North, south, east and west, eventually you get to a point where this island of ours ends. And at each of the country’s four extremities, you’ll find golfers trying to make their way round an oft-windswept and rugged patch of grass.
We’ve all had that wonderful experience of hooking a ball off a cliff and your playing partner saying “That shot was so bad you’ve missed England/Scotland/Wales”.
‘I’ll hit a provisional…’
But which of the country’s 2,500 courses lay claim to being the country’s compass courses?
Which is the furthest north, south, east and west?
If you think we’ve missed somebody out, let us know by commenting below.
On the British mainland, Reay claims to be the most northerly –it’s just 10 miles west of John o’Groats – and is in a village most famous for the radioactive waste that washed up on its beaches from Dounreay nuclear power plant.
If I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably the place where glow-in-the-dark golf was invented.
But even that isn’t the most remote and the most northerly course in the British Isles is reported to be on the island of Whalsay, among the Shetlands.
The name means ’Whale Island’ and there are 1,061 residents, most of whom take to fishing or crafting for their income.
Tinder… Whalsay style
The course is right next to Whalsay’s airfield, so it’s got great ease of access, if you charter a flight – there are no regular services on to the island. Alternatively, get the ferry from Laxo on the Shetland Mainland.
It’s a long way to go for a game of golf, but where else can you see Killer Whales from the tee box?
900 miles south, and a seven-hour flight from the Shetlands to Newquay, and you’ll be on your way to Mullion, the UK mainland’s most southernmost 18-holer.
Situated on the Lizard, Mullion’s always been popular with the literary types, and Conan Doyle and A A Milne, inventor of Winnie the Pooh, played regularly at the course.
“Golf is so popular simply because it is the best game in the world at which to be bad,” Milne once said in a sentence that wouldn’t have sounded out of place coming from a certain yellow bear.
‘And I tell you what, there’s no way that Rabbit plays off 28’
You’d think the westernmost course would be nearby, after all the most westerly part of the British mainland is just up the road. But actually it’s a trip back up to Scotland, namely the Outer Hebrides on the western coast, where we find our third course.
The Isle of Barra is only a nine-holer and there’s no clubhouse, while the greens have fences around them to prevent grazing cattle straying on to them.
If the cows ever work this out, we’re done for
There’s definitely a unique charm and the remote and wild landscape is a far cry from Gorleston, on the Norfolk coast.
Since 1908, the course has proved hugely popular and sees around 34,000 rounds each year. Which I imagine is a few more than the Isle of Barra sees.
It’s also the home of pop stars Myleene Klass and Hannah Spearritt, formerly of S Club 7. Now I’m not saying that you definitely won’t see one of the UK’s most famous beauties while you’re at Barra, but a choice between a cow and this sight…
Isn’t much of a choice at all.
Last week we took a look at a course with a Par 6 hole and a totem pole, only one of which remains. CLICK HERE to find out more.
Have you ever wondered what it’d be like if some of the world’s most famous golfers were superheroes? CLICK HERE to discover their secret identities.
We dive deep into the golf ball roll back plans!