We learn a bit more about the High 9s – Golf Highland members who offer great 9-hole courses. With High 9s founder June Sanderson.
Who came up with the idea of High 9s?
I wanted to find a way to attract and encourage visitors to play 9-hole courses in the Highlands.
There are some beautiful places to play golf here, and some of them get overlooked, especially if they’re quite remote.
High 9s became a joint initiative between 3 member clubs of Golf Highland: the Isle of Skye, Portmahomack and Bonar Bridge & Ardgay, with a little help from Willie Mackay at Scottish Golf! We all recognised the need for collaboration amongst some of the most scenic 9 hole courses of the Scottish Highlands – mainly to encourage more visitors to have a ‘few holes’’ while passing through at places they’d otherwise have missed.
How long has it been running?
We’ve been running since 2018.
What has the response been like?
The word has got around and it’s been fantastic to see more people playing some of Scotland’s hidden gems. Last year nine-hole visitor numbers were up on the year before. For football fans out there, Gairloch (part of the High9s) recently played host to Ryan Giggs who popped in for 9 holes.
And that’s what it’s all about. We know that if you’re on a golfing holiday, tourists in the Highlands are likely to be attracted to the big courses, but we want to reach those people who just want to have a quick 9 holes. Families; those travelling for hill climbing or the North Coast 500. All of these people have other reasons to be in Scotland, but would love the chance to play as well. Most clubs supply club & trolley hire (in non-covid times) so your boot doesn’t have to be stacked with clubs.
How does it work?
There are nine fantastic 9-hole golf courses in the Golf Highland region. That’s 81 holes of golf in beautiful highland scenery. We’ve roughly grouped them into 3 sections: West Coast, East and Central and would encourage touring golfers out there to play as many as they can on their trip.
The West Coast group ranges from the dramatic Northern coastline of Durness down through Ullapool and Gairloch to the scenic Isle of Skye. The Eastern group includes Bonar Bridge & Ardgay and the links of Portmahomack. And finally, the Central group includes some hidden gems of Inverness and the Speyside, Cairngorm area: Aigas, Carrbridge and Abernethy.
Are there any offers?
All of these courses are fantastic value for money – ranging from £14-20 for 9 holes, with day rates available. All courses also offer club & trolley hire at superb rates (pre Covid).
How would you suggest players go – 2 courses in a day for instance?
There certainly is the possibility of playing 2 courses in a day. Playing them all in one holiday period is an option too!
But we definitely don’t want to prescribe how people want to play the High9s. That’s the beauty of it – just pick your date, book online and turn up! It’s a good idea to call ahead to check there are no competitions going on, but otherwise, you’ll be very welcome. All the clubs have an online booking system in place during Covid.
What are your favourite stories from the High 9s?
I think that’s probably the story of the grandfather, grandson tour, who completed all the High9s while travelling last year. The grandson was only 11 I think and the grandfather in his 60s and they had a great time. That’s what the High9s is all about – open to everyone of all ages – to come and see parts of Scotland which they perhaps wouldn’t otherwise visit or to play golf in areas they wouldn’t quite expect!
Any interesting unknown facts about any of the courses?
Durness – is the country’s most northern golf course. Isle of Skye is the only course in Scotland with Gaelic names for each hole – we think!. Each course has a long interesting history – just ask the members when you’re playing there next! Keep an eye on our GH website too!