The 1st hole is a short 303 yard par-4 that challenges the player to go for the green on the tee shot. An accurate and long drive is rewarded with a chance at birdie. But watch out for this difficult to read green. The tee box for this starting hole is in front of the clubhouse veranda, giving the feeling of a gallery.
The Gaelic name is phonetically pronounced ‘Tye un Trew-ish’, the House of Trousers. It was an inn at Clachan Seil, south of Oban in Argyll, where Highland soldiers serving in the British Army had to remove their kilts, under the Disarming Act provisions, before being allowed to return home. The idea is – put away your troubles and enjoy the golf and the fellowship.
#2 ~ An Sloc
The 2nd hole is the course signature hole a 204 yard par-3, with a breathtaking drop over a small pond. The bunkers are very much in play, making the tiered green more difficult to hit than it would appear from the elevated tee. One hopes to make a great shot in such a truly beautiful setting.
Pronounced ‘Un Slock’, it is a low lying area surrounded by higher ground, a pit. It is also a well known place on the road to Inverness in Scotland.
The 3rd hole is a straight-forward and attractive 395 yard par-4 with the gentle shot value of an early progression hole. It’s the first of the ‘Old Course’ riverbed holes, along with 4, 17 and 18.
‘Strah un tew-ur’ translates as the River Valley of the Wright. There was a mill here when the course first started.
#4 ~ Roon the Ben
The 4th hole is a 405 yard par-4 dogleg right, thus this name in the Scots dialect. The fairway possesses the undulations of an old river bed and gives a unique character to fairways on this hole.
The 5th is the first of nine new holes which were opened in 1990. Through an undulating fairway with many lateral hazards, this 510 yard par-5 culminates with a well-bunkered elevated green.
It kind of winds and ‘snakes’ it’s way up there. The Gaelic is pronounced ‘NEE-un EE-ver’. It is a poetic reference to a snake and literally means “Ivor’s daughter”. The descendants of Ivor were said to be immune to the bite of the snake. In the days of pagan practices in Scotland, around the first of February, the folk would go to the hills and see if the snake came out of its hole – which may be the origin of our Ground Hog Day.
The snake reference is also inspired by a bit of local history. In 1796, Zephaniah Williams, at one time a bodyguard to General George Washington, and a native named Joe Snake established a route from William’s Point to the base of Brown’s Mountain. They may have passed close by.
#6 ~ Ris a’ Bhràighe
‘Reesh uh Vrye-uh’ is Up the Hill in Gaelic which is very evident in this challenging 385 yard par-4 uphill left. This hole takes advantage of some of the course’s spectacular scenery, especially at the green looking back towards the North Grant area. The right sloping fairway can kick balls well to the right in dry conditions. The severly sloping three tiered green offers a degree of difficulty to even well-placed shots.
‘Un Arsht’ is the Height, a High Place. This is the high point on the course. It is also the type of shot demanded on this 144 yard Par 3 hole because of the front bunker and the narrow green.
#8 ~ Sluagh-ghairm
‘Sloo-ugh gair-um’ is a Gaelic battle cry. This is a hole where an energetic drive is possible and desirable. A picturesque 511 yard par-5, the 8th hole has a 15-20 metre vertical drop from the tees. The fairway is generous but a shot to the right can leave one close to the hidden #11 green, and to the left into the woods.
‘Tye Yay’ is House of God which is the motto of St. Ninian?s Cathedral which can be prominently seen from the tee. The construction of the cathedral was a key development in the town?s early history and it eventually lead to the founding of St. Francis Xavier University. The cornerstone was laid by Bishop John Cameron on June 29, 1867 – two days before Confederation.
It’s also a play on the pronunciation ‘Tidy? which is what your shots have to be to avoid the OB on the left and the trees on the right as well as the tricky sloped and undulating green.
#10 ~ Tulloch Gorm
The 10th is a 500 yard par-5 which culminates with a steep 60-70 yard pitch uphill. The green slopes slightly backward and a pitch or chip requires good placement or will end up at the rear of or even off the green. A shot too far left leaves the golfer in the greenside bunker.
‘Tull-lockh Gore-um’ is the Green Hill, which is what you see from the tee, and it celebrates a complicated and famous Scottish fiddle tune by J. Scott Skinner.
The 11th hole is a moderately long 380 yard par-4 heading north back up the ridge.
‘Mak Siccar? is a historical Scots expression, ‘I’ll make certain’. The defeat of Wallace by Edward I at Falkirk in 1298 was due to the defection of John Comyn, Earl of Badenoch, to the English. Comyn had ambitions of becoming King of Scotland. At a Monastery in Dumfries Robert the Bruce, a strong supporter of Wallace, and Comyn came face to face and Comyn was stabbed by Bruce. Rushing out to his escorts, Bruce told them “I doubt I have slain Comyn.” Roger Kirkpatrick, saying “I mak Siccar” ran into the building and stabbed him to the heart. Subsequently Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland in 1306.
One had indeed make certain on this tee shot with trouble both left and right on both the tee and approach shots.
#12 ~ An Doire
The 12th is an extremely challenging 165 yard uphill par-3. With a deep drop to the left, a guarding front bunker, a high gradient green and trees on the right, this hole calls for an extremely accurate tee shot.
‘Un Door-uh’ is Gaelic for the Copse, highlighting the strategic importance of the native black spruce grove just short and right of the green. It’s also a play on words, the ‘cops? guarding the green.
‘Ee-pull-lack Oh-pull-lack’ is Gaelic for See-saw which is what you get on this down and up and down and up hole.
Players should lay-up on the ledge in front of the gully, or hit a long one (230 yards), usually against the wind, to clear the hidden boulder-lined stream. Such is the price for inexperience! If members are around, ask for help.
#14 ~ Sios Gu Socair
The 14th is a gentle sloping 360 yard par-4 off a set of exposed elevated tees. The landing area, which slopes to the right, requires that all shots be placed slightly to the left off the tee. The hole culminates with a green situated 20 yards below the elevation of the landing area.
‘Shee-us goo so-kur’ is Gaelic for ‘Gently Down? as at this point on the course we are going gently back down to the riverbed.
Often regarded as one of the signature holes of the Antigonish Golf & Country Club, the 15th is approached across a pond. It is a short but exciting 106 yard par-3. ‘Wee Scunner? is Scots for Little Menace. It’s a forced carry to a severely sloped back to front green.
#16 ~ An Darach Mòr
The 16th is a deceptively long 377 yard par-4 which culminates in an uphill pitch to the green. ‘Un Dar-ockh More’ is The Big Oak, which is what is in your face on the tee shot. A shot hit between the big oak and the large maple on the right side of the fairway is an excellent line is often counted as points ‘for a fieldgoal’ in many member Sunday morning matches.
The 483 yard 17th hole returns to one of the ‘old’ par-5 holes on the course. On the riverbed floodplain, this hole has a sharp dogleg left after the second approach shot. This hole used to be flanked by some magnificent elm trees before the onslaught of Dutch Elm Disease.
The hole runs beside an out-of bounds railway all along the right side of this and the 18th fairway. ‘Rod ee-ar-ing’, being Gaelic for Railway, Iron Road.
#18 ~ Thig air ais
The 18th and final hole is a tough 376 yard par-4 with a deep pond on the right side, a creek on the left side and a bunker in the middle of the landing area. The hole can be safely played one of several ways: short off the tee down the right, leaving 150-170 yards over the trees and pond on the right; or long down the centre-left side carrying the bunker, leaving an open shot to the green of less than 150 yards. Be careful of the pond on the left of this beautiful naturally sloped green.
A wonderful and very challenging finishing hole. ‘Hick air ash’. Haste ye back.