It doesn’t matter whether you take the high road or the low road, a visit to the bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond is a romantic experience. A hop, skip and a jump from Glasgow, under the watchful guard of Ben Lomond, lies the largest expanse of fresh water in Great Britain. And midway along the western banks of the loch lies the most exclusive private members’ golf club in the land. Loch Lomond Golf Club is set in more than 600 acres of sheltered seclusion, sandwiched between the mountains and the historic lochside. The golf course contains two Sites of Special Scientific Interest protecting rare plants and unusual woodland and the site is designated as a National Scenic Area. Dozens of inhabited bat boxes nestle amongst the branches of some of the 46 different types of trees, there’s even an inhabited owl box. It’s a heaven for wildlife and conservationists, and apart from Valderrama, Loch Lomond is the only other European golf club to be awarded full Audubon status.
The course, designed by the successful Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf partnership, opened for play in 1993 to a fanfare. Weiskopf regards Loch Lomond as his “lasting memorial to golf” and who could argue with him? Loch Lomond is already a classic course and the long-term home to the Scottish Open. According to Colin Montgomerie, “wherever Loch Lomond is ranked, it ought to be higher”. In such a beautiful area it would have been easy to allow the views to do the talking, but here at Loch Lomond, Morrish and Weiskopf have designed a spectacular course, which would stand proud without the stunning scenery. Each hole except for the linked 2nd and 4th greens is isolated from the next. None of the hazards are hidden from view either from the tee or from approach shots and there are no tricks up Loch Lomond’s sleeve.
Measuring 7,100 yards from the back tees, this is a tough and long course for the average club golfer but it’s sad that not everyone can share the experience. If you are lucky enough to get a game, don’t expect to threaten Retief Goosen’s course record of 62, but do expect to use every club in the bag.
For a course that is so young, there is so much architectural history. The Colquhoun Clan built Rossdhu House in 1773 (now the clubhouse) and Mary Queen of Scots wrote her love letters in Rossdhu Castle the remains of which overlook the 18th green. The whole Loch Lomond experience is truly remarkable and if you are lucky enough to receive an invitation, do not pass it by.