Image with thanks to Nairn Golf Club, GTO media pack.

Golf Digest ranked fourteen Scottish courses in the world’s top-100. Ever since they published their list though, we’ve had a couple of nagging questions which we haven’t as yet discovered the answers to. How close to the top-100 was the first Scottish course that missed out? And who was it? We’re guessing that it was Nairn, and that it was very close, (top 110?). In 1999 the Nairn Championship Course played host to the Walker Cup when a European side inspired by a young Paul Casey and Luke Donald prevailed over an American team featuring Matt Kuchar


Founded 1887
Yardage Championship course medal tees 6436 yds
Par 71
GB & Ireland Ranking 56th in GB & Ireland
Handicap Restrictions 28 for gentlemen
36 for ladies


Nairn Championship Course

The Course itself

Nestling on the shores of the Moray Firth this traditional Scottish Golf Links Course was created from a Highland wilderness of gorse and heather, and tests the talents of professional and amateur alike. Founded in 1887, it is now one of the best courses in Scotland, and has hosted a large number of important championships. The Nairn Championship Course was awarded No 9 in the definitive list of the Top 100 Courses in Scotland 2011, which further reinforces our view if might have been harshly treated by Golf Digest. The course has a reputation for being fair and possessing some of the best greens in Scotland. Approach play and ultimately putting, is the key

If you’re a wild lefty with a predilection for hooking tee shots than it might be advisable to slip a snorkel and fins into your bag, as the sea is in play for the first seven outward holes.

A slightly unusual feature on a Scottish links course are trees. Nairn has more than most, and this adds another hazard to the portfolio that already includes gorse, heather, rough, bunkers, and the sea!

The par 4 holes tease and confound, and all four of the short par 3’s involve having to negotiate cunning angles into green, with the 4th a little gem, and the 14th simply spectacular. As three of the par 5 holes are over 530 yards long you’ll be required to find distance too. Nairn is a fair test of any golfer, and will not only require you to use every club in your bag, but also to execute a variety of different shots. It is a test for all, and it’s perhaps the thinking golfer who appreciates it most.



When playing Scotland you are very much in the heartland of the sports traditions. In a lot of cases this won’t extend to 20th century inventions such as buggies/ carts. You are invited to take a step-back into history to a large extent, and play a round in the manner more akin to how the game was originally conceived. This is quite normal for the top courses.


Driving Range Available Yes
Putting green available Yes
Rental Carts Available No
Rental Trolleys Yes
Caddies Yes – gratuity at own discretion
Rental Clubs Available Yes
Pro Shop Yes



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