University of St. Andrews Library Photographic Archive

Location: Uists and Benbecula
the natural world, the view from 2020

The restoration of Askernish Golf Course

The story of the Askernish Golf Club in South Uist is one of dedication and passion to restore the eighteen holes course originally laid over the rolling dunes of Askernish farm in 1891 by ‘Old’ Tom Morris, the father of modern golf.

Originally maintained with scythes, the course fell into decline but was saved by setting up a shorter nine holes course at the nearby airport landing strip, more easily maintained by grass cutting machinery. Golf became an increasingly popular sport in the area and club membership soared in the 1970’s. But it took until 2005 for the club to start on its restoration of the original Askernish Golf course with the help of volunteers and professionals like international golf course consultant Gordon Irvine MG and golf course architect Martin Ebert.

By December 2007, planning permission was received for all works on the course. The aim was for it to remain as authentic to its 1891 lay-out as possible. Allowing cattle and sheep to graze the land during the winter months and prohibiting all artificial fertilisers or herbicides, Askernish was branded ‘the most natural golf course in the world’! The course was fully complete by the end of May 2008. After allowing the new greens to properly mature, the official opening on 22 August 2008 saw over 100 competitors and dozens of press, media, locals and well-wishers flock to the club.

Ongoing fine tuning for this 'holy grail of all golf courses' is supported by its life members including Honorary President and Scottish football legend Kenny Dalgleish.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.