Nairn Golf Club
The Bothy, found between the 9th green and 10th tee, was built in 1877. It was where the salmon would be kept after being caught and now serves as the halfway house.
Leave time to visit the Archive Room at The Nairn Golf Club, it is a veritable museum and one of the best in the game.
There are standout green sites littered throughout but especially on the opening nine holes. The quality of golf here is on par with pure links of a similar ilk found at St Andrews Old and Machrihanish. I cannot wait to visit again to analyse the green sites closer.
James Braid broke 70 here in 1901!
The 37th Walker Cup was played at The Nairn Golf Club on September 11th and 12th, 1999. Team GB&I, including Luke Donald and Paul Casey handily defeated the American team, featuring Matt Kuchar, 15-9. The 37th Curtis Cup was played here from June 8-12, 2012 and featured Charlie Hull and Leona Maguire.
Jasper’s Lessons Learnt
Firm, fine turf on undulating seaside terrain is the original recipe for golfing greatness. Golf at places like Nairn are a cleanser - the ideal to be striven for and antithesis to modern day maximalism. It is elegantly rudimentary yet endlessly intriguing and fascinating.
There is a sense of place at the golf club. Perhaps due to the clubhouse's barricading the car park from the 1st Tee, as you approach the opening hole it feels like your entering a golfing haven.
Golf Course Review
Nairn Golf Club is located on the sandhills beside Nairn Beach to the west of the River Nairn overlooking the Moray Firth – not far from Inverness and Castle Stuart. Nairn and Royal Dornoch are the elder statesmen of golf in the area. Don’t write off The Nairn Golf Club just because it flies slightly under the radar compared to the mighty Dornoch and shiny new play thing (x2) at Cabot Highlands (Castle Stuart).
The Nairn Golf Club offers sea views from every hole and uses the Moray Firth as a backdrop on holes 14 & 15. The Moray Firth comes into play on the opening stretch of holes.
Nairn Golf Club History
The original design by Royal Aberdeen head greenkeeper Archie Simpson in 1887, lasted just two years before Old Tom Morris made the first alterations which extended it westward. The 8th hole is thought to be Old Tom Morris’ most intact contribution.
In 1900, it was called the Brighton of the North and was considered to have the finest and best links in the North of Scotland with the exception of Dornoch.
In 1905, it was compared with Pau and measured 6000 yards. Later, around 1909, James Braid would make changes to tees, bunkers, and greens. Ben Sayers would leave his mark in 1920 before Braid would return to make the finishing touches.
CK Cotton did minor tweaking after WW2 but essentially the course remained unchanged. In modern times, Tom Mackenzie has added a set of forward tees, constructed new greens on the 1st, 7th, and 14th, and addressed bunkers on a further twelve holes.
Nairn’s Routing & Greens
The routing is a typical out and back with the exception of holes 13 to 15. It is reminiscent of the routings at Turnberry and Hollinwell. One wonders if Nairn would be just 15 holes if an arbitrary number of 18 was not imposed. This is not to suggest the three holes aren’t worth playing… in fact, the 14th and 15th are more than worth the walk up the 13th to play.
The standout green site is the 14th, or Kopjes. A Biarritz before the Biarritz was a thing, provides the target from the highest point on the course. As brilliant as the 14th is to play it is the green sites on the opening nine that are worth coming for if your interested in golf course architecture.
Nairn Golf Club Photography
Nairn Golf Club - Videos
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Featured Architect: MacKenzie, Alister
As taken from his book, Golf Architecture, Alister MacKenzie felt the following were essential: The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes. There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes and at least four one-shot holes. There should be little walking between...