Bute bound: 522 mainland courses played...Now Stu eyes 34 island layouts

Stuart Macfarlane, Lanark Golf Club member, in 2018 he completed playing all 522 mainland golf courses in Scotland (Submitted pic)
Stuart Macfarlane, Lanark Golf Club member, in 2018 he completed playing all 522 mainland golf courses in Scotland (Submitted pic)

Scottish golf enthusiast Stuart Macfarlane has set his sights on playing all 34 of Scotland’s island courses, having completed all 522 of this country’s mainland layouts.

Lanark Golf Club member Stuart (71) reached the incredible mainland landmark – set across over half a century of marching the fairways – when he played Loch Lomond last month.

The 15-handicapper played Port Bannatyne Golf Club as a boy around 60 years ago and now wants to play Rothesay and Bute next year.

Stuart told The Buteman: “I think I played Port Bannatyne on a family holiday as a 12 or 13-year-old boy.

“It is one of 10 Scottish island courses I have played already.

“There are a total of 34 island courses in Scotland and Rothesay and Bute are two of the 24 I haven’t played yet.

“My intention is to play all of these remaining courses next year.”

Stuart – who started playing Scotland’s mainland courses way back in the 1960s – revealed that he has received many ‘pats on the back’ since reaching his 522 milestone.

He said: “When I completed all the courses over so many years my fellow Lanark members were very pleased for me.

“Since the news went onto the Lanark Golf Club website I have had a few phonecalls saying: ‘That is brilliant – how did you manage to do it?’

“My son Iain said he’d put the news on Twitter and it had received 80-odd likes.

“I jokingly told him: ‘You didn’t ask me if I wanted it put on social media’.

“And I joked that I’d now be so famous that the paparazzi would be waiting on me the next time I went to Lanark Golf Club!”

Stuart – who for many years worked as a senior HR manager for British Steel – began playing several different Scottish courses back in the 1960s, when the then Airdrie Golf Club member would play three or four different layouts a year with pals.

But it was only after his retirement from his next job – a trainer with Scottish Enterprise – in 2010 that Stuart came up with the idea of playing every single Scottish mainland course and he began ticking off between 40 and 50 a year.

Younger generations of Stuart’s family have also caught the golfing bug.

Both his grandkids are members at Stirling GC, with Ross (17) winning this year’s boys title there and Alison (20) being a former girls champion.

Stuart rates Fife links course Crail as his favourite.

“I love the traditional links courses,” he said.

“I was a member of Crail Golfing Society for seven or eight years.

“You need to think your way around a links course like Crail as the design of them is a bit more challenging.

“Their history is great and when a wind is blowing they are even more challenging!

“They are unlike the new clubs, these big US courses that are all about hitting the ball as hard as you can.”

On his home course of Lanark, Stuart said: “Lanark is one of the best inland courses and is always in great condition.

“We are very lucky to have a course like that in great condition all year round.”

Stuart is grateful for the support of his wife Anne, who has accompanied him on several golfing trips to the north east of Scotland.