Tain is a nice warm-up course or a course if you only want to have some fun.
I don't know when I have ever been more frustrated by a golf course as the land and the routing are pretty good, but the conditioning, speed of the greens, and the lack of adequate bunkers is noticeable.
One can see the club does not put money into the golf course other than to maintain it in playable conditions. It is a pity because it could be pretty special if a lot of money was put into it. Perhaps when the new Mike Keiser course gets built just north of Royal Dornoch that there will be enough of a draw for someone to buy this and make it what it should be, while maintaining it also as a club for members.
Some examples, the back to back par 3's, 16 and 17 have a burn that is present. But why not re-route the burn to make it more of an obstacle on these holes. On 16 the burn does not come close to the front of the green and its a similar situation on 17. Yes, it is present on both sides on 16 and one side of 17 but it should be even more in play.
The famous 11th hole (Alps) should have bunkers to the right of the green or behind it, even if it is a blind shot over the mounds.
There are some really nice holes such as 2, 3, 11 but there are many weak holes such as 13 and 18.
There is adequate contouring in the fairways and the gorse can come into play to give one sometimes an uneven lie. There is a nice long forced carry on a tee shot on 10. There are some good architectural features on many of the holes due to the natural contours. But the architects have not really added anything of significance other than on 11.
One negative is the presence of large flies particularly along the 7th hole near the farmer's fields and cows.
I realize it would likely take a million or so to truly fix it up and then increase the maintenance budget by 300K a year to maintain the improvements, but if someone did this, they could make it truly special.
As it is, it is not a course I can recommend playing if you have started your golf trip.
Date: September 30, 2019