BRORA, Scotland -- By any measure, Brora Golf Club doesn't hold up to the greatest links in and around the Scottish Highlands.
Its dunes are smaller than those at Trump International. It has never hosted a Scottish Open like Royal Aberdeen. It's not as scenic or as difficult as the Championship Links at Royal Dornoch. It's even shorter than the 6,645-yard Cruden Bay Golf Club. But there's just something magical -- almost mystical -- about a round at Brora, one of the purest links in the world.
Maybe it's the electrical fences around the greens to keep the cows and sheep away. Maybe it's the views of Kintradwell Bay. Whatever the case, Brora feels like a throwback in time when James Braid originally laid out the course in 1923 (the club was founded in 1891).
The outward nine of the 6,211-yard links follows the natural contours of the bay, throwing blind shots around dunes and a burn in for good fun.
The return to the clubhouse starts with the 10th hole near a railway. Chances are, at some point, golfers will play through a cow or sheep grazing or lazing in the fairway. Both nines end with stirring par 3s. The "Sea Hole," the 162-yard ninth, delivers the best views. The 201-yard "Home Hole" plays so dramatically uphill that most players fail to take enough club.
Located 20 miles north of Dornoch, Brora remains one of the hardest links in Scotland to find, but it's one of the easiest to love.