Tain - North Scotland - Scotland

Tain Golf Club,
Chapel Road,
Tain,
Ross-shire,
IV19 1JE,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1862 892314

The origin of the name Tain is unclear, but what is certain is that in 1066, King Malcolm III granted the very first charter to Tain, making it the oldest Royal Burgh (borough) in Scotland. With panoramic views across the Dornoch Firth, Tain's Highland setting is dramatic and also pleasantly sheltered with the estuary on one side and the mountains of Easter Ross on the other.

Tain Golf Club was founded in 1890 and Old Tom Morris was commissioned to design the course. After a detailed survey of the land, Old Tom found only 15 suitable green sites and the course opened with only 15 holes. Some years later, John Sutherland revised the layout, but Old Tom's mark is still indelibly etched and there are eleven of Old Tom's green sites in use today.

Today's Tain is a full, sporting 18-hole layout, which measures 6,404 yards from the medal tees, where accuracy rather than length is essential. The nature of Tain is a combination of links and heathland and there are a number of forced carries across tangly heather to rumpled fairways, which are edged by dense gorse (stunning in full bloom).

The Aldie Burn meanders through the par four 2nd, which is called "River" and measures 391 yards from the back tees. The cozened fairway is punctuated by a ridge which falls away towards the artful burn which waits to trap the under-hit approach shot. We meet the "Alps" at the par four 11th, which requires a confident but blind approach shot over two sentry dunes in order to find the hidden green nestled beyond. Two great par threes at 16 and 17 bring us close to home and they are both strong single shot holes where the wily burn returns, waiting to catch the errant tee shot.

Tain will always remain in the shadow of its illustrious neighbour, Royal Dornoch, which lies on the opposite bank of the Dornoch Firth. But whatever you do, don't pass Tain by. There is variety and fun to be had on this challenging course. Heaven forbid, if the golf is not sufficiently celebrated to capture your attention, then surely a nip of malt at the local Glenmorangie Distillery will provide the ultimate temptation.

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Reviews for Tain

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Description: Overlooking the Dornoch Firth, Tain Golf Club arguably offers one of the best settings imaginable in the highlands for a round of golf. With sea on one side and the backdrop of the mountains behind. Rating: 6.7 out of 10 Reviews: 31
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Jim Robertson
There's always one party-pooper! Recently paid a second visit to Tain and was once again left underwhelmed. Two weeks later I am struggling to recall many holes. It's not at all a bad course just not a memorable one. Played nine Highland courses in a week and would have to rank Tain at or near the bottom. It's certainly not in the class of Royal Dornoch, Brora or Golspie. I would rank it alongside Struie of the links in the area and I certainly had more enjoyment inland at Boat of GartenStrathpeffer and Kingussie.
July 25, 2011
4 / 10
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Keith
July 27, 2011
I personally think it would be a mistake to leave Tain off any Highland itinerary because it is such a varied, entertaining and interesting course. I’ve not played Tain since 2006 but I can remember a fair number of holes and my memory is not what it used to be. However, I agree that there is some truly excellent golf to be played in the Highlands and there are very few places in the world that offer such incredible golf at an affordable price in a most gorgeous setting. Probably the best golfing destination in the UK, perhaps even Europe… providing you can organise some nice weather.
Hamish Wilson
This is a barrowful of surprises! You start off with a few parkland holes then on to heathland then down to links by the sea, repeating the process back to the clubhouse. Every time I have played it it has been in very good condition. It is a really enjoyable course with some excellent holes especially the heathland holes . In a visit to this area it should not be missed. It is apt to be overshadowed by Royal Dornoch understandably as that is a World Class course but I repeat DON'T miss it!
December 10, 2010
8 / 10
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paul
We played Tain early on a Friday morning as a warm up for Royal Dornoch and were very impressed with a course that is so little known outside of the area, the greens were in great shape and the entire course was well presented, the week before it had been virtually under water and it had recovered very well. This is no easy test as some of the fairways are narrow and green complexes are tricky to say the least, with only one blind shot on the course the purists will enjoy this one although my blind shot left me somewhat wanting! My playing partner judged it perfectly and won the hole with a birdie, I can’t see too many golfers making better than par on this one. There are a couple of holes that drift away towards the local fields but once these have been negotiated you have a good finishing stretch with a strong par 3 of 147 yards at 16 and a tough par 3 of 211 yards at 17 followed by the 18th towards the club house with a tight drive down the left to give you a chance of getting home, at 427 yards and a stroke index of 13!! If you are in the Inverness area it is more than worth the 35 mile drive and the green fees are good value.
September 16, 2009
6 / 10
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alp
Although not from the area, I have played Tain many times over the years, and only now have I felt compelled to write a review. My point really is that the ranking of 55th in Scotland does not really do this course justice. It may even deter people in the area from playing this course over others in the vicinity. But they would be missing an absolute treat - if we were ranking golf courses in terms of enjoyability, then Tain would be right up there with the best. For me, it is the seclusion and great variety of golf holes, that is hard to beat in my opinion. Yes, Tain does lack the sense of occasion one gets when playing the big courses like Dornoch, and it is not as challenging a course as Dornoch, but me for it is just as enjoyable. So the message is simple - don't omit playing Tain if you are in the area!
July 22, 2009
8 / 10
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Jon Roderick
Tain is one of those courses that seems to stretch over a large area and you only really see glimpses of other holes here and there. By comparison, it makes a lot of other courses seem cramped and there are some lovely views and a sense of escape about the place. The course is not particularly long but stray off line at your peril. It can be very easy to come home several golf balls lighter if you are not accurate off the tee. All the holes have a unique character with the 3rd and 11th being 2 of the best. The 16th would have to go down as the quaintest being a short par 3 with an elevated tee and a burn – which appears on 4 holes – snaking its way around the green. When i played the condition of the course was very good with the greens running true, although not as fast as some. Tain suffers slightly from the shadow cast by Royal Dornoch across the water but i would thoroughly recommend a visit as i dont think it’ll disappoint.
July 14, 2009
8 / 10
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Derek Haswell
The course at Tain GC is a secret pearl, a latent treasure, a shrouded jewel…ok, ok, I admit it – it’s a HIDDEN GEM!! (and I promised myself not to use golf’s most clapped-out cliché!). Tain inhabits a lovely setting on the flat links of the Dornoch Firth, on the edge of the attractive town and edged by farmland. Your game here is played against the almost continual baa-ing of sheep, which starts off as something of a novelty (for this city slicker, at least) but kinda gets to you when you are sixteen over par. This course is easy walking, easy on the eye and, er…not easy at all. We played on a lovely sunny, calm day in their Open Pairs event, scored poorly and enjoyed it immensely. The event was won by two members with an aggregate nett score of 141 – an indication of just how deceptively challenging this Old Tom Morris links is. The green fees of £40/£45 (midweek/weekend) seem very fair to me but the £32 entry to play in the doubles event is great value. At Tain the clubhouse is comfortable and informal, the practice facilities good and the pro is a helpful chap. One thing that deserves a special mention, I think, is the club’s apparent enthusiasm for encouraging juniors – there is a “clubgolf” mini driving range, a junior chipping area and as we finished our round a group of juniors seemed to be getting a putting lesson from some members. Tain – a friendly club with a very good traditional course and an eye to the future. Highly recommended. Derek, Edinburgh, May 08.
May 12, 2008
8 / 10
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Keith Baxter
Tain, a thoroughly enjoyable course in a glorious setting, let down only by annoying military jets which seem to whizz up and down play fighting with alarming regularity. No fault of Tain Golf Club I might add! The course is an unusual and varied mix of holes, most are links (those furthest away from the clubhouse). I understand the course was brought closer to the town centre and therefore some farmland was used for the holes closest to the clubhouse. Nevertheless, Tain is well worth playing and one which should be firmly included in any Highland golfing itinerary and it's also great value.
June 15, 2006
6 / 10
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W
A fantastic course with a great lay-out and a wonderful setting. Mafeking (though not long) is a very good hole and The Alps is a classic blind links hole. If you are here to take on Dornoch, the ignore the delights of Tain, Brora and Golspie at your peril. These on their own are worth a visit. Friendly staff, a good lunch and a few pints made a day at Tain's fine links into a real pleasure!
June 04, 2006
6 / 10
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Jim McCann

Tain lies on the southern side of the Dornoch Firth and you must pass through here if you are playing at Royal Dornoch. It is well worth including Tain golf course in your travel plans if you are travelling this far north to play as it will give you a pleasant, gentle introduction of what to expect fifteen minutes drive away across the water at its near neighbour.

White tee lengths total 6514 yards so it requires a good few blows to get round in anything like the SSS of 71, which is one more than the course par total. Greens were in wonderful condition and the steep faced bunkers were well placed to punish errant approaches to the putting surfaces.

The Alps at hole number 11 was our favourite on the course, a short par four played from an elevated tee to a green protected by huge sand dunes on all sides – bringing back fond memories of several holes at the Machrie on Islay. There is also a sting in the tail to the round with two par threes at 16 and 17 which make full use of the meandering burn to give protection to the greens and form a formidable pair of potential card wreckers!

Jim McCann

August 22, 2005
6 / 10
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LondonAndy
I was surprised to see how low Tain is rated on this site as I would put it above a large number of the courses supposedly ranked as superior to it. Tain is a fine links/heathland course with the sea on one side and mountains (and the town) on the other. It has spectacular views and offered a real challenge when I played there. It doesn't have the length or prestige of Royal Dornoch (just across the firth), but I can honestly say that I enjoyed playing Tain every bit as much as its illustrious neighbour (it's a bit cheaper too!). The course doesn't really have any bad holes and and in the 3rd, 11th (wonderfully named Alps), 16th and 17th it has some truly fantastic and testing ones. I don't know how the course rating devised on this site is reached, but I would suggest if the reviewers have played the course recently then they might revise the 212th placing. This is a must-play if you're up in North of Scotland!
August 15, 2005
10 / 10
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