Quick quiz, where is the oldest existing golf course outside of Scotland?
If you’ve been reading Aussie Golfer for some time, you may remember this question from golf trivia a while ago and you may have guessed it is in Australia.
Ratho Golf Links was established soon after the arrival of European settlers to the region in 1821.
There are strong Scottish connections all around the area and the first game of golf was played on a property called ‘Ratho’ in the 1820’s, well before golf had established itself outside of Scotland.
The course is still very much in use and it can be played for a $15 green fee with all money going towards course restoration and maintenance.
The course is unique with square greens surrounded by fences to protect them from grazing sheep. These square greens are reminiscent of the greens at St.Andrews and other old courses in Scotland.
It is a fascinating journey back to golf in the 1800’s. From the Ratho Golf website:
Another legacy to be found on early golf courses, certainly at Ratho, is that tees are hard up against greens. This originated from the rule of grabbing a pinch of sand out of the hole after putting out, and teeing off within two club lengths.
I’ve lost track of the number of golfers heading south to Tasmania to go and play the increasingly popular Barnbougle Dunes Golf Course. The Ratho Golf Course should also be on your itinerary if you’re heading to the Apple Isle. There is a real ‘slice’ of golfing history in this place.