A Northern Classic
On an overcast, chilly day in late June we teed off for an impromptu round at Nairn GC, near Inverness in northern Scotland.
We were staying at Boat of Garten, and it was a last minute decision to make the hour long drive to Nairn.
We arrived after 4pm unannounced, but were warmly welcomed by manager Fraser and his team, and we were on the tee by 4.30....
Established in 1887, The Nairn Golf Club runs along the southern shoreline of the Moray Firth. This traditional links course was created from a highland wilderness of gorse and heather, and is a regular venue for world class events including both the Walker and Curtis Cups. Both 'old Tom Morris', and James Braid had involvement in the development of the course we play today.
We set off with a 1 to 2 club wind behind us for the opening holes, which played right beside the beach.
In fact the course basically goes out along the beach for the first seven holes, before turning back to the clubhouse, but the latter holes duck and weave in different directions as the course heads home.
The beach holes at 1, 2 & 7 are relatively flat, with the sea views and the lovely revetted bunkers the main features. The are virtually no sand dunes evident on these holes.
Hole 3 doglegs slightly inland and introduces more interesting terrain with low lying dunes, Heather and gorse. I loved the par 3 4th which heads back to the beach, with the movement around the green and the green itself, and being the first hole into the wind, and all carry, it required an adjustment with club selection to hit the target despite being a shorter hole.
Both holes 5 & 6 maintained the interest and energy before the flattish 7th took us to the furthest point from the clubhouse.
Then the course moves away from the sea, with some solid if not spectacular links holes with the gorse much more evident.
Hole 11 is a mid length par 3 that grabbed my attention with more than its quota of revetted pot bunkers, and lots of movement around the front of the green to negotiate.
But the stand out hole for me was the downhill par 3 14th hole which measures 219 yards from the back blocks....
The hole is beautifully framed by the bunkers, and has pine trees and the ocean as a backdrop.
Overall I rate Nairn as a course that every lover of links golf should play.
It is a quality links, without doubt.
I love links golf and suggest that Nairn would be included in every itinerary for golf in the north of Scotland.