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Golf in the Highlands

Posted on Thursday, 21 July 2011 02:16AM by Editor

Golf in the Highlands

UK golf breaks are up there with some of the best in the world and venturing north to play golf in Scotland is a great pleasure for any player. Driving past legendary courses like St Andrews Old Course and Gleneagles Kings sets the tone for a tour of this great golfing nation, where a number of the finest courses can be found further north, in the Highlands region.

While autumn and winter’s weather in the Highlands isn’t always conducive to a pleasant round, the courses remain a delight to behold, even in inclement conditions.

Here are five Highlands golf courses that will give golfers of all abilities a wonderful taste of what this historic golfing heartland has to offer.

Aviemore Spey Valley Golf Course
With the snow-capped Cairngorm Mountains in the distance and the river Spey rushing by, the Aviemore Spey Valley golf course offers an experience like no other in the world. With 18 holes spread across 7,200 yards of lush, green, Scottish heathland, Spey Valley’s course is packed with challenges for even the most seasoned pros. The course’s design, which came courtesy of golf mastermind Dave Thomas, includes one of Scotland’s longest par fives, at 641 yards from the back tees. Having only opened in 2006, Spey Valley remains a relatively new course but players are quickly spreading its stellar reputation across the world.

Royal Dornoch Championship Course
Just short of 50 miles north of Inverness lies the esteemed Royal Dornoch Golf Club, where the game has been enjoyed for almost 400 years. The club itself came into existence in the late-19th century, but golf had been enjoyed on the lush grassy expanses of Dornoch for many, many years prior to that. The club’s Championship Course has played host to the Northern Open, the Scottish Ladies and the Scottish Professional Championships over the years, and while Dornoch is situated too remotely to attract national championships and PGA tours, this is perhaps its definitive asset as it provides players with a wonderfully secluded golfing escape.

Loch Ness New Golf Course
Play golf at one of Scotland’s most famous locations – and take advantage of the chance to do a bit of monster spotting while you’re at it! The course at Fairways Castle Heather, near Inverness, offers panoramic views over the Moray Firth and the Black Isle while you tackle some taxing par fives and some surprises along the way, such as the deep gully on the 12th with a burn at the bottom. After your adventure on the fairways, you can retire to the club’s very well-equipped 60-seater restaurant, lounge and sports bar.

Castle Stuart Golf Links
Castle Stuart claims to be to the Highlands what Gleneagles is to Perthshire – a true home of golf, whose quality can compete with any course in the world. The course was designed by Mark Parsinen, whose expertise successfully turned a collection of wild farmlands into a breathtaking course with superb views, elegant fairways and pristine greens. No tour of the Highlands is complete without a round at Castle Stuart.

Fortrose & Rosemarkie
The intelligent course designs of James Braid have put Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Club firmly on the Highlands golfing map, offering players a splendid round of golf, packed with character and unique features. The mountains watch over players on the course, who in turn can watch blue-nosed dolphins playing in the Moray Firth during a round of tight fairways and fast greens. The atmosphere on the course is undeniably Scottish, peaking around the lighthouse at the 4th, where you really get the feeling you couldn’t be anywhere else but the Highlands.