The Independent Golfer

Two Examples of Scottish Golf Club Opens:
The Carnegie Shield and
The Nairn Dunbar Open

The Carnegie Shield Competition at the Royal Dornoch Golf Course

Let me illustrate this with the most prominent golf club opens in the Highlands and Islands, the Carnegie Shield competition at Royal Dornoch. (The Shield itself, one of the oldest trophies in golf, was donated to the club by local-boy-made-good Andrew Carnegie. It is a large silver shield that boasts beautiful engravings of the Dornoch Cathedral, Skibo Castle and the Bishops Palace, now the Castle Hotel in Dornoch.)

First, you must remember that Royal Dornoch is an absolutely world-class golf course, one of the very best you will ever play, anywhere. The Shield competition, which lasts over a full week, has two "flights", one for 120 higher handicap players (handicap 10 - 21) and one for 150 lower handicappers (9 and below.) Each flight begins with two days of stroke play from which the low 32 players will qualify for match play that, for the winners, will cover three more days. If you don't qualify after the first two days or if you loose in the first round of match play, you can play a one-day consolation competition on Royal Dornoch's 2nd golf course, the Struie. Further, on the days when the other flight is playing its stroke play qualifying rounds you can travel 15 miles north for an additional competition at the Golspie Links golf course.

And now, as if engaging in such a quality competition weren't enough, the deal gets even better. The normal summer green fee for a visitor for a single round at Royal Dornoch is £72 on a weekday or £82 on a weekend. But if you enter the Carnegie Shield competition, all that changes. The total entry fee, green fees, everything, comes to only £55! That's all. A minimum of three rounds on one of the best courses in the world, with another consolation round on the Struie course if you don't do well, for £55. Friends, it doesn't get any better than this!

Of course, there is the problem of getting in. Needless to say, the Carnegie Shield is very popular in Scotland, and indeed across Great Britain. You must get your entry in very early, probably mid-February, and you may be subject to a drawing for places if the number of entries exceeds the allocated slots. You can obtain all the details from the Royal Dornoch Golf Course Website.

The Open at the Nairn Dunbar Golf Course

Though it is probably the most prestigious, the Carnegie Shield is just one of many club opens held by golf clubs across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Others are smaller and of shorter duration, but you can play any of the better golf courses under competition conditions and at equal monetary savings.

For example, the Nairn Dunbar golf course offers fabulous links golf just east of Inverness along the Moray Firth. It stages a five-day open in August for 200 golfers who play 36 holes of qualifying stroke play. The best 32 players in each of three flights (scratch, low and high handicap) go on to match play. For the less fortunate, there is a two-day consolation competition. The cost for the whole competition? Just £65!

You can obtain details about this open from the Nairn Dunbar Golf Course Website


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