ROYAL Dornoch Golf Club deputy course manager Scott “Scoosh” Aitchison has marked a 25-year milestone.
The Ayrshire man has been an integral part of the team charged with a series of changes to the classic Highland links in recent years.
And he is confident members and guests from around the world will be thrilled when they take to the Championship Course this season.
Scott (48) was presented with an engraved crystal bowl to mark his years of service to the golf club.
The 10-handicapper, who was lured north from Prestwick St Nicholas, said: “My boss at the time, Bob Mackay, was from Dornoch and when he got the job as successor to Robert Patterson, who had got the gig at Royal Aberdeen, he brought me here to be the first assistant.
“When I first came up, I was on a career path and thought Royal Dornoch would look good on the CV before I travelled the world.
“But I have loved life in Dornoch and at the golf club so much that 25 years later I am still here!
“I’m often asked why I have never gone and got my own course but the challenge is different here every day. It never gets boring.
“We have to present the golf courses the way the members and visitors want them and get our infrastructure right over the winter to make sure it’s spot-on.
“We have classic links characteristics that must be preserved so I’d stand up in front of anyone and say when it comes to revetting bunkers we have the best bunch of builders in the world.
“Over the past eight or nine years we have been adapting the Championship Course to maintain its reputation as one of the finest links courses in the world.
“Course manager Eoin Riddell has been here a lot longer than me and between us we have enough years behind us to know what we can handle.
“We have a fantastic team here and we’ve probably saved the members a few pounds over the years by doing these future-proofing jobs ourselves.
“It has been great taking on the big challenges in-house, starting with the 3rd and moving on to the massive changes to the 14th, the 10th and 12th, then more recently the 7th and 8th
“I am really looking forward to what the golfers make of the changes to the 8th since the end of last season.
“The feedback was brilliant after the work on the 7th and we are anticipating much the same once the warmer weather helps the turf knit in.
“I have to say I am a massive fan of the changes mapped out by Tom Mackenzie at Mackenzie and Ebert.
“We have opened-up the 7th and 8th to make the most of the amazing 180-degree views and they are now being played the way that was envisaged before all the technological changes in golf.
“To dial back to the 3rd, the first major change to the Championship Course, I was initially dead against it. Now I think it is among the finest bits of work we have done here.
“It has changed from the cannon drive down the middle to an almost dogleg type of challenge. I love it.”
Scott admits he has a soft spot for the Struie Course, which has been moving up the Scottish rankings, encouraging more play from both visitors and members.
“Back when I started here, we were a fragmented squad and I was charged with running the Struie,” recalled Scott.
“At the turn of the century there were ambitions to make it a genuine championship course.
“It has had its ups and down along the way but there is wind in the sails again after successfully hosting the R&A Senior Women’s and Men’s Championships last summer. It’s well worth playing in its own right.”