Golf Courses

One Of The World’s Most Highly Revered Links Courses Now Boasts Accommodation To More Than Match Right Next Door…

Dornoch Station Bar Ross

In October 2023 I headed way north to get an early peek at Marine & Lawn’s newly renovated Dornoch Station hotel beside the 1st hole on Royal Dornoch’s Championship course – one of the most highly regarded links in the world and a regular feature at, or very close to, the top of any best courses in Scotland list.

Dornoch Station hotel

The railway originally opened the Dornoch Station in 1902, with the line’s demise coming  in 1960. The painstakingly renovated hotel overlooking the 1st hole at Royal Dornoch has now reclaimed its former glory, with bedrooms, bar and public spaces just oozing with the ambience of its earlier years.

Bar Ross conjures up the ambience of a former, more elegant era

The rooms are elegant and cosy, with many looking out over the links. Bar Ross, named after famous Dornoch native, Donald Ross, is a cracking spot for a whisky or two before sauntering through to the magnificent snooker room where I spent an hour being reminded just how tough this game is on a full-size table. The Golden Gorse restaurant cleverly blends classic with contemporary in both its décor and menu.

Dornoch Station hotel snooker room

Dornoch Station’s snooker room is a great place to while away an hour or two

At the time of publication, the ‘Dinner at The Golden Gorse’ offer started from £187 per room per night to include a two-course table d’hote dinner as well as a full Scottish breakfast. The Marine & Lawn collection consists of four more hotels close to iconic links and all have built strong relationships with their neighbouring golf courses, with the hotel concierge teams on hand to assist with local golf bookings.

Dornoch Station hotel from the 1st hole

A view of Dornoch Station hotel through the wispy grasses on Royal Dornoch’s 1st hole

My trip coincided with this world-famous Sutherland club announcing that work was about to start (and has now started) on a grand £13.9 million clubhouse redevelopment. Its revered Championship links remains both a delight and challenge in equal measure. I managed to survive the infamous par-3 2nd, with its precariously perched green, relatively unscathed before moving on to one of my favourite stretches along the foot of the ever-steepening gorse bank from the 3rd to the 6th, especially the supremely well bunkered 5th and the devilish par-3 6th, where you just can’t miss the narrow green right… or left, or short! 

Royal Dornoch 1st green

Light and shade on the 1st green of Royal Dornoch’s famous Championship links

(Image credit: Jeremy Ellwoood)

It was also great to…


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