A lot has changed at Skibo Castle over the years. What was once the residence of the Bishops of Caithness hundreds of years ago is now home to the exclusive, members-only Carnegie Club. Named for former Skibo Castle proprietor Andrew Carnegie, the Carnegie Club truly has it all, and that includes a golf course unlike any other.
Like the Carnegie Club, the Carnegie Links too shares a name with the legendary Scottish-American industrialist, which is fitting, given that it was Carnegie who first built a course on this 8,000-acre property back in 1898. It was a nine-hole course that he had created in order to learn the game and prepare for an invitation to nearby Royal Dornoch.
The Carnegie Links was abandoned following its namesake’s death in 1919 but reopened in 1995 following a total reconstruction and redesign by Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie. Mackenzie returned to renovate the course in 2007, this time with the help of Skibo’s director of golf, David Thompson, and estate director Gary Gruber, who was course manager at the time.
In its current state, the Carnegie Links is a magnificent 6,833-yard championship course. Everything about it is pristine, due in part to Skibo’s expert team of greenskeepers, but also because fewer than 4,000 rounds of golf are played on it annually. If you happen to play one of these rounds, consider yourself lucky, as the Carnegie Links was once the reserve of the club’s members. Thankfully, times have changed.