Askernish Golf Club has a long and almost mythical history. Old Tom Morris came to South Uist in 1891 to create a course at the request of the wealthy land owner, Lady Cathcart, so that she could impress her high society guests. Old Tom created an 18 hole course that was maintained by the local crofters until the early 1920s when the demand for golf declined and social pressures on the local people meant that maintaining the course was not viable. Over the course of the next 80 years the course that Old Tom created was taken back by the wild. The land was kept as 12 holes, and 9 holes, and 9 holes with 18 tees, and was also used as an airstrip. In 2005 a group of locals decided that they wanted their course back and set to work, with the help of some of the golf industry’s biggest and best names, restoring this ’lost’ course. In 2008 the course was reopened as an 18 hole facility that has received the highest acclaim from golfing media and beyond.
The course begins with a 6 hole loop which includes 2 par 5s. These holes give you a gentle start where undulating greens and large elevation changes provide the challenges to prepare you for the coming 12 holes. When you reach the 7 th tee you are greeted by the Atlantic Ocean, views of Barra and you are presented with golf holes that run through some of the most brilliant dune systems in golf.
In June 1891 Old Tom Morris accompanied by his companion Horace Hutchinson travelled to South Uist at the request of the landowners to inspect the machair lands with a view to laying out a new course. "Old" Tom eventually laid out eighteen holes on the rolling dunes of Askernish Farm, although he declared that the choice of links land available was "staggering." Horace mentioned the trip in a magazine called "Golf", the forerunner of "Golf Illustrated", for which he was to contribute regularily over the next thirty years.
The pair continued their journey, moving north to Stornoway to inspect a new course which had been completed the year before.
During its early years the course would have been used to entice visitors to the island, as a form of sport to be enjoyed along with the traditional persuits of fishing and shooting. We know from Frederick Rea's book 'A School in South Uist'; that some of the residents were regular players but these would have been mostly confined to the local clergy, doctors and teachers. It was maintained by local farm workers using scythes - they were also seconded as caddies for the visiting gentry.