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There’s something about playing a links course on an island that just makes the soul sing. Earlier this year, the Mackem Golf team managed to get a round in at the Isle of Skye Golf Club. We traveled around Scotland in a campervan and a stop off for a quick 9 holes seemed like just the ticket.
Arriving at the Quant clubhouse, we wandered in and were greeted by one of the members. We asked if there was a tee time available, he slowly looked out the window at the near empty course, “Aye, I think we might have one for yea”.
So welcoming, asking about where we were from, what golf was like down under and giving us a small bit of history of the course. It’s these moments and people that help make a place special.
Describing this place is a puzzle, but it was as if golf made sense to be played like this, to be played here. The course seemed to have been there forever, the designer just had to find the holes.
We won’t go into detail about my whole round but will mention some standout holes.
The first hole was pretty straight, but still linksy downhill par 4. With no warm-up, no preparation, and no expectations, pulled out the driver. This rather beaten-up Taylormade Burner with stories to tell, Tee’d it up and let it fly right down the middle.
Onto the second where the entire left side of the hole is OB, all that is saving you is some rough and a small stone wall. This long par 4 with a right to left crosswind was a challenge, with low stingers the order of the day.
Hole 4 was perhaps the most troublesome of the early holes, calling for an accurate tee shot. Playing 280, with knee-length rough on both sides and well-placed fairway bunkers, will test the players among you. This time it called for a 3 wood, just down the right side in the first cut.
These holes played very differently from the Australian courses. These aren’t tree-lined, there isn’t bush that learned tricks from Houdini the way your balls disappear just slightly off the fairway. These were treeless, undulating, and with a fearsome wind dictating your shot.
The 7th is a steeply uphill par 3, it’s rated at 143, but feels like it’s playing 180. It was hard to tell until you were at the green, but there is a slope off the front, so we were wise to go long rather than short. It did leave a tricky downhill 2 putt for par.
When you think links, you think undulation and these are the most we’ve come across. The 8th hole is probably the most memorable, the blind tee shot makes you think what to pull from the bag. A large hill and who knows what on the other side. The hill itself has a sweeping slope to the left, if you don’t quite get it over the bank, even if you pipe it down the middle, prepare for it to the on the left edge of the fairway.
What goes down, must come up, the 9th is just as steep uphill as the 1st is down. This can prove a challenge if you don’t have the distance, after you pick the final putt out of the cup, you get a great view over to the Isle of Raasay. Just take a moment to appreciate it.
A 9 over 42 was a good effort, with borrowed clubs and next to no knowledge of the course. But that wasn’t what mattered I still had a smile on my face throughout the round and will cherish that feeling for life (as well as the club shop souvenirs).
If you’re on the Isle of Skye, I would highly recommend checking out the golf club. The beauty of it is enough of an experience to make it worth it, the golf is a bonus.