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By Hugh Boag
Shiskine has been named in the top third of golf courses in Scotland.
It may only have 12 holes but it has ranked 33rd in the Golf World top 100 Scottish golf courses, a great achievement of which the club is very proud, especially as there are 560 golf courses in Scotland, 64 of which are ‘royal’.
Shiskine is up 20 places to 33rd in the new list published in this month’s Today’s Golfer. The course is described in the magazine as ‘varied, interesting, dramatic, beautiful and, above all, good’.
Club captain Fiona Henderson said: ‘We are delighted to see that Shiskine Golf Club has jumped 20 places and is now 33rd in the Top 100 Golf Courses in Scotland.
‘Not only does this recognise the uniqueness and beauty of our course with its magnificent 12 holes and stunning scenery, but it is a great compliment to our greenkeeping team, starters and indeed to all those involved in the smooth running of the club.’
The magazine continues: ‘When a 12-hole golf course ranks among the best golf courses in Britain, it gives you some indication of the quality of those 12 holes.
‘Shiskine is easily Arran’s most famous course and successfully blends tremendous entertainment with a dash of more ‘normal’ golf.
‘It’s generally fantastic fun though, and despite having a third fewer holes with which to impress our panel, is well worthy of its place in our Scottish Top 100.
‘Laid out in 1896, Willie Park is credited with shaping such a compelling course in such a spectacular location.
‘It starts with a straightforward hole along the beach that is not a portent of the high jinks to come.
‘A blind approach at the 2nd, and its accompanying views of heather, gorse and sea is the cue for the feast to start.
‘Next it is a 128-yard blind par three played up a steep hill decorated with a fusion of bracken, gorse and heather, with Shiskine’s signature rockface beyond the green. You come back down to the beach with another short hole that in many other courses would be the hole.
‘Here it is actually relatively fairly mundane. Images of the green taken from the beach, with the rockface behind, are those you will have seen frequently.
‘Arguably the best run of holes now begins. The 5th plays along the shore, a sporty par four of humps and hollows with a fairway divided by a runway of bracken infused with heather and marram.
‘The 6th continues beachside and ends with a shot towards a marker post indicating a sunken green in an amphitheatre of heather, bracken and gorse. Very possibly the very best of Shiskine.
‘Still along the beach, you then fire over that mound that is the 6th backdrop to play the totally blind 7th and then use the ingenious way to signal the green is clear.
‘Seven holes in, this is good enough for a Scottish Top 100 berth, even if the remainder is relatively less explosive. Simply a “must play”.’
The top three courses in Scotland are Old St Andrews, the Ailsa course at Turnberry and Muirfield.
Dunaverty, a popular course at the southern tip of the Mull of Kintyre, is new on the list at 48th.