Golf has been played at Kingussie since 1891 when a 9-hole course was first built by Old Tom Morris. In 1908, the advice of Harry Vardon was sought and the course extended to a full 18 holes. Several improvements have been made over the years but, essentially, today’s course is still very much as it was a hundred years ago – Highland golf at its very best in the Spey Valley.
Kingussie Golf Club is situated on upland to the north of the prosperous town of Kingussie and its elevated position offers spectacular views of the Cairngorms and surrounding mountain ranges. So, even if the scorecard has been ripped up in disgust at one’s performance on the course, the scenic splendor will offer a modicum of comfort!
Kingussie – “head of the pinewood” in Gaelic – offers easy walking on upland terrain, with only a couple of short climbs at the 4th and 8th holes. Fairways are generous with little in the way of penal rough, water features at only a few holes – when the river Gynack comes into play – and greens are a delight to putt on. Position off the tee is important on this course of only 5,501 yards and is the key to good scoring here.
The 4th is the signature hole and it measures 463 yards. “The Fort” is the only par five on the course where two ‘lang whangs’ – mighty blows – are needed to get close before chipping to the pulpit green and hopefully single-putting for birdie.
Kingussie deserves greater credit. The condition of the course this Summer 2020 defies its limited budget, greens are good speed, fairways and semi-rough show consistent grass covering and heights.
The views across the Cairngorms are a delight from the course which lies on hilly land above the town.
The hills feature on some holes, while others are on flatter heathland ground. Further the course spreads to both sides of the river Gynack, a hazard traversed on two par 3s, the 15th being a favorite wee ‚flick‘ to the green below.
Looking back, the holes are individually memorable, with clear lines of definition that guide and instruct the player.
The length is suitable for all standards, I could take my Dad (beginner level), but my friend and I were sufficiently challenged while playing off low handicaps. You can‘t just bomb it and expect comfortable second shots.
Oh, and the green fee is rather good-value.
Next time we‘ll be back with more golf buddies, can‘t wait!
What a lovely place to play a late afternoon round of holiday golf in the heart of the Highlands! Only five and a half thousand yards from the back tees but it’ll test your golf game to the full.
The 4th is a cracker, played to a green that’s been chiselled into the hillside and the 9th is a wonderful driving hole where the tee shot plunges over 100 feet down to a dog legging fairway.
This begins a series of six holes on the east side of the river that ends with a flick of a wedge from the elevated tee of the lovely “Llittle Gynack” par three 15th.
The final two holes are easy short par fours that bring you back to the clubhouse – and if there’s a more charming little clubhouse in Scotland I’d like to know about it. Pitlochry and Kilspindie might run Kingussie close in that department but I still think the one here's the most beguiling.