Don't overlook Royal Dornoch's Struie Course | Scotland Golf
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 17th
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 17th
The 17th hole on the Struie Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club plays over a burn. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - clubhouse
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club - clubhouse
Visitors who play either course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club should plan for lunch in the clubhouse. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 3rd
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 3rd
The third hole of the Struie Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club crosses over a burn. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 4th
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 4th
The fourth hole of the Struie Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club doglegs right among the gorse. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 5th
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 5th
The fifth hole of the Struie Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club plays along a forest. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 8th
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 8th
It's an impossible up and down from the right greenside bunker on the par-3 eighth hole of the Struie Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 9th
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 9th
The ninth hole on the Struie Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club is a strong par 5 through the gorse. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 10th
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 10th
The 10th hole of the Struie Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club runs along the Dornoch Firth. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 12th
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 12th
The par-3 12th hole on the Struie Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club is called "Cathedral. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 15th
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - 15th
The 309-yard 15th hole of the Struie Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club runs along a wall. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - no. 18
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Struie Course - no. 18
The Struie Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club finishes at an interesting, uphill par 3. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
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Royal Dornoch Golf Club's Struie Course: An overlooked gem in the Scottish Highlands

DORNOCH, Scotland -- Golfers come from the around the world to see the majestic Championship Course at Royal Dornoch Golf Club in the Scottish Highlands.

Only the wise leave with an appreciation for the Struie Course too.

Visitors, especially Americans, roll into town to play the famous course once or twice before heading to some other famous links without bothering to see the 6,265-yard, par-71 gem across the parking lot. The Struie has been pieced together over the years, although you really wouldn't know it. Three of its holes -- no. 14-no. 16 -- date to the "Ladies course" constructed by the club in the early 20th century. When the Championship Course was extended along the beach, its holes 13-18 were incorporated into the Struie.

English architect Donald Steel used more new land to build five new holes in 1999 and modify tees and greens on others, a project that elevated the Struie among the best "relief" courses in Scotland. The Struie has a loyal following, especially among the tour bus/van drivers who are allowed to play it for free while their golfers get humbled by the other links.

The Struie's challenges are more subtle and forgiving. Gorse is the primary defense off the tee with a few bunkers lurking dangerously near certain greens. Its scenery can't compare, either, although the 10th fairway skirting the Dornoch Firth and the view of the Dornoch Cathedral on no. 12 are quite good. A burn runs through several par 4s, providing headaches off the third and 17th tees.

The Struie ends playfully at a 127-yard par 3, featuring an elevated green with a wicked tilt. Golfers who can't have fun playing Royal Dornoch's Struie Course don't belong in my foursome.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

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Royal Dornoch Golf Club's Struie Course: An overlooked gem in the Scottish Highlands