Nairn (Championship) - North Scotland - Scotland

Nairn Golf Club,
Seabank Road,
Nairn,
IV12 4HB,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1667 453208

  • Golf Club Website

  • 16 miles east of Inverness.

  • Contact in advance – Not Sat/Sun am


Nairn Golf Club is located on an elevated, rumpled piece of linksland on the Moray Firth coastline, close to the historic fishing port. It’s one of Scotland’s lesser-known gems.

This is a course which has been touched by many great architects. The club was founded in 1887 to an original design by Archie Simpson. A few years later Old Tom Morris extended the layout and, prior to the Great War, James Braid made further alterations. Directly after the Great War, Ben Sayers added his mark to the course only to find James Braid itching to polish off the design. It is no wonder that Nairn is such a detailed masterpiece.

One of the most spectacular seaside courses in Scotland, Nairn boasts sea views from every hole. If you are a right-hander and you’ve got a slicing problem, you could find the beach from your very first tee shot. The sea is in play on six of the first seven holes; make sure you’ve got an adequate supply of balls.

When the sun is low in the sky and the shadows are long, you cannot fail to appreciate the undulating, bunker-pitted moonscape that is Nairn. It’s a delightful links with fast, firm but narrow fairways, a number of which are framed by gorse bushes and heather, heaping further pressure onto a nervous drive. The greens are sited in the trickiest places – some are raised and others are nestled in hollows. Most are well protected, either by bunkers or natural hazards, and all of the greens are fast and true, a Nairn trademark.

There is a plethora of good holes at Nairn and the 5th is one of the best. It’s a great 390-yard par four called “Nets” which requires a straight solid drive avoiding the beach on the right. This will leave a short approach shot to a small, elevated green that is well protected by bunkers and a sharp bank sloping off to the right.

The 9th, named “Icehouse”, is a lovely par four to close the outward nine. A tough long drive from the tee is required, avoiding the whin bushes on the left and the bunkers on the right. The green is located to the right of the white cottage which is, in fact, a Salmon Bothy Keep your eyes peeled for the Icehouse which is covered in thick grassy turf where salmon was kept on ice for up to two years.

Nairn is a very long way north. However, you may be surprised to hear that despite Nairn’s Highland latitude, it is located in one of the driest places in Britain. So, why not follow in the footsteps of Peter McEvoy? In 1999, here at Nairn, he lead the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team to a resounding 15-9 victory over the USA.

Following a Course Audit presentation by Tom Mackenzie at a Special General Meeting, approval was given to start work on a course upgrade at the end of 2018. New forward tees were added and new greens constructed on the 1st, 7th and 14th holes, with further reshaping and bunker adjustments made to a further twelve holes.

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Reviews for Nairn (Championship)

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: The Championship links at Nairn Golf Club is one of the most spectacular seaside courses in Scotland, boasting sea views from every hole. Rating: 7.7 out of 10 Reviews: 49
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J Uego
We found this to be a well kept course with nice views.Many holes were enjoyable but we were not bowled over.A pleasant outing,yet we all felt it lacked something -rather flat perhaps overall. Nice to play once but doubtful if we would return or over recommend it to friends given the price .We visited several nearby courses which compared very well in all but reputation ,and were considerably cheaper (Spey Bay ) But all in all a pleasant course,nice setting and clubhouse
June 21, 2012
6 / 10
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T Rou
July 06, 2012
We enjoyed our recent outing at Nairn without being bowled over.There does lack a wow factor perhaps due to the flatness.A pleasant enough track,but we opined that we would return.Nice clubhouse,nice views and a nice course.
Javier
July 18, 2012
Nairn (Championship) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerI was there the same week I played Royal Dornoch and Castle Stuart, but could not play Nairn as the course was closed for the 2012 Curtis Cup (Ladies Amateur Ryder Cup) but I felt it necessary to walk it if as a Tour Operator I wish to be able to tell my customers what it is about. I walked it all after an interview with Captain and Vice Captain and the course is very nice and despite being a links one has some added features that give it a nice touch for newcomers: some holes in the back 9 go apart from the Firth and are elevated, offering very nice landscape views. And tee boxes on the last three have dense forest on the right side, which is not so common in links courses. And the Club House offers a very nice place for a coffee and a view to the finishing hole and the ocean, so overall Nairn is nearly another must in Scotland. I need 5 more trips to play all the courses I would like to!
Iain Cathro
Played it for first time end May. Spectacular. Started and finsihed with pars and pared all the par 3s but some of the par 4s are long and not reachable in 2 unless you are a big hitter. Loved it. Beautiful condition and cannot wait to come back.
June 02, 2012
8 / 10
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J Igger
June 21, 2012
On our recent trip north we were fairly disappointed in Nairn perhaps as expectations were too high.A pleasant enough course but none of the group raved about it .we preferred Moray and were recommended by a local player to try Spey bay---a true gem at a fraction of the price.
sean grant
I have just returned from a golf trip to Inverness and Nairn was supposed to be the weakest of the courses. Little did we know. This is a great links golf course. I would compare it to Hillside in that it has a few treelined holes away from the sea. Some people don't like that. I love it! The mix of holes adds to the experience for me. Nairn is the reverse of Royal Dornoch in that the first nine is all into the wind. I had a hard time going out but made up for it coming home (downwind). The beaches are lateral hazards and a friend took a picture of me on the beach hitting my 'rescue' back onto the green stuff - I shall treasure it! Nairn is great - superb condition, great views, great holes, great people!
May 16, 2012
10 / 10
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Jim McCann

Just over four years after I first played here, when I was distinctly underwhelmed, I returned to reappraise the course at Nairn. The main difference this time was that I had my long term trusty golf partner with me - a man with 97 of the Scottish Top100 under his belt - so I knew he would confirm or dispel my feelings for the course without fear or favour.

What was the verdict this time around? Nairn Golf Club - photo by Jim McCannWell, put simply, not since we played the wonderful Balgownie at Royal Aberdeen have we both been in such a state of bliss on a links layout!

The course was simply in brilliant condition with wispy rough bounding the opening shore side fairways and beautifully fast, smooth greens taking the art of putting to an altogether new level.

I’d forgotten how effortlessly the routing rises after the 7th, past the wonderful “Icehouse” buildings on the 9th, up the hill to the 13th green before plunging back down to finish on the flat after the 15th. Some golfers don’t like the inland holes at 13 to 15 but I absolutely love them.

And if I confess to maybe harbouring one or two doubts about Nairn’s Top 10 position in a golf magazine’s recent Scottish Top100 chart, then I can honestly say they were dispelled within ten minutes of teeing it up at the 1st – and the quality I sampled from tee to green on the opening hole lasted through each and every hole for the remainder of the round.

I wonder if the arrival of another potentially world ranked course along the coast at Castle Stuart has been the impetus for Nairn to up its golf game? Make no mistake about it, Nairn is more than worthy of hosting the Curtis Cup next year and I look forward with great interest to watching how the top amateur women fare from the championship markers here.

Jim McCann

August 15, 2011
10 / 10
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Marty Brown
Played Nairn during a tour of the Highlands in early August. While it is ok I didn’t get too excited about the course. There seems to be too much lush grass for a Links course. Whether the club are doing that for a reason I don’t know. Simply over shadowed by what we found at Royal Dornoch and Castle Stuart. Pleasant would be best to describe it and I would certainly add it to your list of courses should you be planning a 4-5 day trip but don't miss out Royal Dornoch.
August 04, 2011
6 / 10
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martin
Agree with some of the comments below, not as good as expected, high greenfee and the two parkland holes were out of place. The course conditions were good but will not return.
January 21, 2011
4 / 10
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M Oyen
July 28, 2011
We found this course acceptable but did not come away with any great feeling for it.Doubtful if we would recommend it ,especially at the price.Tried some of the other unsung course round about eg Hopeman and especially Spey Bay where we found great links golf at a fraction of the price and more entertaining.
Shaun
A very good test of golf. Found the course in excellent condition this June and thoroughly enjoyed my round. Criticism below seems to be more than a little harsh in my opinion.
October 11, 2010
8 / 10
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G. poole
We quite liked our round at Nairn,but wouldn't get too excited.There are nice views and pleasant holes which drift along without any great wow factor.We were unsure whether it was value for money and would probably not rush back ,although we all had a nice day out in August.
February 10, 2010
6 / 10
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Craig Morrison
I feel the need to stand up for this course’s reputation. Playing Nairn for the second time this year, I feel certain it’s a top 10 course (Scotland). Yet I look at the rankings – at time of writing – and of the courses above it I would only really make claims for it to be (just) better than Western Gailes, Cruden Bay and North Berwick. And even then, it’s marginal matters of opinion: probably just that it’s more of a serious championship course than those three guys. And in honesty, I might rather play Cruden Bay (so wild) and North Berwick (the perfect Scottish holiday) and Western Gailes (so short and sweet and what about that opening nine…) So, the impossibility of making accurate comparisons aside, I guess when I say Nairn should be a top 10 course what I mean to say is this: the greens – September 11, 2009 – were as fine as any I’ve played on, probably stimping at a perfectly playable 10 which should be the goal of all Scottish links!; the first two holes are flat, lengthy and ideally into the prevailing breeze; then come some easier holes; there’s then some more length, then short par 4s for balance; a three shotter which is reachable in two; and then up onto the hill (long par 4) and back down (long par 3), two holes which are amongst the best in Scotland, still played on sandy soils but with evergreen trees around reminding the player of north west England’s seaside courses, perhaps even south east England’s inland courses; then back to the clubhouse, over burns and bunkers and with birdie chances to be taken. Also, the changes afoot, proposed by Martin Hawtree, almost all look great. To be brief about them some new bunkers will be added and some new back tees built but many gorse and whins will be cut back. I guess the aim is to keep it tough for the best guys but make sure it’s not narrow and awful for the lesser player, something the Kingsbarns and Castle Stuart teams worked out long ago. I first played Nairn in a winter storm, January this year – from forward tees – and I really wasn’t fussed. I believe I’ve now seen its true colours. The course conditioning was supremely good, not just the putting surfaces. ANGLOSCOT
September 15, 2009
8 / 10
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frosch
November 05, 2009
Methinks Angloscot doth protest too much. We (8 of us) also thought it was an attractive course, but not an out-standing one, to which we would hurry back. The natural links we were to stumble on later at Spey Bay (at a fraction of the price), despite its short-comings, retain for us a more pleasant memory.
Johnson
November 05, 2009
I played Nairn in Sept 99 and like many of the comments, I was a little dissapointed in Nairn. I think part of the problem, at least on my part, I read alot about these courses prior to playing so at points, I think I get myself too worked up over how "good" a course is going to be and sometimes I get let down. Believe it or not, I was very worked up to play Machrihanish but ended up dissapointed because of the build up. Looking back, I fell too much in love with The Machrie prior to playing Macrihanish that it skewed my rating of it. Nairn is good and I would play it again to see if my first rating was not accurate but I shouldnt play Royal Dornoch, Cruden Bay or Royal Aberdeen during the same trip.
G. poole
A pleasant enough course which unfortunately failed to excite myself or partners as much as we had hoped.We would have to say we found its reputation rather over-rated.Perhaps we had been spoilt by playing Cruden Bay the previous day.
September 11, 2009
6 / 10
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Allan Rodger
September 13, 2009
I have to agree with you, nice track but for me overated.The 2 parkland holes are very strange mixed in with the rest with the one up the hill being an awful golf hole. Played many courses that I would prefer to go back to before Nairn.
sr
May 15, 2010
The 13th an awful golf hole? I am intrigued by your reasoning.