Meet the man who created his own golf course

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We all fantasise about owning our own private golf course, but few manage to turn that dream into a reality. Tommy Hyndman is unlike most people, however, and his story is born out of necessity, rather than a rags-to-riches tale.

In 2006, Hyndman and his family moved 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to swap the bright lights of upstate New York for the remote Scottish island of Fair Isle. They arrived to find there were no pubs, restaurants, hotels or even doctors on the island, let alone a golf course.

So he created his own layout, complete with proper tees, holes and flagsticks bought off eBay. The 53-year-old pays the National Trust of Scotland just £50 a year in rent to cultivate his love of golf, and has been known to play in 60mph winds. But as Hyndman explains, that's just an average day in the Shetlands.

Meet the man who created his own golf course

I love to say I have my own golf course. Not many people in the world can say that. When the lighthouse keepers were stationed on Fair Isle, a lot of them brought their clubs and played golf in their spare time.

They used to use steamed pudding tins and old broomsticks to mark the holes. I wanted to keep up the tradition, but with a little reinvention, so
I bought brand new clubs, cups, and flags for the course. Occasionally, big rocks get blown up onto the greens so I had to make sure the flags can withstand the extreme conditions.

The greens are right near the sea; some are on a little peninsula while others are at the top of a hill. If it was a manicured course, it would be the most stunning place to play golf ever. You drive off the first and to the left is the North Sea, to the right is the Atlantic. The wildlife and views are just amazing. I've seen seals and killer whales near some of the holes.


I don't charge visitors anything to play the course. I just ask for a donation. I haven't seen a golfer yet who hasn't enjoyed themselves playing the course. It's a six-hole course, but there are alternative tee spots so you can play 18 different holes in effect. Some tee shots are played over ravines or roads, and the greens are rough and sheered by sheep. It's quite a challenge and I always use old golf balls so I don't care if they go in the sea.

There's a video of me playing golf in a hurricane that went viral. It was absurd; the wind was gusting at about 60mph. I was just laughing because the wind was blowing my shoulders back on the downswing. I must have tried about 12 times before I hit a ball anywhere near the pin. When I walked up onto the green, I was a little afraid that I might be blown back into the water. Instead, a massive wave came crashing over the rocks and I got drenched.

Only 54 people live here. It's the most uninhabited island in Britain, so you can say it's the most remote golf course in Britain. It gets some notoriety for that headline. One of my friends once said: "If you wanted to golf on a more remote course, you would have to play on the moon."