Time capsule will ensure Royal Dornoch’s illustrious past is not forgotten

Royal Dornoch general manager Neil Hampton (left) and Captain Alan Ramsey
Royal Dornoch general manager Neil Hampton (left) and Captain Alan Ramsey

A famous Highland golf club is ensuring its illustrious past is not forgotten by future generations.

Royal Dornoch Golf Club held a series of celebrations in 2016 to mark 400 years of golf being played on the town links. The final act was to bury a time capsule with a host of memories looking back over the centuries, with instructions that it should not be opened until 2116.

And a specially-commissioned stone marker was installed this week by club captain Alan Ramsey and general manager Neil Hampton, pinpointing where the time capsule has been buried.

The marker was crafted from Huntly granite by Golspie firm Sutherland Stonework.

The time capsule contains a mobile phone loaded with photos of the course, clubhouse and staff; a handwritten letter from the captain; local whisky and information about the course, its design, fees and future plans.

Collages from local Brownies and Boys Brigade and pictures from the 400-year celebrations and pieces of Royal Dornoch tartan and tweed have also been included, along with a thesis written by PhD student Wade Cormack on the history of golf and other sports played in the area.

The time capsule is buried at the start of the path which leads from the 18th green to the clubhouse.

Mr Hampton said: “We take great pride in the fact we are one of the oldest locations where golf has been played in Scotland.

“The contents of the time capsule provoked a bit of discussion in the club as we have such a long and illustrious history to cover.

“Whoever opens it in 2116 will get a detailed account of how the course and Dornoch have changed over the last 400 years as well as the 100 years since it was buried.”

The first known reference of golf being played in Dornoch is in 1616 when John, the 13th Earl of Sutherland, was sent to school in the town and his expenses showed that ten pounds annually was provided for “bowes, arroes, golff clubbes, and balls, with other necessars for his L[ordship’s] exercise”.

The golf club was officially formed in 1977 and was nine holes long and in 1886, the veteran champion golfer Old Tom Morris was invited to the town to lay out a more fully planned course.

Royal status was granted in 1906 by King Edward VII, through the influence of the Duchess of Sutherland, a good friend to the club.

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