If golf is your thing, then you’ve come to the right place – Orkney has no fewer than five courses of different shapes and sizes across the islands.
You can play three mainland courses in a day, soaking up stunning sea views and some of Orkney’s ancient sites en-route, or take your clubs island hopping for a round with a difference.
Kirkwall and Stromness are home to challenging 18-hole courses, both set in fabulous locations. In Kirkwall, the 5575-yard course overlooks the town with panoramic views towards the north isles. There’s a modern clubhouse next door and visitors are always welcome to play a round or two.
Stromness Golf Club’s course is perhaps one of the most picturesque to be found anywhere in the UK. Many holes have stunning views over Hoy Sound and the Hoy hills, with drives, chips and putts played out to the sights and sounds of ferries and fishing boats heading into harbour.
The course itself is relatively short at just over 4800-yards, but the layout – and often breezy conditions – makes it a tough test for most amateurs. Visitors will always be made very welcome.
Across all four Churchill Barriers you’ll find the nine-hole South Ronaldsay Golf Club in the village of St Margaret’s Hope. Opened in 2005, the well-maintained course has eighteen tees available and is seen as possibly the most challenging in Orkney. There are no par fives here, but the par fours can sometimes feel one. The course usually has plenty of space for visitors to play a round.
The two other courses in Orkney offer something a bit different. Westray Golf Club in Westray, at the north-western tip of the archipelago, is home to an excellent nine-hole course. Its claim to fame is its par six 3rd hole – measuring in at a whopping 738 yards, it’s thought to be the longest golf hole in the UK.
The course is found next to Noltland Castle, only a short walk from the island’s main village of Pierowall. As you might expect, sea views are abundant at the club, which has around 50 members. Visitors are always welcome to tee up.
There is another island course that really is an experience like no other. Sanday Golf Club’s nine-hole course offers 2600 yards of links golf alongside one of Sanday's many beautiful beaches. You might have to share the fairways with local sheep, but it only adds to this unique golfing experience.