11 reviews of Tain Golf Club
We turned up to this lovely little course. despite the chill in the weather the reception was anything but. Today was the first day of playing on the "full course" with normal greens, however we arrived just everyone else was finishing, to a light flurry of snow and a biting wind!
We played 15 holes in total and enjoyed ourselves immensely and by the time we finished the sun was trying to come out and the wind had dropped off.
When we went into the clubhouse the pro (Stuart Morrison) made us even more welcome as did the remaining "die hards" they hoped we would return - we definitely will
Alan & Pat
I used to be a junior/country member here for our annual family holiday - always improved my golf playing here for 2 weeks! Proper links golf - wind always a factor. Played again a couple of years ago after far too many years away - some significant changes to the 4th and 9th holes, presumably to improve "traffic flow", have thankfully made little difference to the feel of the course. Can be a beast in bad weather, but you'd need to be very good to "tame it" even in the best of conditions. Planning a trip to Scotland next year largely so I can play it again. Even though I'm somewhat biased towards the place, I still think it stands up as a proper golf course that will challenge and please anyone.
A year after a golf trip to the north of Scotland taking in Dornoch, Brora, Nairn, Fortrose, and Tain, it is a surprise to me that Tain remains in the memory more than the others. The combination of unnusual holes and great scenery is the reason.
While the condition of the course is somewhat variable, this only adds to the feeling that you are playing links golf as it was played a hundred years ago, with rock hard fairways and patchy lies just part of the challenge, not a crime against the average golfer.
Tain Golf Club is by all accounts an excellent example of a fantastic layout, great holes, and history all wrapped up into one. Overshadowed and often overlooked by those heading to Royal Dornoch, Tain should be apart of any itinerary that brings you to this part of the country.
Tain's course is an "old Tom Morris" design. What makes this such a special course is that very little has been changed since it was originally designed and built in 1890. Every hole is different. There is the odd shot that is to a blind green, but then that was not unusual for some of the courses of this era (i.e. Machrie, Machrihanish, Dunaverty, Beith, Shiskine, etc.). If you are a lover of interesting course designs, history, and generally a really nice golf experience, then this is an outstanding course to include on your next trip up north.
Side note regarding Tain and the courses in this region: When many of my friends and acquaintances who are members of highly prestiguous golf clubs in the states come to Scotland the often will hit the most famous of courses and if they make it up to the north they tend to go for a game to Royal Dornoch (which is fantastic) and then head back done south and that is in many ways so very unfortunate, because this region has so very many first class golf courses and golf experiences of which Tain is right on top of the list. In addition to Tain, there is Carnegie Links, Brora and Golspie which are right up the road. So if you are playing at Dornoch, do try to sneek in a game at Tain, (& possibly a couple others) you will not be dissappointed.
This was the third stop on a golf tour in July by four Swedish golfers.
We had the bad luck of playing Tain on a day with absolutely dreadful weather. There was heavy rain (and it had rained a lot in the days before as well) and fairly strong winds. We spent the morning in our hotel, waiting for the weather to improve, then went to the golf course where we spent more time waiting. Finally, around 2.30 in the afternoon, the rain seemed to be easing off and we went out. While we waited (a couple of hours), no golfers had been seen either going out or coming in from the course.
Seeing us teeing off, a group of 4 Americans picked up their courage and followed us out on the course. We were probably the only players to play that day, apart from a single watersoaked player whom we had seen loading clubs into his car when we arrived.
The first fairway was waterlogged and there was a bit of water on the green, but not so much as to prevent putting. Apart from this, and some water on the 18th fairway, the course was surprisingly dry. The greens were fantastic (the best we played on our tour - and that included courses like Royal Dornoch and Murcar). They were fast in spite of the rain and they ran absolutely true.
As it turned out, the rain had only made a temporary pause and we only got to play 3 or 4 holes in relatively good weather conditions. Although we got pretty wet and miserable it was a great golfing experience, with many good golf holes. I particularly loved the somewat quirky 'Alps' (hole 11, a par 4 where the green is hidden behind a couple of enormous sandhills).
We were able to use '2-fore-1' vouchers without any problem, which obviously affects my value for money rating. Paying the standard green fee, I'd probably have rated it an 8.
We played this course a couple of years ago when it had suffered from some heavy rain the previous week and was more like a swamp than a golf course. It had come highly recommended and so we played it again this week, again probably not the best time to play, to have a second look. Regrettably we left disappointed again.
There is no doubt that there are some interesting holes on this course. Stroke index 1 needs to be played well to get anything respecatble, the "alps" hole provides a real suprise when you get your first glimpse of the green, and the par 3 16th is a pleasing looking hole from the tee.
But there are a number of things that let it down. The back 9 in particular, with a couple of holes excepted, could be described as dull at best. Too many holes play a similar length and leave the same shots selection time and again - driver followed by 9 iron downwards.
They have a serious problem with drainage from what we have seen. As I said, our first visit was played on what could be described as a swamp, our second visit was better but still very wet and muddy after a period of good and mild weather.
What was most worrying was that I asked the pro what the course was like before paying and before going out, explaining our previous visit had been something of a non event. He said it was a little wet in parts but generally in good nick as they'd had little rain recently. Only when it was too late did we realise what he had failed to tell us.
The greens, which on our previous visit had been poor due to being wet through, were now absolutely appalling and made putting a farce. Absolutely covered in sand and fertiliser, hollotined obvously over the past month, they were terrible. Now I appreciate that we are paying half the normal fee to play at winter rates, but even so for £20 per person I don't expect to be putting on "greens" that have more resemblance to a car park than anything you'd expect to find on a golf course.
I mentioned it to the pro after we had played and received a simple shrug of the shoulders. I don't mind being left disappointed with a course when I have played it, but I object to being misled about its playing condition.
Off course, as with so many of the highland clubs, we were made to feel very welcome, but I have to say Tain is not a course we will be rushing back to in the foreseeable future.
'Haste ye Back' they say at Tain and after four years we were back to attack this bad boy.
After unscheduled warm-ups over the weekend at Gleneagles Queen's and nearby Tarbat, we were in the mood to do some damage. But unfortunately for us, apart from a fantastic morning round by Young B, the course had other ideas. In particular, the fairways were like rock and the greens were fast, and I mean FAST considerably faster than across the firth at Dornoch. In summer you have to play this course a certain way and if you don't you get punished severely. Er.. which is largely what happened to us.
Update on my review of four years ago: the 9th was still one of my favourite par 4s but later this week it was to be usurped by the 9th at Golspie which has similar demands but on a grander scale. I also have to confess to feeling that this course just goes a little bit flat over the final six holes relative to the previous 12.
But don't get me wrong. This is a very good layout that will give your game a serious examination, the pro is a top bloke and the clubhouse is one of the friendliest I know.
Just remember: although it's not a big name, underestimate this course at your peril.
Next stop: twenty miles up the road at Brora.
I played Tain for the first time this year. Being a member of Western Gailes and the beautiful Gairlch course in Wester Ross,I nataurlly had a bias towars the west. What could be as good as Western" I asked myself.
I found the answer at Tain. Not a bad hole.
I loved Mafeking (9th.)
I adored the Alps and the par 5 fourth is a great hole.
What better way to finish a week in the Highlands than play Tain.
What is even better is I joined it and within 4 weeks was a member.I can't wait to get back several times this year and next. Play it it is superb
Stop two on our 2002 summer golf tour of Scotland and I rated this place. In short, its a great welcome, a demanding course in very good nick and terrific scenery. On our afternoon/evening round, we were even treated to a display by the Red Arrows!
That just about sums it all up really, but I have to mention a few of the best holes. Theres a tight Par 5 at four, tough Par 3s at five and eight before an even harder sequence of four consecutive Par 4s starting at the ninth, not least since they bring you out onto the side of the Dornoch Firth, where the wind really comes into play.
The dogleg ninth, Mafeking, complete with a crazy U-bunker by the green, is probably one of the best Par 4s Ive played, as is the coruscating 11th hole, The Alps, where you play down the glorious view towards the Firth and your approach shot over two great humps to a completely blind green. You will not forget this hole in a hurry!
Youll quickly realise that one of the key components to success at Tain is accuracy: gorse, heather and seriously thick rough abound and if it goes in any of them youre really up against it to find your ball. Thus the emphasis is much more on strategic play.
Another fantastic element of the course is that it's laid out over a huge area and each hole is almost invisible from any of the others, almost in it's own little world.
Most people travelling this way (about 35 miles north of Inverness) come to play Dornoch. Take my advice though: if youre in the area, make sure you add Tain to your itinerary trust me its worth it.
We played the course on a Highland mixed golf weekend (2 couples). Last time I played it was 30 years ago when I lived in Inverness, so I remembered little about it - so little, I couldn't even find it! Anyway, it was worth it. We all thought it the best course we played on the trip. It is very varied and interesting with many fascinating holes ranging from a frightening par 5 to the bizarre "Alps" with fabulous views from the raised tee across the Dornoch Firth.
The course was in excellent condition with quick but entirely true greens and from the ladies' point of view the red pots were very fairly placed giving them a reasonable advantage and not presenting them with any impossible carries.
The new club house is excellent and the staff were the friendliest (out of a friendly bunch) that we met on "the tour". The club has a very nice feel as a local's club and it was great to see so many young people.
All in all, a charming but challenging golfing experience - helped by gorgeous weather and the ability to enjoy the scenery.
Thanks Tain, we'll come again.
(From GOLF MONTHLY 1993) "The first point to make about TAIN is that it may be the best-kept course in the Highlands and some way beyond. That's why Iain Macleod was adjudged the 1992 GREENKEEPER OF THE YEAR in Scotland ... there's no such thing as an ugly course in the highlands but this one is a sight for jaded optics. It's quite a test too, although very fair. this is a strategic course of tight fairways laid out like strips of rumpled carpet edged by broom and whins." Our championship course was laid out first by Old Tom Morris, 15 holes in 1890, and as Golf Monthly enthused ... "He'd be tickled pink to see it now. Go see for yourself. You'll be enthralled." I CAN BUT AGREE AND A HIGHLAND WELCOME TO A GRAND COURSE AWAITS YOU !!!!!!! Regards Bill Ross
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