Boat of Garten - North Scotland - Scotland

Boat of Garten Golf & Tennis Club,
Nethybridge Road,
Boat of Garten,
Inverness-shire,
PH24 3BQ,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1479 831282

The Boat of Garten Golf & Tennis Club is located at the gateway to the Highlands. It’s an enchanting place. Flanking the course to the west is the quaint Strathspey Railway, which runs from the popular ski resort of Aviemore, through Boat of Garten, which is also known as the Osprey village. The lovingly restored steam trains, occasionally puff and pant their way past the course. The River Spey lies to the east of the heath and beyond that are the distant peaks of the Monadhliath Mountains. Dominating to the south are the mighty, snow-capped Cairngorms. This is some location.

Boat of Garten Golf Club was founded in 1898 and the celebrated Scottish architect, James Braid, was asked to convert the original 9-hole layout to an 18-hole course in 1930. Make no mistake – this is fun golf. This lovely course wends its way, up and down, through heather, whin, pine and birch. The fairways pitch and roll – sometimes alarmingly in the summer when the ground is hard – making for awkward stances.

It’s a short course, measuring slightly less than 5,900 yards from the back tees. There are a couple of long par fours and two short par fives, but apart from those holes, your driver will not be required. Unusually, Boat of Garten opens up with a par three – always tricky early on in the round – followed by a short par four, where the fantastic views really begin to grab the attention. If a good golf hole is a memorable one, then the par four 6th, called “Avenue”, will remain etched in the mind for eternity. The hole doglegs to the right – pine and birch trees tightly flank the fairway. Cutting off the dogleg is fraught with danger, but a lay-up will leave a 200-yard approach to a hogback green. It’s a beauty.

Some regard Boat of Garten as holiday golf. It's so much more in our opinion. Clearly it’s a short course, but on the other hand, it’s also a difficult course on which to score well. We think it’s an absolute delight and we’d happily become lifetime members.

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Reviews for Boat of Garten

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Description: Make no mistake – this is exciting golf. The lovely course at the Boat of Garten Golf & Tennis Club wends its way, up and down, through heather, whin, pine and birch. Rating: 7.8 out of 10 Reviews: 24
TaylorMade
James Kenyon

What a brilliant, brilliant golf course. If you make your way to the Highlands for a golf trip, be sure to tag this gem onto your itinerary. It is stunning, and one of the best inland courses I have ever played. So enjoyable, and so interesting. Tight fairways, tough green complexes, huge elevation changes, all with the snow capped Cairngorms as a backdrop. Inland golf doesn't get much better than this, and after 3 tough days on the links, it was a welcome respite to have some shelter from the winds!

Fully expected this to be a fun knock around before the flight back south, but it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable rounds of golf I have ever played.

So pleased that this place has shot up the rankings, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it creep up further over the coming years. I cant wait to go back. At £25 it was also, without doubt, the best value round of golf I have ever played. To think you could play this course every day for a fortnight for the same price as one hit around the West at Wentworth is astonishing. I would prefer to fly up there at the crack of dawn, play 36 here into the evening, and then fly back that night than play the West again - and it would be cheaper!

Play it!

April 20, 2016
8 / 10
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The Digger

Having read a number of golf magazine articles describing The Boat as one of Scotlands hidden gems, it was one of the courses on The Digger Bucket list. When a course has such a reputation, sometimes the actual experience does not meet the expectation and leaves you wondering what all the fuss was about. We finally played in the The Boat's Greensome Open on Sunday 29th September and the experience was, by far, way way better than I anticipated.



On arrival, you just know it’s a friendly and welcoming club and has a strong community spirit about the place. Having played a number of courses in the Highlands, my only regret was not to have played it before this year. The only hole that you would say is not outstanding is actually the 1st, which is a 169 Par 3. However I expect James Braid designed it this way, as a simple entre to introduce you for the waiting feast ahead. And what a feast it is. When you face the 2nd hole, a 351 yd par 4, you are faced with a mogul-filled fairway, severely slanted landing area, and a plateaued green. Stunning. From there it just gets better, or as Digger's misty-eyed playing partner would later pronounce on the 18th fairway. "Every hole just gets fabulouser and fabulouser, a wonderment". yes Indeed, my vocabulary challenged friend. Hills, heather, the abundance of trees, the Cairngorm mountains always in the background and a steam train that blows its whistle as it chugs past the 4th and 6th holes from time to time. A real wonderment.



The member in the car park will tell you to keep your driver in the trunk, however playing off the whites and into the teeth of an ever increasing wind, The Boat tempts you, at ever turn, to get out the big dog and have a lash. Yes, the fairways are tight, but not over severe. Hitting on the short stuff and you are rewarded with the pleasure of hitting into superb greens, with your mid to short irons, giving you every chance of birdie. But beware, don't be fooled into thinking that this course is just about the breathtaking beauty that surrounds you. For the seriously errant shot, this course has nasty teeth, in rough gorse, bunkers and the strategically placed heather and trees, which will bite you deep. To the point where, yes, after hacking your way back onto fairway, you then know you should listened to the member in the car park, or at least ask yourself the question and pull a long iron or fairway wood. The Boat will ask you the question at every tee-up and, unfortunately, The Digger and his playing amigo were found wanting on a number of occasions. But it mattered not a jot, as this stunning course will test, challenge and ultimately bring you back time and time again to try and "best it". More importantly, it is a fun and enjoyable experience. The way Braid designed it to be, no doubt about that.

October 01, 2012
10 / 10
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John
November 10, 2013
Wifey and I played the course last week (7th November 2013)and found it an absolute delight. Yes, it was minus two degrees when we tee'd off, late morning and there was a bit of a southerly wind. Temp tees and four temp greens but it was a clear day with plenty of sunshine. Funnily enough, a lady in the office said it's better to leave the driver in the car boot but as a death and glory golfer, it came with me. There isn't a single hole on the course that isn't a classic golf hole. Carefully designed and at times subtle. Yes, you need telescopic legs as there isn't a flat stance to be found, but, with a strong wind and no roll on the fairways, you also need the driver to have any hope of reaching some of the par fours in two. Those who say this is a short course obviously haven't played it in the late autumn in frosty conditions where the ball neither flies any distance through the air nor rolls upon landing on the fairways. On some holes , it's like driving the ball down a gun barrel but what an experience. Golf as it should be. The prime focus on striking the ball cleanly and shaping it into play. This course is not about slogging the ball but on thinking your way round it. One of the best courses I've played and I have played many. This should be on every golfers list of courses to play. Thank you Boat for a lovely round of golf and the chance to play such a wonderful course.
Jim Robertson
I love this place! Have played here quite a lot over the years and a couple of weeks ago on a gorgeous summer day (yes, there was one) I was entranced all over again. A previous reviewer described playing the Boat as a 'complete joy' and that says it all. If I have to select highlights they would include the magnificent 6th, sublime 12th and the views from the 14th tee but, really, the whole Boat of Garten golfing experience is a highlight. Were it female I would want to marry it and father its children!
July 26, 2011
8 / 10
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Shaun
Beautiful setting with amazing views, found the course more than a little tricky with some ‘interesting’ holes. Sadly poor condition greens on my visit in June 10. Worth a visit more for the vista’s than the course.
October 11, 2010
4 / 10
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Andy Stallard
January 19, 2011
It's a shame that you appear to have marked the course down due to the condition of the greens. The course had its first snow of the year on 16 December 2009 and, literally, this did not thaw until Easter Monday. The green staff performed a minor miracle to have the course playable at all early season given that it was covered in snow and ice for 4 months, following the worst winter for about 100 years! The greens were in fine condition later in the summer. All of the courses in the area suffered from the same problem and this is the (very occasional) price you pay for having golf courses amongst some of the finest scenery the UK can offer. Please feel free to come back and experience the course this year when, I'm sure, the greens will be back to their usual magnificent selves.
Iain
December 07, 2012
Thanks for the revue, the winter of 2010 was one of the worst in living memory with snow and ice on the greens for 3 months solid until the end of March. It's fair to say the greens took until well in to the summer to recover from the hammering they endured. I think it's fair to say 2010 was a freak and the greens are normally exceptionally good.
Andy Newmarch
The review below from Derek dated 17 May 2008 is spot-on. I defy anyone who loves golf not have a fantastic experience at the Boat of Garten. For those who love pretty courses to play on, then this really is for you .... birch woods, heather, gorse, mountains and genuinely cleaner fresher air than most places are all at your disposal. The course is shorter than many, especially newer courses but that just adds to the charm. I'd even go as far as saying if you are a visiting only once, your score against handicap is secondary - not to say that the 18 holes are very tough but it just does not matter too much this time. As far as a rating goes, this is tricky ... probably a 6-ball for the experience and maybe a strong 4-ball for the course, so overall a 5-ball for me. The holes that I enjoyed most (and there are many) include the par-4 2nd where you need to be a little left off the tee for the best approach position and the 12th which is a par-4 with an elevated tee that allows you to see everything that is good here; this is the time for the deep breath and experience the 'glad to be alive' moment so accurately described in Derek's review. The course ends with what I thought was the toughest hole, a 440 yard par-4 that will leave a long approach to a slightly raised green. The Inverness area is now a huge recommendation from me as a destination - as well as the many great courses not too far away, 2006 saw the opening of Spey Valley and 2009 the future great at Castle Stuart was un-veiled .... but remember when booking your tour, leave the Boat of Garten out at your peril...
September 08, 2010
8 / 10
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Dan Hare
Played in late March - 25 pounds each being one of the best value games of golf I have ever played.the village of Boat itself is lovely - stayed in very nice Moorfield Guest House, ate at the Boat Hotel and the club house is friendly and enjoyable.The course itself is great fun, since it is not long you can take the hole in from the tee adding to the enjoyment.And the views ! in late march snow capped mountains were visibile everywhere, and lovely views over the river valley on the back nine.I won't insult everyone with how much we discovered a membership is - suffice to say that I understand why so many people move up to the Highlands to enjoy a better quality of life !dan
April 13, 2009
8 / 10
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Berwyn Jones
Visited on 13 July 2008 with a party of 10 from Bull Bay Golf Club on our annual trip to the Highlands. The course was in excellent condition, the welcome and the service in the clubhouse were to their usual high standard, the weather was kind - but as usually happens on such golf trips the standard of golf played was below par due no doubt to late nights, Highland hospitality and too much of the old malt whiskey. We still think it is one of the best inland courses in Scotland and deserves a higher ranking. If you are searching for a golfing paradise then try to play here on a clear and calm day in October when the leaves on the trees take on their autumn colours. You will not worry about your score and you might even put away your golf clubs in exchange for your camera or paintbox and easel - it's that scenic. Every golfer should savour this experience at least once in their golfing lives.
July 16, 2008
10 / 10
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Derek Haswell
I am not Tiger Woods. My career earnings are currently a whopping minus £2.75. I doubt if even the combined genius of Professor Stephen Hawking and Carol Vorderman could calculate my current standing on the world rankings. A recent round at the deceptively challenging Boat of Garten Golf and Tennis Club reminded me of these realities and of a much more significant reality – none of this really matters! Playing here is a “glad to be alive” experience. On a serene May morning, with the snow-capped Cairngorm range providing a glorious backdrop and a choo-choo train providing the soundtrack it felt as if we had stumbled on the location of a hybrid Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter blockbuster. “The Boat” is short and very tight (at least for this reckless driver), with small greens tucked into copses of trees, almost links-like undulations in the fairways, lots of sneaky dog-legs and sizeable changes in elevation from tee to fairway. There is an almost mystical, surreal feel to the place (I’m sure I saw Bilbo Baggans searching for a ball behind the 12th green). To talk of yardages, standard scratch scores, stroke indexes and the like seems to miss the point of this course, and possibly of this game. A round here should be recommended to every golfer, mandatory for trainee course designers and free on the NHS for those of us tortured by the hopelessness of our golfing dreams. It’s good to be alive – play “The Boat” if you’re not convinced. Derek, Edinburgh, May 08.
May 17, 2008
8 / 10
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Reher
The wind here November 28 2006 was unrelenting and quite humiliating for this fair weather player. Ha! Ha! for this American in late autumn Scotland hacking away. Quite a fascinating experience no matter how many three off the tees there were. Hardly anyone on this course with such brutal weather and would have been impossible from the regular tees. Really a wonderful setting winding in and through a wooded, hiilly terrain. A great experience I will not soon forget.
January 04, 2007
8 / 10
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Joe
July 13, 2007
Maybe you caught this course in bad weather, but this must be one of the true gems in golf where you get what you hit, outstandingly one of the best courses i have played short but tight a true gem
golf bum
Excellent course. Greens were in good condition, and the layout is fun to play. Great views from the 16th tee. Definitely worth a trip.
August 26, 2006
8 / 10
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