Durness Golf Club Course Review

Located on a fabulously natural dunescape, Durness Golf Club is a complete joy

Durness Golf Club - Feature
Stunning scenery accompanies you all the way at Durness
(Image credit: Kevin Markham)

Durness Golf Club Course Review

GF £30; Twilight: £20
Par 71 6,270 yards
Slope 121
GM Verdict A nine hole links of epic views and explosive variety
Favourite Hole The 9th is a par-3 hitting over cliffs and ocean

The beauty of Durness comes in many guises: it’s a nine hole links wrapped in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Scottish Highlands; it is the most northerly links on Scotland’s mainland; it is part of the epic North Coast 500, one of the world’s most beautiful driving routes; and it is a blisteringly adventurous rumble over a heaving dunescape. Durness is relentless in swinging you up, down and sideways, asking you to play an array of different shots.

Durness Golf Club - Hole 8

The approach to the tough par-4 eighth/seventeenth

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The scenery is spell-binding and hitting those shots at distant mountain ranges, towering dunes or beautiful bays takes Durness to a different level. For a ‘humble’ nine-holer this links has so much more. The condition is magnificent, there are 18 different tees and holes constantly keep you guessing. You don’t have a moment to pause for breath… nor would you want to, for this is entertainment of the highest calibre, from the 1st tee to the final green… which, incidentally, proves once again how exhilarating it can be to finish with a par 3. Here, in fact, you have one of the best closing par 3s in the UK&I.

Durness Golf Club - Hole 9 - Green

Looking back from behind the final green

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Views are not the only constant: sheep, too, keep you company for your round, giving a relatively young course (1988) that sense of being from another age. Greens, however, are well protected from those sheep so putting surfaces are always pristine. Their contours are smart, too, and sometimes sneaky: you see next to nothing of the 1st green high above the fairway; the thin 3rd green, sitting low in shapely terrain, looks like a sliver on your approach; and the 4th has the sharpest of fall-offs, left and right.

Durness Golf Club - Hole 9

The approach to the par-3 closing hole

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Durness is relentless in its sense of adventure and identifying a favourite hole is no easy task. The two that draw most praise are the par-5 6th/15th, which curves endlessly around Loch Lanlish, tucked low in the heaving landscape, and the par-3 9th/18th.

Durness Golf Club - Hole 9 - Inlet

A view over the rocky inlet to the closing hole with the clubhouse above on the right

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The closing hole measures 150 yards and demands that you play over the ocean to a green tucked close to the cliff edge on the other side. It also has an unofficial back tee, which was added after Irish professional, Ronan Rafferty, visited. Known as ‘Rafferty’s tee’ it calls for an only-the-brave shot of 180 yards. It is some finish.

It may never make the Golf Monthly Top 100, but if there was a Top 100 for scenery and setting, it would surely be there.


Kevin Markham
Freelance writer and photographer

Kevin Markham stepped into a campervan in 2007, and spent the next 14 months playing every 18-hole golf course in Ireland… 360 of them. He wrote two books on the back of those travels and has been working in the golf industry ever since, both as a freelance writer and a photographer. His love of golf courses has seen him playing extensively in Scotland, as well as across Europe. In total, he has played over 550 courses including most of Scotland’s top 100, and over half of Portugal’s growing number. He writes for the Irish Examiner newspaper, Irish Golfer magazine, and Destination Golf, and is a regular contributor to Golf Monthly. He has his own photography website – kevinmarkhamphotography.com – and spends hours on golf courses waiting to capture the perfect sunrise or sunset.

Kevin can be contacted via Twitter - @kevinmarkham