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
TaylorMade
Derek Haswell
That Scotland can boast a wealth of great courses is beyond dispute. However, the notion that we have 51 better than Spey Valley is BEYOND BELIEF! Spey Valley is wonderful. Possibly the most helpful comparison is with The Kings at Gleneagles which is ranked 10th, 27th and 86th in Scotland, Britain and the world respectively. Spey Valley is better – not just a teensy-weensy bit better, but really quite a lot better. Admittedly, Macdonald Hotels haven’t been able to get a proper clubhouse organised yet and Spey Valley may not yet be quite as pristine as Gleneagles but it is in very good condition given play opened there only ten months ago. However, in terms of setting, the much-vaunted Kings is merely lovely whereas Spey Valley is truly majestic. I’m not poetic enough to even attempt to describe this visual treat – but take your camera! Turning to the “biggy” – the course – The Kings is really enjoyable but Spey Valley oozes quality from beginning to end. There is not an average hole at Spey Valley let alone a bad one and it is impossible to single out one or two outstanding holes or even a “run of holes”, such is the quality from beginning to end. Don’t be fooled by the yardages (over 6500yrds from the yellows and well over 7000yrds from the medals and championship tees) this course requires much more than a big slog from the tee; on every par 4 and 5 the golfer is invited to really think about placement. Readers should note that buggies are not mandatory but Spey Valley has some very long walks between greens and tees and I would recommend buggy use – we used the time saved to soak up the atmosphere and take those photo memories! At £69/£79 Spey Valley is likely to be no more than a one-off or occasional treat for most but it is worth every penny. So save up your pennies in a jam jar, flog those unwanted Christmas pressies, sell your body…do what you can to play Spey Valley.
May 11, 2008
10 / 10
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Jorn Greve
Rank it up immediatly. Spey valley is allready one of best inland tracks you can find in Europe. The setting is fantastic and the design/ layout of Dave Thomas is modern and demanding. Pine trees, heather and water are always in play. A real test of golf and a pleasure to play even for the long hitters. A real hidden gem in the highlands.
January 09, 2008
10 / 10
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Jim McCann

My visit to Spey Valley was viewed beforehand with some trepidation as I’ve played two Dave Thomas designed courses in recent times (both in the Borders) and had very mixed feelings about them - Cardrona was a wonderful course but the much vaunted Roxburghe was a big let down. Thomas’ mounding and expansive bunkering designs can sometimes verge on the wrong side of ruthless but here, the routing of the holes, the spectacular scenery and the wonderful putting surfaces all combine to make this a truly memorable golfing experience.

It may not yet have a clubhouse but it has everything else required of a top golfing venue; from a marvellous practice area (with adjoining helipad!) through to well spaced out holes which wind their way along the Spey river valley. The people at the MacDonald Hotel chain have built big and it must have cost a small fortune to shape the land for the fairways and construct such massive greens.

This course is clearly made for tournament play as it can be stretched by over a thousand yards from the red tees to 7118 yards off the back tees. It has to compete against other top courses in the area but I’m sure discerning golfers will want to add this track to their golfing CV as it is bound to become one of the top inland courses in the country, simple as that. Buggies are mandatory, which is a pity, but if you had to walk from the temporary clubhouse out and back you would double the yardage of the course so it makes sense to ride and play.

Jim McCann

October 08, 2006
8 / 10
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Chris
January 30, 2007
What an excellent golf course! Spey Valley could definitely hold a big pro tournament in the future. A course with fantastic views and a great layout. Every hole is different and requires length, accuracy and imagination. Spey Valley also has the longest hole in Scotland (possibly Briain too) at 635 yards. I hit a 300+ yard drive then blasted my 3 wood and still came up short! This course is definitely worth playing for £70. Its double that to play St Andrews and Gleneagles and they are no way double in terms of quality.