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18th November 2010

Written by Nick Mooney TM

Driving for five hours through fog and driving rain from John O'Groats to Old Moray in the Scottish Highlands to make a midday tee time, was one challenge, but the real challenge still lay ahead.

Moray Golf Club
Moray Golf Club - it doesn't always rain in Scotland (Photo Nick Mooney)

Moray Golf Club is situated in Lossiemouth, Moray in the Scottish Highlands. It is about four hours drive north of Edinburgh and whilst not on every golfer's tartan itinerary, it should be. Moray is golfing royalty.

How often can you say you have played a true links course designed by a legend of the game which has the sea on one side, a fighter jet airbase on the other side and a world famous school just around the corner? And just for good measure a course that produces its own whisky each year and has refused a British Prime Minister membership.

This links course was designed by the St Andrews professional and father figure of golf, Old Tom Morris. It is here at Moray GC's superb 36 hole layout that you can play courses designed by Old Tom and Sir Henry Cotton on the same day.

The first attempt to set up Moray was in 1875 but the club failed after a few years. The present club officially opened in 1889 with 82 members, mostly from the county capital Elgin. The membership stood at an impressive 635 by 1904, 135 being ladies.

In these early years of Moray Golf Club, the membership included a number of distillers and the effects of their vision and foresight continue to be enjoyed by members to the present day. These distiller members had been laying down Glen Grant whisky since the formation of the club in 1889. This practice continues to the present day and five or six hogsheads are bought annually and bottled for the club at ten years of age. Today's "club malt" is 12 year old single malt Macallan.

Moray Golf Course - (Photo Nick Mooney)

I had seen this course many times before from the balcony of the Skerry Brae hotel which overlooks the monstrous 18 th hole, having worked in the area on three separate trips from Australia dating back to 1991. Stepping foot on it for the first time had my nerves jangling with anticipation.

Steve Crane, the course manager, introduced himself to me and helped my eagerness with valuable course intimations and interesting club history. My normal routine of no practice putts or swings, however, did not contribute to the assistance Steve gave.

This course is tough. A tougher test than St Andrews for sure, but a pure delight to play. Old Moray has recently returned to the brown and dry hard running fairways that links golf is supposed to be all about.

Biographical note about the author:-
Nick Mooney is a former pennant golfer at Huntingdale Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia. His current job is strategic manager for School Sport Victoria in Melbourne and his passion is seeing young people introduced to a variety of sports for the very first time in a positive way. This passion lead to him setting up the first Victorian Primary school golf championships.

Nick was a co-author of the "Golf for Schools" book in 2000 and has recently acted as a consultant to Golf Australia in the re-write of the publication.

Nick is a board member of VicSport and met his wife while teaching Sport at Gordonstoun school in the Scottish Highlands, just around the corner from Old Moray.

He can be contacted at

For further information on Moray Golf Course - visitor information etc have a look at:-


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