Want to play Royal Dornoch this year? Forget about it.
It’s still January but overwhelming demand for tee times has forced Royal Dornoch Golf Club to close the book for the 2022 season.
Neil Hampton, the general manager of the Highlands club, has revealed they have accepted more than 13,000 reservations for this year.
However, pent-up demand from a 2,000-plus international membership – many of them keen to visit Scotland with travel restrictions being eased – has piled pressure on the administrative team at Royal Dornoch.
“We have reached capacity very quickly,” said Hampton. “This is unprecedented but I can’t say I’m surprised.
“Past experience tells us that whatever world event we endure, such as a banking crisis, an ash cloud or the tragedy of 9/11, we bounce back very quickly.
“You hear talk of tourism taking three or four years to recover but here at Royal Dornoch we are very fortunate.
“We have a prestigious links where golf has been played for more than 400 years and golfers from near and far are eager to experience it.
“Normally we look forward to welcoming 12,000 to 14,000 visitors a year to Royal Dornoch.
“We are always a busy course and tee-times are always in demand. We were already up to over 13,000 visitor bookings so we had to grasp the nettle.
Hampton added that visitors to Royal Dornoch can still enjoy access to the Struie sister course if they are planning a pilgrimage to the Highlands.
“The Struie is a memorable challenge in its own right,” he said. “We are forever being told that if it was located in Scotland’s Central Belt it would be packed to the gunnels.
“It has tended to live in the shadow of the Championship course. Many people come here without even realising we have another course.
“It is a fast-running links in the summertime and perfect for playing as part of a break which might include the likes of Fortrose, Golspie, Tain and Brora.”