Tain Golf Club - hole 11
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Tain Golf Club - hole 11
A climb up a steep mound reveals the 11th green on the "Alps" hole at Tain Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
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Tain Golf Club - Old Tom Morris
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Tain Golf Club - Old Tom Morris
A carving of Old Tom Morris greets golfers at Tain Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Tain Golf Club - hole 1
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Tain Golf Club - hole 1
The first hole at Tain Golf Club crosses a road. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Tain Golf Club - hole 2
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Tain Golf Club - hole 2
The par-4 second hole at Tain Golf Club doglegs left then plays over a burn. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Tain Golf Club - hole 5
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Tain Golf Club - hole 5
Three bunkers protect the 181-yard, par-3 fifth hole at Tain Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Tain Golf Club - hole 8
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Tain Golf Club - hole 8
Hairy grasses, gorse and fescue surround the eighth green at Tain Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Tain Golf Club - hole 9
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Tain Golf Club - hole 9
The ninth hole at Tain Golf Club doglegs right toward the forest. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Tain Golf Club - hole 12
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Tain Golf Club - hole 12
The 12th hole is named "Glenmorangie" for the famous whisky distillery in town. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Tain Golf Club - hole 16
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Tain Golf Club - hole 16
Tain Golf Club's 16th hole is a cool par 3. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Tain Golf Club - hole 17
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Tain Golf Club - hole 17
The 17th hole -- the second of back-to-back par 3s at Tain Golf Club -- plays formidable with a long carry over water to the green. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Tain Golf Club - hole 18
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Tain Golf Club - hole 18
The finishing hole at Tain Golf Club plays back over the road to the clubhouse. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

Pay tribute to Old Tom Morris by playing Tain Golf Club in the Highlands

TAIN, Scotland -- Old Tom Morris, winner of four Open Championships, influenced some of the Scotland's greatest links -- namely Royal Dornoch, Machrihanish Golf Club, Nairn Golf Club and Muirfield. Tain Golf Club, dating to 1890, is his overlooked jewel, located near the famous Glenmorangie whisky distillery just a short drive from Dornoch.

Morris originally had a hand in designing 15 holes at Tain. What's incredible is eight of them remain relatively intact -- including stretches 2-4, 9-10 and 14-15. Tain doesn't shower golfers with beauty such as Royal Dornoch's famed Championship Links, but it doesn't pummel them, either. Tain offers a pleasant walk with holes of infinite character. A wood carving of Morris greets golfers as they drive into the club.

The first and 18th holes -- both stout par 4s -- play over a fence protecting a small road. You're entitled to free relief if your shot gets stuck in a quirky spot. The walk to the 11th tee reveals a stunning view of the Dornoch Firth but not the green. The hole called "Alps" finishes at a blind green barricaded by dunes in front, while clutching out-of-bounds near the water in back.

The narrow River Tain winds through interesting back-to-back par 3s at no. 16 and no. 17. The clubhouse is understated yet comfortable and welcoming, just like one of the most under appreciated and truly special links of the Scottish Highlands.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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