A pleasant, classical looking links set beside the Solway Firth in South-west Scotland, the Southerness golf course was designed by Mackenzie Ross and occupies mostly flat links land with just the odd rippled fairway. Most holes bend through heather and gorse, which provide the main defense here along with the nasty pot bunkers and slightly raised green sites with their severe run offs and difficult chipping areas.
Given its exposure to the elements and the fact that missed fairways almost always end in bogey, the course has a nasty reputation and wins plenty of plaudits from those who believe golf needs to be tough to be outstanding. Certainly you need to drive straight here and approach greens with precision or the score will start to add up. Most of the holes, however, are only moderately interesting and quite simple in their arrangement. An obvious exception is the right-bending 12th, which heads toward the sea and features formidable fairway bunkering and a wicked green fronted by a pronounced knoll. The par threes are also fun to play.
Despite lacking the glamour and consistency of Scotland’s best links, Southerness is a true test of your game, and a nice place to enjoy the purest form of our game.