s no surprise that the sister Struie Course has tended to play second fiddle. It has gone through several name changes and redesigns over the years but is now – in its centenary year – a challenging and enjoyable Scottish Top 50 ranked course. The main part of the course broadly corresponds with the layout that was originally unveiled as “The Ladies Course” in June, 1923. It replaced a previous incarnation opened in 1899 by Mrs Louise Carnegie, wife of the philanthropist Andrew of Skibo Castle which had returned to nature and pasture for animal grazing during the years of WW1. While there have been changes over the past 100 years, contemporary golfers get a flavour of the original set-up playing holes 15 and 16 in particular. The former was the 17th, while the latter was the opening hole back in 1923. Mrs Sykes of Dornoch Castle was presented with an inscribed club to do the honours. The history books record eight ladies and 22 gentlemen took part in the opening day competition, which was rounded off by “a sumptuous tea” in the clubhouse. Donald Ross, a native of Dornoch and the club’s first professional – who went on to become a famous golf course architect in the USA – is pictured in 1894 teeing-up on “The Witch,” which is now the par 3 18th hole on the Struie Course. Picture credit: Historylinks Museum Just as today, the Dornoch Burn posed a hazard for wayward shots and two local youngsters were given the task of retrieving any balls which found the water. Miss H. McCulloch, sister of the club professional Danny, is recorded as taking the ladies’ prize after a play-off over “several holes.” Pin flags are in place this summer marking the 100th anniversary milestone of “The Bottom Course” or “Low Course,” as it is known by older locals. Club general manager Neil Hampton observed: “The Struie – named after the hill which provides a spectacular backdrop – is a highly regarded course these days, enjoyed by members and visitors alike. The setting is magnificent. “The greens are smaller than on the Championship Course and the fairways are tighter. “The greenkeeping team takes great pride in presenting both courses in excellent condition and nowadays no visit to Royal Dornoch is complete without sampling what the Struie Course has to offer. “It has undergone various changes down the decades, some of them imposed – such as when it was requisitioned by the RAF for two runways during the Second World War. “It was renamed the Struie in the 1990s when renowned architect Donald Steel was invited to make changes. And in 2003 five new holes designed by Robert Hiseman were introduced on the shores of the Dornoch Firth.” The Struie came into its own last year with the R&A Women’s and Men’s Senior Amateur Championships being played over both courses.