Brora Golf Club
Brora GC is James Braid's most northerly design and the headquarters of the James Braid Golfing Society.
Peter Thomson regarded Brora as one of his very favourites.
Golf Course Review
Brora Golf Club has gained cult status among the international golf crowd. I guess they're catching up with what so many knew for so long... Brora is simply special. In 2020, the club was on the verge of financial collapse until the golf community at large came out in full support of the club. The club is laid back with no formal dress code, even allowing jeans on the course and in the clubhouse.
Architectural Heritage at Brora Golf Club
Its origins stretch back to 1891 as a nine-hole layout. This was extended to 18 holes in 1900. In 1923, James Braid completed his redesign, known as 'Braid's Plan', and it is largely the course so many know and love today.
Laid out over 194 acres, the outward nine runs virtually parallel with Kintradwell Bay before returning by way of the railway and fence line adjacent to croft land. The common land links are roamed by sheep and cattle with characteristic fences ringing the greens - a hallmark of this type of golf so common in the UK. It is considered to be one of James Braid's finest.
Brora Golf Club's Architectural Takeaways
Personally, I was also skeptical of James Braid as a golf course architect. His volume of work means there is much that is forgettable and unworthy of seeking out. However, his work at Brora Golf Club and Gleneagles is so good, it puts him into the conversation for not just the most prolific golf course architect but most accomplished.
Brora Golf Club just doesn't stop nor does it slow down. After playing the seaside outward holes you make the turn and expect the best of the land is behind you. So many courses make a great first impression and leave you begging for more... Brora Golf Club shatters the mold. The higher ground is just as undulating, firm, and fast as anything on the front 9. In fact, the elevation is ever more outstanding on the closing stretch of holes.
Variety of Par 3's
The four par 3's at Brora Golf Club offer variety. For example, the 6th is uphill and mountains serve as a backdrop. The 9th is downhill with the sea serving as a backdrop. The 13th is ringed by five bunkers with a forced carry over a winding burn which lends the inspiration for its name: Snake. The final par 3 is the home hole that can be played as a long par three or short two-shot hole depending on the wind. Anything short is dead. Anything right can off the hillside risks running into the bunkers or leaving a precarious downhill lie from long grass over bunkers to a green which runs away from you. In summary, Brora Golf Club has a decent set of four par three's that play in every direction in an out and back routing.
Brora's Two Shot Holes
There are only two par 5's at Brora Golf Club, both of which barely reach 500 yards when stretched to the max. The two-shot holes are Brora's strength. The opening run of par four's numbers five. The backbone of the inward nine is a run of par four's from the 14th to 17th. Virtually all play as half par holes, on either side of par, depending on the elements. From the 6th to the 13th, no two holes have a consecutive par. It's a lesson in compression and release with a variety of every kind amongst those holes cut from the same cloth.
Brora Golf Club Ranks Amongst The Best
Brora Golf Club Reviews
Brora Golf Club - Videos
Enjoy No Laying Up's Pilgrimage
Watch Cookie Jar's Brora Golf Club Video
See Erik Anders Lang's Visit
Featured Architect: Alister MacKenzie
As taken from his book, Golf Architecture, Alister MacKenzie felt the following were essential: The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes. There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes and at least four one-shot holes. There should be little walking between...