Moffat Golf Club Course Review

Moffat Golf Club is a delightful short 18-holer in Scotland's Southern Uplands with a memorable short par-3 9th hole, 'Port Arthur'

Moffat Golf Club - general view
Moffat Golf Club enjoys a glorious setting in Scotland's Southern Uplands
(Image credit: Jeremy Ellwood)

Moffat Golf Club Course Review

GF Mon-Sun - Round: £15-£30; Day: £25-£45
Par 69, 5,276 yards
Slope 114
GM Verdict – A short 18-holer in Scotland’s Southern Upland hills, with six par 4s under 300 yards to help keep birdie thoughts in mind.
Favourite Hole – The famous par-3 9th, ‘Port Arthur’. It’s only a wedge or 9-iron, but you must play up over a high rockface to a hidden green.

Moffat Golf Club was established back in 1884 and played in the hills above the spa town on the River Annan for its first 20 years. It then moved to a new course designed by Ben Sayers of North Berwick, and his pretty and natural moorland course is still in play today up on Coats Hill just a mile and a half from the M74 with panoramic views of Scotland’s beautiful Southern Upland hills. It lies within Dumfries and Galloway, a region in which the star golfing attraction is the excellent links at Southerness Golf Club, 15 miles due south of the town of Dumfries.

Moffat Golf Club - view down to town

The course is laid out on Coats Hill above the spa town of Moffat

(Image credit: David Cruickshanks)

It’s not a long layout but some of the shorter holes actually provide the toughest tests. There are a number of par 4s under 300 yards that will tempt the longer hitter to cut loose (half a dozen, in fact). But, on holes like the 4th and 6th – both in that sub-300-yard category - a wayward drive can make even par an unlikely prospect let alone birdie. It’s testament to Sayers’ design that, although the layout is only a little over 5,000 yards, you may well get to use every club in your bag at Moffat.

Moffat Golf Club - general view

Despite its modest overall length, you'll probably get to use every club in your bag at Moffat

(Image credit: Moffat Golf Club)

A famous name associated with the club is former European Tour and Open Championship starter, Ivor Robson, who points to the intriguing par-3 9th - ‘Port Arthur’ – as Moffat’s most celebrated hole, with the tee-shot having to climb over a high rockface to a hidden green. “People often ask me, where do you play your golf?” Robson told us a few years ago. “And I’ll say, ‘Well, the Moffat Golf Club.’ And they’ll say, ‘Ah, isn’t that the one where you drive over the cliff?’ That’s our 9th hole – Port Arthur – which has ruined a lot of scorecards over the years, I can tell you. People have played it and always remember Port Arthur and the fact that the course has lovely views.”

Moffat Golf Club - general view

The views of Scotland's Southern Uplands are glorious and ever-present

(Image credit: Moffat Golf Club)

On the view front, things don’t get much better than the vista from the 18th tee down to the town and on to the hills beyond, another of that sub-300-yard par-4 brigade that will surely prove too much to resist for most, especially as it’s downhill. But there is a burn short of the green to think about, which can turn birdie hopes into bogey reality in an instant should you find it and then fail to get up and down. A beautiful little course that will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout.

Jeremy Ellwood
Jeremy Ellwood

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf