Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Course

Welcome to Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Course

Links Golf Since 1793


The Club

Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Club is a Community Amateur Sports Club as recognised by HMRC.

Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Club is the 15th Oldest Recorded Club in the World and was established in 1793. The Club operates as a private members club with visiting golfers most welcome seven days a week. The first documentary evidence of golf being played over Chanonry (now called Fortrose) was in 1702. It was contained in a letter from a Mr George MacKenzie of Balconie, a cousin of the Earl of Seaforth and provost of Fortrose at that time. Writing to his Edinburgh law agent, he thanks him for sending him a club and golf balls but admits that as a farmer he should not really be playing golf at harvest time. He then excuses himself at succumbing to such sporting pleasure by adding the words ‘Oportet Vivre’ (Life is for living) – a philosophy followed by many golfers to this day!

Chanonry Ness stretches like a protective arm for about a mile into the Moray Firth, sheltering within its oxters the two ancient towns of Fortrose and Rosemarkie. Its history, likewise, stretches back beyond the Dark Ages, beyond the realms of fairyland back to the age when glaciers left behind their murrain of pebbles. Over the years, Picts and Vikings, saints and pilgrims, bishops and businessmen, sportsmen and soldiers, tourists and natives alike have walked to the Point, scented the golden gorse and admired the amazing views.

When King David 1 created the Diocese of Ross c.1130 AD, the old stone church in Rosemarkie became its first cathedral. Successive bishops complained that it was too small, so in 1235 the Pope granted permission to Bishop Robert to build a splendid new cathedral in Fortrose. Up until the Reformation of 1560, the Shrine of St Duthac of Tain became, according to ancient sources, ‘the most celebrated national place of pilgrimage’ in Scotland. Pilgrims in their hundreds were rowed or sailed across the Firth, disembarked at Chanonry Point, walked the Ness, stopped to pray at the Cathedral and the Shrine of St Boniface-Curadan, crossed the Black Isle, caught the Cromarty Ferry and from there walked to Tain.

James 1V, one of Scotland’s most diligent and charismatic of kings, was perhaps the most famous pilgrim to be rowed across the Firth to the Point. Much of his life was spent on pilgrimages in expiation for his father’s death for which he blamed himself. He first visited the Shrine of St Duthac in Tain in 1493 at the age of 21. His usual route was across the ferries at Ardersier and Cromarty with pious halts at Chanonry Cathedral and the Shrine of St Boniface-Curadan in Rosemarkie. Sometimes extra boats were needed for his servants, horses and gear and on two occasions his baggage included a portable organ for use at Tain. On one occasion in 1510, he brought his queen, Margaret Tudor, but mostly he travelled light and alone. Once he rode from Stirling through Perth and Aberdeen to Elgin (130 miles) in one day, slept on a table in his riding clothes, rose at dawn then rode and sailed the further 40 miles to reach Tain in time to hear Mass. On the last of his eighteen visits, he walked barefoot and in sackcloth along what became known as the King’s Causeway in Tain. This was in August 1513 not long before he was killed at Flodden.

Of the various visitors to the course over the years, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith was one of the most distinguished. He sent a personal letter to thank the Club Secretary for being given the ‘courtesy of the green’.

The original wooden bungalow close to the sixth tee was built as a summer picnic house by the patron, J.D.Fletcher of Rosehaugh. Among his many guests to be entertained there was the millionaire philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, who would sail down from Skibo Castle, anchor off the Point and join Mr Fletcher in a few holes.

King Haakon of Norway with the then Crown Prince Olaf visited the course during the Second World War. Some of his troops were stationed in Fortrose.

With our unique setting, breathtaking views, including a dolphin colony this fantastic links golf course is open to visiting golfers who come to the area to enjoy what links golf is all about. We are open all year round and would suggest that if you would like to come and see for yourself you will be made most welcome and the staff at the Club will be only too happy to
provide assistance to enhance your golfing experience that little bit more.

For all enquiries relating to Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Club

Golf Shop (Telephone Bookings) – 01381 620733/620529

Fortrose Golf Links Club house
Fortrose Club House Seating area