Welcome to Scotland Week on “Talking GolfGetaways” — five episodes discussing arguably the single greatest golf destination in the world. And for our first of five Scotland Week episodes, we get a dose of literary royalty as Canadian Lorne Rubenstein, award-winning journalist and member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, joins hosts Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch for a discussion of Lorne’s love of the country and links golf, much of which was chronicled in his great book “A Season in Dornoch.”
Before traveling into the Scotland conversation, though, we ask Lorne about his recent feature for Travel & Leisure, headlined “Golf on the Edge,” about the deeper meanings of golf. Lorne discusses his reasons for writing the story, how it was influenced by a book called “Chasing Daylight” and how the experiences we share on the golf course are an integral part of the game and its lessons.
Lorne then talks about his first trip to Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands before playing in the 1977 British Amateur. He recalls his immediate love for the town, the people and the course; how a short trip turned into staying 10 days; and how the visit prepared him for a return stay that would come years later. It was then, in 2000, that he went back with his wife, Nell, rented a flat over a bookstore and had the most memorable of summers.
Lorne discusses how his connection to the history of the game (he was the first curator of the Canadian Golf Association Museum and Library) kindled his affair with Dornoch from that very first visit, and the reasons why Dornoch appealed then and continues to appeal to him on so many levels (it’s probably the first time Dornoch has been likened to being a ‘blankie’ — so much comfort did it bring).
Having spent so much time there (Lorne’s been back many times since his ‘season’), he then offers thoughts on the Championship Course at Dornoch, why it’s important to play it more than once to learn the nuances of the great track, and why The Struie (a fave of our friend, Golf Advisor’s Jason Deegan) is a perfect compliment to the Championship Course. Lorne also mentions Brora, Golspie, Tain and Skibo as being worthy of a side trip, while he considers Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club (where golf has been played since 1702) as an absolute must-play among the lesser-known tracks in the Highlands.
Among recommended lodging spots, Lorne favors going the bed-and-breakfast route, like the Eagle Hotel and Pub in Dornoch. Plus, the Dornoch Castle Hotel and the Royal Golf Hotel by the first tee of the Championship Course (one of Mitch’s 18 Favorite Places to Stay) also find their way into the mix.
Lorne can be found on Twitter @LorneRubenstein, and “A Season in Dornoch” is available on Amazon.com in paperback, hardcover and for Kindle e-reading.
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“Talking GolfGetaways with Mitch Laurance & Darin Bunch” is sponsored by PacificGales.com and can be found on GolfNewsNet.com and across the Golf News Net platform. “Talking GolfGetaways” is also available on audioBoom, iTunes and Stitcher. New episodes post daily, five days per week (for the most part), and listeners can use #TalkingGolfGetaways and (most importantly during Scotland Week) #2HaggisBags to hit us with their favorite places to play, stay, eat and more.