Spey Valley is an absolutely terrific golf course. Played it on Nov 7 in beautiful sunshine with the snow-capped Cairngorm mountains a mesmerizing backdrop. Rarely have I enhoyed a round of golf so much. After a gentle opener the next four holes follow the River Spey, although only truly wayward shots will find a watery grave. Any thoughts that the best is over are quickly dispelled at the 6th tee which offers spectacular views over the serene Loch Dallas. Holes 7-13 meander through ancient pine forest before the course opens out for a wonderful finish. Water awaits a sliced approach to the par 4 15th, while 16 is a beautiful short par 3 over a pond. It's back into the trees on 17 for a par 5 which offers a birdie chance for strong hitters, then a tough 18th with the River Spey waiting to gobble up anything left off the tee. For all the trees, however, there is room to open the shoulders on many holes and that's perhaps just as well with the course stretching over 7000 yards from the back tees. I played off the yellows at 6600 yards which made it far more manageable! The course was in excellent condition for the time of year. The greens were slow but true. The pro told me they could get extremely slick in summer which I'm sure would be a scary prospect given some of the slopes on the greens. I would love to see a clubhouse built which is worthy of the course. At the moment only mediocre facilities a 500 yard walk away from the course are available. That's not going to stop me coming back for more in the summer though. Ian Smith.
Date: November 09, 2009