The Nairn Golf Club
Nairn Golf Club is a can't miss stop for championship links golf in the Scottish Highlands, located between Inverness and Dornoch. The first seven holes of this 19th century links play along the Moray Firth, which is visible from every hole. It's rolling, firm greens are known as one of the most complex in Scotland, and is one of the reasons why Nairn hosted the prestigious Walker Cup matches in 1999.
|Championship M: 73.0/143||395||486||413||160||385||197||550||355||359||3300||536||182||444||431||219||306||425||377||554||3474||6774|
|Medal M: 72.2/138||395||463||373||150||377||183||495||326||324||3086||496||160||444||423||211||306||417||377||516||3350||6436|
|Yellow M: 70.9/135||383||453||361||135||371||175||488||307||301||2974||495||152||401||412||195||281||403||337||490||3166||6140|
|Red W: 74.9/139||368||433||347||132||281||140||476||290||275||2742||466||141||400||401||177||223||390||332||463||2993||5735|
A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
When you arrive at Nairn, the mostly flat landscape and modest course length will have you licking your chops. Do not be deceived: this is a very difficult test of golf. The greens are extremely tricky, and the fairways are narrow. The course is fraught with difficult stances, and when the wind gets going off the water, it can do some cruel things to your tee shots.
The landscape is tremendously beautiful, though. The opening holes walk you right along the shore and evoke memories of Pebble Beach.
Take a caddie, and put your driver away anytime you can.
Some quirks, lots of fun
This was the final stop on our pre-Open golf trip through Scotland, and though our feet were howling, we found that Nairn had a few fun quirks and several solid holes. One of my favorites is the par-4 fourth, nicknamed Bunker, and appropriately so, because depending on the hole location you could be playing to a semi-blind target that is surrounded by cavernous bunkers. Nearly the entire front side played back into a brutal wind, which made for a tough start, but I found the back nine to provide more of a fun challenge. It starts with the uphill, tree-lined, 430-yard 13th hole, followed by the downhill 14th that still plays about 190 yards. The 15th is probably my favorite hole on the course -- a straight-away par 4 that is only about 260 yards from the men's tee but features several greenside bunkers that can swallow tee shots. You could either have a reasonable chip for eagle (as I did), or a tough time making bogey (as some of my fellow playing competitors did). The finishing hole is a beefy par 5 that demands a good tee shot. Overall, this was a fun track to finish on, and a course that you could play over and over again and not get bored.
“It’s all right there in front of you,” said Fraser Cromarty, the affable CEO at Nairn Golf Club. From the opening tee shot along the shores of the Moray Firth – the first hole is named Sea – the layout is among the most user-friendly links courses in Scotland. Nairn is a traditional out-and-back routing which builds to a compelling finish with the short, par-4 17th and the par-5 18th which both require equal parts strategy and shot making. If you have time, ask to visit the club’s growing museum that includes the minutes from club meetings dating back to 1887.
Quaint and awesome
Another course that I'd heard plenty about but never had the opportunity to play. I knew it hosted the Walker Cup and the Curtis Cup, so it had to be good. It was.
The locals are so fun and hospitable and the starter is a hoot. The best thing I can think of to say about Nairn is that it's a place I could play everyday and never get bored. Many other courses in Scotland are spectacular but you wouldn't necessarily want to play them every day if you had the choice. No so with Nairn.
It's a fun walk, has a neat variety of holes and it as terrific overall atmosphere. Highly recommended.
Put it on a Highlands or Moray Firth Itinerary
Nairn has hosted many tournaments and one can see why; possibly the best greens in Scotland-Fast and true. Not a lot of Quirk nor Blind Shots-something scratch golfers like if not love. The fairways are also relatively tight with bunkers in the line of best play. Hug the bunkers, easier second; avoid the bunker, difficult second.
Regardless of your handicap, you will enjoy your day. Starter and staff are very nice. I got there an hour early and they just let me out-even with the discounted tee time. Weather was wet and rained all 18, so I didn't spend any extra time there; however, all went well and I was finished in about 3 hours. Not many holes stand out, but the Downhill par 3 14th is a challenge for all. I like the follow up 15th which is a driveable par 4, but no pushover.
The town of Nairn is nice and wish I had better weather. I did stay in town for a couple of nights. After golf, there are beaches and parks and good dining in the area.
Nairn is a links-firm and fast conditions, wind, bunkers, a couple of burns, etc. I think the Scratch golfer will enjoy it more and might give it 5 stars. Still, if in Inverness or the highlands for a few days, put this on your itinerary. Good place for good golf and well worth a play..
A classy links in the Scottish Highlands
Golfers that love links golf but not its unfortunate bounces or blind shots will fall in love with Nairn, a host of the 1999 Walker Cup and 2012 Curtis Cup. There's nothing tricky about Nairn. It's just a mostly straight-out, straight-back links along the Moray Firth that demands precise irons to avoid penal bunkers and a deft putter to handle super quick greens. The first seven holes follow the water, often into the wind, although the day I played there was little breeze until the back nine (a brief hail storm hit on the front). My favorite challenges were the par-4 13th hole up the hill and the par-3 14th hole back down it. The halfway house, an old ice house, symbolizes the cool historic touches that make Nairn so special.
A top course
This is genuinely one not to be missed!
It is easy to see why Walker Cup and Curtis Cup come here.
Definitely in Scotland's top ten.