As Perthshire prepares to welcome the Ryder Cup, one club is leading the way in thinking differently. As Mark Alexander finds out, change is afoot at Pitlochry Golf Club

Golf in the Highlands is set for big things. Mark my words, in the coming years as anticipation grows ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, the heather, gorse and glens of Scotland will become watchwords for journalists lauding the hidden gems of the north. This will be Highland golf’s day in the sun.

Of course, golf in the Highlands isn’t just about the rarefied surroundings of Gleneagles. Next door, a new, high-end course called Gwest is being built and further afield Taymouth Castle is going through an extensive redevelopment. Things are shaping up nicely in the Highlands, and although much of the excitement will inevitably centre around Gleneagles, Perthshire, in particular, is getting itself dusted down and spruced up for the biggest party in golf.

Leading the way is Pitlochry Golf Club which is making plans for an ambitious overhaul that will include a 12-bay covered driving range, a short-game area, a nine-hole academy course and two new par fives on the 18-hole course which was originally opened in 1909. When finished, the £200,000 project will mean the attractive parkland course will boast practice facilities to rival anything in the area.

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