The sumptuous 5th hole at Stranraer would be a fitting legacy for any golf course architect.

The par 4 sweeps round the shore of Loch Ryan, with gorse framing the left and the massive swathe of water on the right making it look like you’re trying to hit a pinprick of a fairway from a tee high in the clouds.

That James Braid followed up with a gorgeous short hole – a small green protected by half a dozen bunkers – was further evidence of his genius.

Stranraer’s place in the five-time Open champion’s story is secure. The Dumfries & Galloway course was the last he designed before his death in 1950.

He visited the course in the February of the year before.

Stranraer Golf Club

Braid had actually retired – having just turned 79 – but was tempted back to Creachmore for one last commission.

Stranraer’s previous site had been claimed during the Second World War but the features of the Loch proved a more than adequate replacement.

Although the course is a parkland, the trees frame the layout rather than coming into play and Braid certainly made the most of the picturesque loch.

The par-5 14th, with the water as a companion down the left, is just as spectacular as its equivalent on the front nine.

The 18th, the last hole he designed, is a doglegged par 4. It’s the finale to a tough finish that includes a fiendishly difficult par-3 15th and a tough penultimate hole into the wind.

Stranraer’s logo now incorporates the ‘Braid’s Last’ insignia in commemoration of their connection with the golfing great.

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

Ireland Golf Package: Play Portsalon, Old & Glashedy courses, Ballyliffin, for £375 per person


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