Forgotten Greens of Scotland
Forgotten Greens of Scotland

Whalsay existing course, from web site

Symbister Links, Whalsay.

   "The Bruce family. who came to Whalsey in the 17th Century, owned the whole island and were ruthless lairds for nearly 300 years, building Symbister House as their country residence in 1823. Locally it was called “New Haa” or “Haa.”


Symbister Golf Links. “The Laird and his family first played golf in Whalsay from the 1850’s until before World War II. This was on the grounds near the “Haa” at the other end of the island    (Whalsay GC History)

   “An account by R. Stuart Bruce of Symbister Golf Links. 15th Oct. 1892”


  1. Rest Hole                      4. Sandwick Hole
  2. Bothy Hole                    5. Dyke Hole
  3. The Punch Bowl           6. Home Hole


  1. Rest Hole :- This hole is, on a fine day ; easily reached with a full drive, and a short pat with the lofter. With a following wind, the green is sometimes past with the tee shot. The tee is on the top of the hill on which Symbister House is placed. The principal hazard for this hole is a stone wall about 65 yards from the tee, it stops a bad shot at once. The ground to the left of the hole is covered with rushes for a few yards, which require to be kept clear of. The putting green is heavy. This hole is a pretty certain 4, and is often done in 3. Distance 150 Yards.
  2. Bothy Hole presents but few difficulties. It is placed on the top of a hill, and should easily be reached in a full drive, and a short iron. The hole has never been reached from the tee, owing to its position on the top of the hill. It is a good 4 hole and is frequently taken in 3. The green is large, and is pretty keen. Distance 180 Yards.
  3. Punchbowl Hole, The tee has been moved back some 12 yards further than

Last year. A strong brassy shot will reach the green. If the drive is not a good one, it will most probably be punished in the rushes, or in the two ditches, which form the principal hazards. The green is situated in a hollow, from which it takes its name. This hole has been done thrice in 2. 4 is steady play. Distance 150 Yards.


  1. Sandwick Hole, is a short one, being easily reached from the tee, with a brassy shot. The through green, is in winter, very soft, and the player often finds his ball badly cupped near the green. This is an easy 4 hole. The green is sloping. This hole has been done in 2, 4 times. Distance 142 Yards.


  1. Dyke Hole. is the longest hole on the links The tee is near the fourth green, and the player must get a good tee shot if he wishes to keep down his score. The through green is very bad, for the first 155 yards. A quarry, the sheep rest, holes full of water, and large stones, are the worst hazards. If the golfer gets a really good drive, he is almost certain to be rewarded with a good lie for his second shot. He may then reach the green with a strong three quarter shot of the iron. The green is rather small, and is protected on the S.E. Side by some long grass, and bunches of rushes. This is a very good 4 hole, and has twice been taken at 3 strokes. The line requires to be  kept here, as the ball lands in bad country if pulled or heeled. Distance 220 Yards.


  1. Home Hole. The tee is situated near the fifth hole, at the foot of the steep hill on which the 1st tee is placed. A well lofted brassy shot will, if straight, reach the green. If the drive is short, the player’s ball may land in an open stone drain-mouth, in which case the hole will be a heavy one. The green is sometimes over driven with a following wind. This is an easy 4 hole, and is often taken in 3. It has once been done in 2 strokes. Distance 140 Yards. These links are, although very small, capital ones, and afford good sport. Last years record of 24 has been broken, by R.S. Bruce, with a 22, made up of :- Out – 3,3,3. = 9. In -  3,4,3 = 10 = 19. The extent of the links is 982 Yards.

R. StuartBruce

  1. 15.10.1892
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