Benbecula Golf Club – An Outer Hebrides Golfing Must

Benbecula is an island of the Outer Hebrides in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Scotland.

It’s joined by a causeway to North Uist to the north and South Uist to the south.

The island is about 12 kilometres (7 miles) from west to east and a similar distance from north to south.

Benbecula’s main settlement and administrative centre is Balivanich (Scottish Gaelic: Baile a’ Mhanaich, meaning “Town of the Monk”).

In 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie was caught in a storm and forced to land on Benbecula. The population of Benbecula were sympathetic to the Jacobite cause, and smuggled him off the island to safety, as the song has it: “over the sea to Skye”.

In 2006, local residents took control of parts of the island in a community buy-out. The previous landowners, a sporting syndicate, sold their 372-square-kilometre (92,000-acre) estate, which included Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay for £4.5 million to a community-owned organisation known as Stòras Uibhist, which now manages the land in perpetuity.

The Benbecula golf course is a fun nine-holer located right beside the small Benbecula regiponal airport

All roads lead to Benbecula Golf Course on the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebridies (Photo – GolfByTourMiss.Com)

 

Welcome to Benbecula GC (Photograph – GolfByTourMiss.com)

Golf, and from the club’s website, was first played on Benbecula in 1962.The “course” consisted of four holes in the centre green of the airfield. At that time, airport traffic was primarily military. As the air traffic increased and safety became paramount, the “course” was eventually outlawed.

In 1984 the arrival of golf loving RSM John Ransome at the RA Range Hebrides heralded the rebirth of golf interest and he, together with fellow enthusiasts, designed and built the course much as it is today. John was later to complete a second tour in the Hebrides in a more senior status and continue to improve the course known as the RA Range Golf Club.

As the RA Range civilian staff increased, it became quickly apparent that the club should be open to civilians, both range employees and local inhabitants and when the course was officially opened late in 1985 by the Range Brigadiers wife Mrs Painter, there was a mixture of both military and civilians present.

Ted (Twiiter @Ted_Koala) gets himself on the first tee at Benbecula GC (Photograph – GolfByTourMiss.com)

 

Benbecula GC (Photograph – GolfByTourMiss.com)

The course was to be and still is to this day, maintained by its members on a voluntary basis, much of the original equipment coming from various mainland military sources, which at that time, were being transformed from self maintenance to contractual maintenance.

In the 1990`s and demise of the cold war, the RA Range lost much of its purpose and the exit of Military personnel began. It was apparent that if the club were to survive, it should be handed over to its now majority civilian members. This was done and the club re-named The Benbecula Golf Club with the resident “oyster catchers” providing a club emblem. At this time the ground was still owned by the M.O.D.

In 2009, with a mere handful of military staff on the Island and rapidly decreasing numbers of visiting units, the M.O.D. decided to sell land no longer required for operational purposes and offer it to the local community under the right to buy scheme. A sports association was formed on Benbecula and with grant aid, the land was purchased in 2010. The ground to be leased to the club by the association.

The club has some 65 members and a constantly increasing number of visitors. An “honesty box” is in operation and the course very well maintained by the members, with a great many competitions taking place throughout the year.

Benbecula GC (Photograph – GolfByTourMiss.com)

The course at Benbecula Golf Club is a great test for golfers of all levels, making splendid use of Benbecula’s undulating flat terrain. The water hazards and bunkers on the course, combined with the undulating ground, place a premium on accurate club selection.

The course, 4359 yards off the medal tees is, as the standard scratch score rating of 62 indicates, never other than an excellent test of true golf. Any change in the strength or direction of the wind, that usually blows north-westerly towards the adjacent Atlantic Ocean, provides new challenges that are compounded by the undulating terrain and finely contoured greens cleverly located around the course.

With a good supply of bunkers plus a few meandering water hazards, all combine to present variety and challenge that requires a true test of club selection with the chances very much in favour of even the best of players being forced to use every club in the bag.



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