At the same time Mike Keiser was losing patience with the Oregon State for a planned sixth course at Bandon Dunes he was hatching plans for his first course in Scotland in one of golf’s famous towns.
The Embo site earmarked for development sits on the edge of the famous golfing town of Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands, the birthplace of Donald Ross no less and home to one of Scotland’s great links courses Royal Dornoch which will celebrate 400 years of golf next year.
In an interview with Golf.com’s Alan Shipnuck Keiser admits the project remains very much in the feasibility stage of development with several environmental factors to overcome. In the candid interview it was clear that Scotland has made a big impression on Keiser who recalls spending countless summers enjoying the delights of the Scottish links,
“Having watched tour buses pour out avid American golfers for the last 20/30 years in a very remote place. I felt if Dornoch works then Bandon will work.”
Our first look of the site certainly whetted our appetite. While not the gigantic and imposing dunes of Trump Scotland the subtle dune scape that you find in the north region is blessed with natural humps and bumps so synonyms with the game of golf found on Scottish links.
So what will this mean for Dornoch? Well lets not forget that Dornoch already receives in excess of 7,000 visitor rounds a year making it one of the busiest venues in Scottish golf tourism. The town is very much reliant on the huge numbers of golfers which pass through every summer. Away from Dornoch courses like Tain, Golspie and Brora are popular tracks but there is no doubt the addition of another notable links course in the area can replicate what we’ve seen with other modern course developments such as Castle Stuart & Trump Scotland. Each venue has halted the procession of tour buses that race round the country and instead provide a base from which golfers can explore the region and discover the amazing ‘hidden gems’ which they would have otherwise have driven past.
We’ll watch on in hope this project gets off the ground in the coming months. No doubt that Mr Keiser will run into some issues along the way, most notably the environmental constraints but if anything can be learned from Donald Trump’s project three hours south in Aberdeen it’s the fact that us Scots appreciate compromise and morality.
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Listen to Mike Keiser’s full interview on the Golf.com podcast. The pair begin to discuss the Dornoch project around 35 minutes into the podcast.