Askernish Golf Course

Nestled within Scotland’s rugged Outer Hebrides, Askernish is a lesser known golf course on the western Isle of South Uist. Though it may be a hidden gem among Scotland’s iconic golf courses, the rich history and breathtaking landscape surrounding Askernish has marvelled and challenged many keen golfers. 

In this blog post, we’ve shared some of our favourite hotels, restaurants and landmarks in this beautiful part of Scotland, as well as our top tips for playing The Askernish Golf Course as part of the Old Tom Morris Trail… 

Course Overview

Askernish Golf Course
AddressAskernish,Isle of South Uist,HS8 5SYScotland
Websitehttps://www.askernishgolfclub.com/ 
Location 25 miles West of the Isle of Skye
CategoryHidden gem
Holes18
Style Links
Par35 – 37
Length6,259 yards

Course design

With 6,259 yards of unique terrain, Askernish is often underestimated but provides a challenging round to even the more keen golfers. It has become a highly acclaimed course in the world of golf due to its seamless blend with the natural environment surrounding it, with the incredible scenery of South Uist and naturally occurring ‘Machair’ dunes embracing the course – a geographical feature unique to the west coast of Scotland.

With minimal man-made additions and manicuring of the course, a gentle opening to the first few holes provide you with your bearings before you’re met with the true nature of Askernish. Expect challenging rough, tight driving holes and elevated greens as you snake through the dunes, with the roaring Atlantic ocean at your side. This is not a course for the faint-hearted, Askernish offers an unforgettable round of golf in spectacular surroundings. 

Course history

The Askernish Golf Course was designed in 1891, and has become world renowned for its story as a lost Old Tom Morris course. After falling into disrepair, the course was abandoned and remained relatively unknown until Master Greenkeeper Gordon Irvine discovered it while on holiday over 70 years later. 

In 2008, a two year restoration project of the course – led by Irvine – was completed in a quest to breathe life back into the original course. This was done using similar techniques to the way it was initially designed over 100 years ago, with minor levelling and conditioning so golfers can simply play the land as it lies – as nature intended.

Regional history

Askernish was originally a small crofting community on the Isle of South Uist, located in Scotland’s breathtaking Outer Hebrides. These islands have been inhabited for at least 4,000 years, with a megalithic stone circle at Callanish – equally significant as Stonehenge. 

Norwegian rule lasted from the 9th until the 12th century, before the kingdom of Scotland established control in 1493, when the Outer Hebridean history began to merge with the historic Scottish counties they became a part of. 

The fascinating history of these islands, along with the truly stunning scenery has remained foundational to the culture here. South Uist is one of the last places where the Gaelic language has survived, with the crofting industries remaining an important part of everyday life on this beautiful island.

Local hospitality and retail

Where to stay

Though the island is relatively small, Uist is home to a number of delightful places to rest your head after a day of exploring this breathtaking part of the world. Offering superior accommodation and stunning sea views, The Polochar Inn is an iconic Hebridean Inn within this magical location – and just a 15 minute drive from Askernish Golf Course. The hotel restaurant offers a fantastic menu of locally sourced ingredients, from fresh Uist lobsters to Stornoway black pudding, for a memorable meal that stays true to its setting. 

The Borrodale Hotel is another excellent choice, which grew from the old doctor’s house and surgery to become a modest hotel in 1978. With original stone walls and local produce served in the dining room, it certainly provides you with an authentic feel to your Hebridean adventure. In the lounge bar you’ll find a selection of malt whiskies and wines, and a cosy snug where you can relax after a long day on the dunes.

Where to eat

Overlooking a small white-sand bay and boasting beautiful views across the Sound of Barra, the charming Kilbride Café has become a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. Here you can enjoy a number of refreshments, such as a classic cooked breakfast, a hearty baked potato or some locally sourced fish and chips.

Croft and Cuan is a wonderful pop-up who create delicious street food using contemporary and traditional elements. From burgers and tacos, to curries, hotdogs and salads, they pride themselves on using incredible local produce to make fresh, grab-and-go food their customers love.

Heading over the causeway between North and South Uist is Westford Inn – an award winning pub and bar offering delicious homemade meals using the finest local ingredients, with a cosy and welcoming atmosphere to make you feel at home on the islands.

North Uist Distillery Co

Where to shop

The Outer Hebrides are home to a thriving distilling scene, where you can discover the islands’ iconic malt whiskies and boutique gins. The family run North Uist Distillery Co offers the multi award winning Downpour gin range and a number of Scotland’s best artisan spirits. Further distillers include Isle of Barra, Isle of Raasay, Torabhaig and Abhainn Dearg – where the first single malt whisky was produced in an Outer Hebridean distillery in 1829. 

There are also a selection of galleries and gift shops across the islands, with beautiful pieces that truly capture the natural beauty of the Outer Hebrides – a perfect souvenir to take a little piece of the islands home with you. 

On the Isle of Harris there’s Joceline Hildrey Illustration, Hebridean Design Co, Harris Art Gallery and of course, a number of Harris Tweed proprietors. Dotted among the other islands is Hebscape Gallery, The Hebridean Soap Company and Coralbox gift shop, to name a few. 

Iconic landmarks

The incredible history and beauty of the Outer Hebrides provides you with a number of fascinating landmarks to discover. Stunning white sand beaches and sparkling turquoise waters can be found across the islands to offer you a unique sense of paradise. South Uist itself is home to Howmore Beach, Stilligarry Beach, Stoneybridge Beach, Polochar Beach, to name just a few. 

In South Uist you’ll also find a number of ancient statues and sculptures that give you a real sense of the fascinating history and culture of the Outer Hebrides. The listening place, the colossal Our Lady of the Isles statue and the ruined cottage of iconic heroine Flora MacDonald are just a few landmarks situated within South Uist which have remarkable stories behind them.

The best photo spots

  • Daliburgh machair
  • Orasaigh
  • South Ford 
  • Cula Bay, Nunton – Benbecula
  • Beinn Mhòr from Loch Ceann a’ Bhaigh, Loch Aoineart
  • The hills of South Uist
  • Hecla

Our top tips for playing this course

  • Take lots of golf balls! 
  • Keep it low, use the wind as your friend
  • Take yourself back in history and embrace the pure nature of the course
  • Take time to say hello to the locals in the clubhouse

Watch Stephen Proctor’s Askernish Golf Club Dispatch here

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