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For most non-Scots, a trip to the Homeland of golf necessitates a whirlwind tour of the Open Championship rota courses- Royal Troon, Turnbury, Muirfield (if you plan well ahead), Carnoustie, and certainly, the Old Course at St. Andrews. Great history, lots of photo opportunities, bags of logo sweaters, memories and experiences to savor. But, for many, and increasingly, the saavy and erudite golfer is selecting destinations and links courses away from the package- tour crowd. Where the courses are relatively uncrowded, and where the locals have not been put through a mandatory training class in dealing with finicky, type-A travelers, who rage at the bacon being not just so, or the course not being yardage marked on every sprinkler head. Names pop up, like Machrihanish, Peterhead, and especially, Dornoch. The small village of Dornoch, county Sutherland, the birth place of Donald Ross, is located in the Northern Highlands, 50 miles north of Inverness, 4 hours plus from the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and nearly as long a journey from the Rota courses. Many central region Scots view the trek as being too cumbersome for their holidays. And that surely is part of the quest and the reward. Royal Dornoch invariably is rated among the top 15 courses in the world, and if villages had their own rating system, dare say the burgh would rank as high. Lorne Rubenstein and his wife Nell somehow(praise them with large dollops of envy) spent the summer of 2000 living in a small flat above the bookshop, playing the wonderful links, and meeting a variety of the local citizens. The reader is invited into the life of the village, where golf is truly integral to the economy as well as the ethos of population. Everyone plays, everyone cares about the game, everyone welcomes and befriends the visitors. You will meet, and indeed "know" Euan, the kilted, poetry spewing barman; Andrew, the septugenarian RDGC member, who caddies for guests of the club; Pipey, another weathered ancient, who has lived the game of golf his entire life, and would not trade a minute; Jim Miller,from nearby Brora, one of the finest amateurs in Highland golf history. Rubenstein delves into the history of the region, exposing the horrific drama of the "clearances". He also gives us a good glimpse of himself, his long, tight ties with the game, and his relationships with its players, and his loving wife Nell. If you have been to Dornoch, this book will ring clear and true, and you will want to E-mail Rubenstein with your own anecdotes about the town and course and people. If you have not had the priviledge of the Dornoch experience, or of Scotland , for that matter, you will getting your maps out, setting a new vacation budget, and calling your travel agent before you close the cover.