In 1977, Lorne Rubenstein, an avid golfer, travelled to Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands. Young and adrift in life, he was profoundly affected by the experience. As he writes, 'My week in Dornoch introduced me to a place with which I felt a connection. A week wasn't living there, but it was enough for Dornoch to imprint itself on my mind.'
Twenty-three years later, in 2000, now an established golf writer, Rubenstein returned to Dornoch to spend an entire summer. He rented a flat close to the Royal Dornoch Golf Club and set out to explore the area on many levels.
Rubenstein writes about the melancholy history of the Highland Clearances, which have left the beautiful landscape sparsely populated to this day. He writes about the friendly and sometimes eccentric people who love their town, their golf and their single malt whisky, and who delight in sharing them with visitors. But most of all he writes about a summer lived in a community where golf is king and the golf course is part of the common lands where townspeople stroll of an evening. Rubenstein is able to return to thinking of golf as play, as opposed to a game of analysis and effort.
A Season in Dornoch is an affectionate portrait of a place and the people who live there, a fascinating look at golf and the spirit and skills it calls forth, and a perceptive and ultimately moving memoir of one man's quest to experience again the pure love of sport that he knew in his youth.
Lorne Rubenstein has written a golf column for Golf and Mail since 1980. He is the author of many books and has won the National Magazine Award in Canada and three first-place awards from the Golf Writers Association of America.