When playing one of the lower ranked courses on this website it is always a pleasant experience to have your expectations exceeded. This happened to us when playing Inverness as a warm-up first port of call on a recent golfing trip to the highlands. The lowish overall yardage from the yellow tees fooled us into thinking it would be a gentle introduction but the early holes forced a quick re-evaluation. The first two holes allow a calming of the nerves with no major challenge but thereafter the group of long par fours (three at 440 yards plus) demand long hitting early in the round. Thereafter, the shorter par fours with water hazards intermixed with challenging par 3s (especially the hilltop 7th set at an angle from the tee) change the nature of the challenge, so that precision and the brain need to be combined with brawn. The polarized nature of the challenge should be incorporated into modern courses to neutralize the advances in modern equipment rather than just allowing or demanding auto-pilot ‘tonking’ from ever further back tee boxes. The 6th at just 279 yards but with a blind tee shot and a green front guarded by the fastest flowing burn I have ever seen was one of my favourite holes on the course. The stretch 12-15 is also fantastic with two 3s and two 4s, the second of which could easily be a par5 such is the extent of its dogleg. The 12th gives the best tee shot view on the course from the high vantage point, while the par3 13th blends seamlessly into the surrounding land with many subtle bumps around the putting surface. The par4 18th requires some solid hitting again to reach in two into the breeze, just when energy levels might be dropping having played a number of shorter holes. The 18th green also is sited exactly where it should be, under the watchful gaze of the first floor bar with OOB all around. I found Inverness to be a wee highland gem.
Date: June 28, 2012