Spey Valley - North Scotland - Scotland

Macdonald Aviemore Highland Resort,
Aviemore,
PH22 1PN,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1479 811725

  • Golf Club Website

  • At Aviemore between A9 and the Grampian Road

  • Welcome - contact in advance

Scottish golf may be blessed with an abundance of fine links courses but, apart from a handful of venues such as Loch Lomond, Gleneagles and Blairgowrie, it suffers from a distinct lack of really top class inland venues.

We can now add the Macdonald Aviemore Spey Valley moorland course, which opened in the summer of 2006, to the relatively small list of quality inland Scottish courses. Bearing the hallmark design traits of architect Dave Thomas – who also built the Macdonald Cardrona course in Peebles a few years ago – this 7,118-yard course, is set to become a premier golfing attraction, completing a Highland Championship triangle with Royal Dornoch and Nairn.

Spey Valley has an old fashioned out and back routing and water comes into play along the way on several occasions. Holes are generally very open, though heather and gorse line many fairways and strategically placed trees are cunningly located on more than one fairway dogleg. Elevated tees are used at most holes and trademark Dave Thomas bunkering threatens at just about every conceivable opportunity off the tee and around the green.

Fairways were surprisingly firm when we played the course three months into its first season and the subtle undulations of the enormous greens were obviously designed to tax even the finest of putters.

The surrounding Cairngorm scenery is nothing short of sensational, adding greatly to the visual impact on most of the holes. With nearby courses like Newtonmore and Kingussie to the south plus Boat of Garten and Grantown-on-Spey to the north, Spey Valley is located in prime Highland golfing territory and will do more than hold its own in such illustrious company, even with green fees a little pricier than those other pay-and-play tracks. You know the saying “you only get what you pay for”? Well it holds true for Spey Valley and it’s well worth paying that bit extra to sample its many golfing delights.

The only downside for the traditionalist is that (in a similar vein to the Gleneagles PGA layout) there are many rather lengthy green to next tee hikes. Set aside your aversion to this and you are guaranteed a helluva Highland golfing experience.

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Reviews for Spey Valley

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Description: The golf course at Spey Valley has an old fashioned out and back routing and water comes into play along the way on several occasions. Rating: 8.1 out of 10 Reviews: 23
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James
Scotland is famed for its coastal Gems but head inland and head high to Aviemore and you'll find the best kept secret in Britain. This course is one of the most beautiful, spectacular and well thought out golf courses I have played this year. It has a scale and splendour that should see this course well into the top 100, It is up there with the Berkshire, The Addington, The Dukes at St Andrews, The three W's, (better than those 3, and that is saying something. It is better than the 2010, The Belfry and quite a few other newish courses. The par 3's are all stunning, There are a few very pretty par 4's some long and some that are 480/490 that are simply epic. I really enjoyed this course. The par 5's are all very long and most of the fairways are fringed with heather.The highland views are pure drama and set a spectacular backdrop. The 18th is a little bit bland which is a shame. They need to jazz it up a bit visually but the bones are there, apart from that this is a very imposing golf course, if not in any way unique it is extremely enjoyable nonetheless and well worth the trip. The town of Aviemore has enough activities to keep families and rest day golfers entertained. Check it out.Worth mentioning That the profiteering style three figure green fees that are found elsewhere are absent here. How nice it is to pay a green fee which covers the costs of the course rather than the howling rip off found on the coast and at our more prestigious courses. EG Play a virtually empty Royal St Georges for £175. I bet if it were £65-£75 The whole town would be throbbing with golfers spending money in the restaurants, hotels and shops. Do they not owe it to the community? JCB LAY
September 26, 2012
8 / 10
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Tetley
Played on the course on Sunday 5th September on an absolutely gorgeous day with blue sky and no wind.Booked the course using Macdonald Free Golf Vouchers which we purchased off ebay (total cost for 2 = £26.00) as opposed to the quoted price of £70 per person!We hired a buggy with satnav and thoroughly enjoyed a great course with spectacular views.Fairways were great and the greens although a little slow were true. Some challenging hole positions on a lot of the holes.Although we booked a buggy there were other golfers on the course with trolleys or carry bags.One day when the course gets its own clubhouse and better pro shop and improved access off the highway, it will be truly a great course to play on.Enjoy the experience of playing this top course.
September 12, 2011
10 / 10
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Jim Robertson
There truly can be no lovelier time and place to be a golfer than a golden summer evening at Spey Valley. I have played here twice now and it is actually quite hard to give a critique of the actual course because of the majesty of its location. That said, Spey Valley is an excellent golf course with a number of outstanding holes, notably on the back nine. As an average golfer I find the course hard but fair. As a keen photographer it is sheer delight! I would award the course five balls but the surroundings are worth (at least) one more! JR
September 12, 2011
10 / 10
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guy
This is my favourite Scottish course at the moment. The views are of course spectacular but in terms of the course itself I think it is very good, very well maintained and will only improve. I have played a few rounds every month since joining in April and it is consistently immaculate. I saw no evidence of 'getting ready' for 1 event only and given the climate there it is doubly impressive! Only downside as Peter Alliss kept mentioning on TV is the lack of clubhouse - come on McDonald resorts get a grip.
September 09, 2011
10 / 10
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cha
September 10, 2011
are you kidding? course is beautiful but condition is awful apart from the challange tour weeks, ive played few times and green were ok in july and gradually got worse in september are awful so are the fairways. condition of course is not good and that is a fact, anyone that plays it will tell you this. i would still go up as views and deer and so on are amazing, course is very good design too.
Paul forrest
March 05, 2014
The new club house looks fantastic, I visited the course in February 2014. It was simply amazing...I have worked on some of the leading golf venues and this one is up there with the best!
iain
played here in 2011 after challange tour and when up at event the course was real good condition greens cut and fast and fairways green. but few weeks later to save money they cut on maintenance and fairways were brown no sprinklers on and green were long and very slow. but course is beatiful design and treat to play with the old train going by and the views of cairngroms is stunning plus we saw deer and ospreys was well worth playing but wish they would care about visitors more and not just getting it nice for one event then a dont care attitude towards end not maintaining condition.
July 30, 2011
6 / 10
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G Murray
September 10, 2011
I have played here all year since April and played a few days before the course closed for the Challenge tour which I then spectated at. I played numerous times since. The course is kept immaculate and I really have not witnessed any 'don't care attitude or non maintenance of the course condition. The course has been consistently excellent since my experience of it in april.
D
September 11, 2011
Now how you can say the greens are long is just nuts. They have being cut at 3 and a half mm since the challange tour. Saying the greens are slow yes that was true but saying no sprinkers if they were on that would only slow the greens down even more.
Dan Hare
We played here late this March,course fully open with good maintenance, and can clarify that we certainly didn't use buggies on the course. other than 1/2 and 17/18 there were no significant walks involved, and they weren't that bad. We had a fantastic time in a 2/3 club wind, and if I were pressed I would compare it to a flatter, less quirky, Championship length Boat of Garten. I commend it to those thinking of playing it, and it is tremendous value especially if using a stay/play/eat deal at the hotel which has excellent food. Plus the Old Bridge Inn pub at Aviemore is a brilliant night out. dan
July 25, 2011
8 / 10
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Shaun
Good track and well worth a visit. I thought 1&18 were average holes but enjoyed my round. The greens were average this June but probably a function of such a harsh winter.
October 11, 2010
6 / 10
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alp
Jim and others, i'm afraid I'm going to have to stick my neck out and be the first to add a less upbeat review of this course. I played with my uncle in early October, a beautiful sunny but cold day, and we had the course pretty much to ourselves. The setting of this course is outstanding - it was a joy to just be in the surroundings, let alone playing golf - snow capped peaks, lakes, wildlife, just beautiful. So on to the course itself...slightly disappointed was my feeling as we departed. The course still has a young feel - and i think also a manufactured look, not a truly natural layout. I also found many of the holes a bit quirky - too many holes which required irons for position off the tee (no bad thing some may say but not to my liking). And lastly, its a shame given the stunning scenery that a buggy is the recommended choice given the overall length of the track/distance between tees. The comparisons with Gleneagles PGA are accurate - there is not much in it for me, but i would go for the PGA over Spey Valley (even though the other 2 Gleneagles courses are far better). So in summary, if you are planning a golf trip I would recommend it for the scenery alone, but not at the expense of the other great courses a little further North.
January 18, 2010
6 / 10
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Ian Kenny
July 24, 2013
Golf buggies are no longer compulsory at Spey Valley. They have both pull and electric trolleys for hire, in addition to golf buggies.
Ian Smith
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.
November 09, 2009
8 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
Expectations for me were high prior to the visit and I was not disappointed - I like this course a lot. The Spey Valley area with the abundance of heather and being within the Cairngorms National Park is just a beautiful place to be, let alone play golf. A little less than stunning first hole but from then on, this is a brilliant example of a great design in fabulous surroundings. So many holes that are tree lined and have heather borders are just a joy to play. Spey Valley is one of the great new courses of GB&I in recent years – I would highly recommend a trip to also include nearby Boat of Garten. 2009 will see the completion of clubhouse (the plans look great) – some are comparing Spey to the 2014 Ryder Cup choice; the PGA Centenary at Gleneagles– I would definitely say Spey Valley has the edge.
September 20, 2008
8 / 10
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Derek Haswell
February 24, 2009
I'm glad everyone reviewing Spey Valley is enjoying it immensely. I wonder why it is it still ranked 52nd in Scotland with TOP100- weird! I was gobsmacked to see that Golf World recently didn't even include it in their top 200 in uk and Ireland. I know this is a subjective business and all that but I just can't believe Spay Valley has 200 superiors in Uk and Ireland!!
Andy
July 29, 2012
Derek, obviously we are a few years on since your comment about being 52nd in Scotland - certainly moving in a positive way now, 33rd is much more realistic.