Brora Golf Club has extended its link to five-time Open champions by awarding legendary golfer Tom Watson honorary membership.
The renowned Sutherland links, one of the finest in the UK, has a rich history with Open winners given its connections to James Braid and Peter Thomson.
Braid, who redesigned the course at Brora in 1923, won his fifth Open in 1910, while the recently-deceased Thomson claimed his five titles between 1954 and 1965.
Prior to the Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl in Wales, the American flew into Scotland to tune up his game and enjoy a true links experience with family and friends at some of the Highlands’ most notable venues: Royal Dornoch, Nairn, Castle Stuart and Brora.
Watson, who won four of his five Open crowns in Scotland, savoured his experience, with then Brora senior champion Ronnie Sim acting as caddy for his round at Brora.
Club officials have since made contact with Watson and now added him to their honorary status given his love for the links at Brora.
Watson, the USA Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles in 2014, said: “I’m delighted to be awarded honorary membership at Brora, joining my fellow five-time Open champions James Braid and Peter Thomson. Last year, we flew to Inverness, went up to the north and just had a marvellous time. Brora was a wonderful links golf course.
“Playing the incoming nine downwind was really tough for me. I couldn’t keep the ball on the greens. I think I hit one green in regulation coming in and shot 76. It was a very good course. I’d like to challenge it again and look forward to coming back one day.”
Brora club president Andy Stewart added: “We’re privileged Tom Watson has accepted honorary membership of the club. Ever since Mr Watson was here last summer and spoke so highly of Brora, we had this in our plans and are now delighted to make it official.
“Last July, Mr Watson was greeted by a small band of fans and well-wishers. He graciously signed autographs and posed for photos. After his round, he visited the Peter Thomson room and signed a flag for the club. My only regret was that I wasn’t able to be there to greet Mr Watson personally.
Watson enjoyed a glittering career that saw him win eight Major titles, including his Open victories in Scotland at Carnoustie (1975), Turnberry (1977), Muirfield (1980) and Royal Troon (1982).
Brora GC – established in 1891 and home to the James Braid Golfing Society – offers the traditional nine holes out, and nine holes back, measuring 6,211 yards off the white tees and a tamer 5,951 yards off the yellows. With a par of 70, it was also described by the late Thomson, as “one of the finest natural links courses I have had the pleasure of playing.”
The club has bucked national trends this year, with membership up by nine per cent across all categories over the last 12 months, while the club has welcomed a record number of 6,500 visitors as it continues to grow its local, national and international appeal.
For more information on all membership categories and visitor bookings at Brora, please contact Tony Gill, secretary, on email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Picture caption left to right: Tom Watson’s brother, Ridge Watson, Tom Watson, friends Tuck Clagett and Janine Clagett)