Appeared in March 1996 LINKS
The announcement that two Americans were going to design a new golf course along Loch Lomond begged the question, “Why would anyone come to Scotland to play an American course?”
That question was answered for one visitor after a round at the course: His face was flush from the sun’s rays and a gorgeous four-mile golf course hike around the banks of legendary Loch Lomond. As he awaited lunch he listened to the comments of his fellow players. High marks had been given architects Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish for Scotland’s latest golf addition.
Obviously the visitor did not entirely agree with the assessments he was hearing and chimed in with his own: “It’s a lot like playing a course in the lake country of Wisconsin.”
Before anyone could demur or debate, the waitress rebutted by serving him the set-menu lunch of whiskey-laced haggis, neeps and tatties, which is akin to a burger and fries in America. “Don’t get Scottish scrapple, mashed turnips and potatoes often in Wisconsin,” I felt compelled to say.
Another visitor with anti-Wisconsin sentiments added, “I’ve never been told to aim to the right of castle ruins anywhere in America as I was at the 18th today. And I’ve never seen a lake full of homemade, one-man fishing boats with outriggers in Wisconsin.”
A member might have had the last word: “Where else do you get a free lift from a peat bog?”
One of the principals of Loch Lomand is Lyle Anderson, who put together the wonderfully tasteful Desert Highlands and Desert Mountain complexes in Arizona, and Las Campanas in Santa Fe, N.M., all sporting Nicklaus courses. Additionally, two projects by the Anderson group are underway on the Kona Coast of Hawaii.
At Loch Lomond, the former Clan Colquohoun (Calhoun) stronghold will become a private club with reasonable charges for local and overseas membership. Living quarters in the clubhouse/ manor, as well as cottages, will be available to members and guests. In a Euro rating of clubs and courses built since 1992, Loch Lomond gets the No. 1 prize, three ahead of the heroic Jack Nicklaus-designed Monarch’s at Gleneagles, a distinct upset. (Possibly Nicklaus fitted the Monarch’s course so adroitly with the King’s and Queen’s that no one knows it is new.)
Loch Lomond can measure 7,020 yards for a big-time tournament. There are but seven holes where water does not insinuate itself, however modestly, although most of it borders fairways.
A boat trip is a must. In addition to finding dozens of islands, there stretched across the lake is a series of red buoys denoting the start of the Highlands, forming the backdrop for the course.
In years to come it is easy to imagine an international membership using Loch Lomond Golf Club as a base for a great circle of day trip golf experiences. Carnoustie is the furthest away among legendary courses, 88 miles, while St. Andrews is 79 miles, Muirfield 87, Turnberry 73, Edinburgh 66, Troon 52 and Gleneagles 44. It doesn’t get any better than that.